Speaking on the ABC’s “China Tonight” program last night, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu acknowledged that Taiwan is preparing for the possibility of a war with China, and that Australia will be an invaluable partner to that end. If they agree to help.
While Australia does not formally recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty in a diplomatic setting, the nation’s officials have previously said that the tensions between the island-nation and the Chinese mainland must be resolved without coercion or violence.
The context that underpins Taiwan’s hopes is the fact that China flew 35 aircraft in total into Taiwanese airspace on Oct. 1.
Oct. 1 wasn't a good day. The #PLAAF flew 38 warplanes into #Taiwan's ADIZ, making it the largest number of daily sorties on record. Threatening? Of course. It's strange the #PRC doesn't bother faking excuses anymore. JW
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) October 2, 2021
Given the fact that an encroachment of this scope occurred in just one day, Taiwan is increasingly worried about how it will continue to evade China’s rule.
Commitments on behalf of Taiwan
While the interview is brief, it lays out Taiwan’s expectations for the future of their ongoing problems with China and their hope for a more structured relationship with Australia.
Getting straight to the point of this interview, the program’s host, Stan Grant, asked the foreign minister, “Would Australia be expected to fight alongside you?”
To which Wu responded: “It’s our policy that we would defend ourselves, by ourselves. Taiwan is absolutely committed to defend itself. So, whether there is going to be a war or not, we would continue to strengthen our defense capabilities in safeguarding our own democracy, in safeguarding our own sovereignty. So that is the bottom line… But, of course, when there’s a crisis, if the Australian government can go along with other major departments of ours and tell China that the invasion, the war, is not right, then that would be greatly appreciated.”
Grant, noticing what exactly Wu is advocating for, asked, “But words aren’t going to be enough are they?”
“I think you might be right. But, we also understand the situation. We understand our own situation. The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands and we are absolutely committed to that. And if China is going to launch a war against Taiwan, we will fight to the end.” Wu said.
Taking this point even further, Grant asked, “How could you possibly win a war against such overwhelming odds?”
“I think that might be a wrong assessment. Our military is quite capable. It is not like Afghanistan, at all. Taiwan’s military, even though it is being described as having a significant gap with the Chinese military, we are not totally defenseless… We have also prepared asymmetric strategy in dealing with China and we also produce our own defense articles. And I’m sure if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan I think they are going to suffer tremendously.” Wu reflected, remaining steadfast in his thought that Taiwan will never give up so easily.
As the tensions between China and Taiwan evolve, each side will continue to vie for sustainable partnerships. This process is only getting started.