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Taiwan not asking other countries to fight for it: Foreign minister

Joseph Wu says Taiwan responsible for its own defense, though US report says military unprepared

Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu. (Taiwan News, CNA collage)

Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu. (Taiwan News, CNA collage)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that Taiwan is not asking any country to fight for it and that it is responsible for its own security.

In an interview with British news outlet The Telegraph published on Monday (July 31), Wu said, “We are not asking for the U.K. or any other country to fight for Taiwan. In fact, we have been making more investments and training our soldiers better so that we are more capable of self-defense."

“This is our commitment to our own security,” Wu added. Taiwan has just completed its annual Han Kuang military exercises, simulating defense against a Chinese invasion.

Wu’s comments come after a leading U.S. security research institute, the RAND Corporation, released a report on July 26, stating Taiwan does not spend enough money on defense, and its money is largely spent on “antiquated systems” that will not survive a Chinese attack. The report noted that U.S. policymakers' recommendations for Taiwan to improve its defenses have not entirely been heeded.

“The sense of urgency stems from assessments of Taiwan’s legacy military, which for many reasons is not suited to defending against a major PLA assault,” the report reads. Despite this fact, the report also notes that defense cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan is the “closest and most constructive it has been in 40 years.”

On July 28, the U.S. earmarked a US$345 million package of military aid for Taiwan, and Congress authorized $1 billion worth of emergency weapons aid. Taiwan's own defense spending accounted for 1.8% of GDP in 2023 (just under US$14 billion).

Despite Wu’s assertion that Taiwan is not asking any country to defend it, western powers have increased military cooperation in the region over recent years, in response to China’s growing power. “(This) serves as a very strong deterrence against China to make sure that China understands if they launch a war against Taiwan, there will be consequences,” Wu said.

Wu said that Taiwan is already battling Chinese pressure on its democratic systems and noted concerns that Beijing “might be able to change the minds of a critical minority of voters here in Taiwan to shape the outcome of the election." "We are all very determined to defend this country, in defending our democratic way of life,” Wu added.

China has repeatedly stated that it will not rule out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, though it also claims that it prioritizes peaceful means to achieve this goal.