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Scholars say Taiwan should be more self-sufficient in diplomacy and defense

Taiwan academics believe nation should expand US ties to strengthen political standing

Taiwan, US flags. (Getty Images photo)

Taiwan, US flags. (Getty Images photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three academics recently shared their views on Taiwan-U.S. relations and were convinced that Taiwan should strive to become more self-sufficient in both diplomacy and defense.

International relations scholar Chang Kuo-cheng (張國城) pointed out in a Liberty Times article that China’s reputation and market sentiment in the U.S. have reached a low point. Nevertheless, even as Taiwan is optimistic about the direction of American public perception of the democratic nation, Taipei must pay attention to arms sales, long-term public opinion on formal recognition, and beneficial diplomatic work.

Chang said that he believes Taiwan can learn how to manage its U.S. relations from Israel, which has long been an American ally.

Israel is able to strengthen by acquiring advanced weapons from Washington, he said. Meanwhile, the U.S. benefits from these arms deals, and it does not need to worry about sending troops to the country.

Former Taiwan Foreign Minister Chen Chien-ren (程建人) said the U.S. focuses on its own interests in its foreign relations. After Washington published "The China White Paper" in 1949 to defend American policy in China, public opinion toward Beijing changed.

However, when the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the U.S. Seventh Fleet was immediately dispatched to help defend Taiwan. This demonstrates that American public opinion does not have an absolute impact on foreign policy but rather “relative influence,” Chen said.

Chen said that only countries with certain characteristics and behaviors are likely to gain international attention. Taiwan has done well in this regard, he said.

It has been more than 40 years since the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Chen noted. In that time the two countries have made considerable progress in military affairs, scientific and technological development, and expansion of international participation.

However, the U.S. still adheres to its "one China” policy. Thus, finding common areas of interest to deepen bilateral relations will require Taiwan to pursue long-term efforts, the former foreign minister said.

Kao Ying-mao (高英茂), former deputy foreign minister, said that Americans are now more aware of China’s military intimidation and have placed greater importance on Taiwan’s strategic value. The emphasis on Taiwan is increasing day by day, Kao said, adding that within the context of the U.S-China rivalry, Taiwan should take advantage of the opportunity to place itself in a more politically advantageous position.

Updated : 2021-09-17 09:03 GMT+08:00