Taiwan has won huge global support due to its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite China’s suppression, former US assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs Randall Schriver said on Thursday.
“Taiwan’s international recognition, international admiration for Taiwan, international support for Taiwan has almost never been higher, because we see the juxtaposition of how the PRC [People’s Republic of China] has handled the [novel] coronavirus and how Taiwan has,” Schriver told a virtual conference hosted by the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Schriver also berated China for poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and seeking to exclude Taiwan from global bodies like the WHO.
The Chinese Communist Party’s “approach to Taiwan has failed, not by my measure, but by their own measure,” he told the forum, titled “US-Taiwan Relations and Taiwan’s Evolving Role in the Global Order.”
As a result of China’s failed policies, it has destroyed any pathway for what it calls “peaceful reunification” and any remaining constituency for a future “one China,” he said.
China’s proposed “one country, two systems” framework “never had much of a constituency in Taiwan, but polls now regarding what aspirations people have for a future arrangement ... have never been worse from China’s perspective,” Schriver said. “So it is very difficult to see re-Sinification of Taiwan through peaceful means.”
In light of that situation, the US should be concerned about a growing temptation on the part of China to use more military tools and coercion against Taiwan, he said.
Under such circumstances, the US and Taiwan should strengthen cooperation in the field of information sharing, Schriver said, adding that he supports US arms sales to Taiwan to help boost its defense capability.
Former US National Security Council senior director for Asian Affairs Evan Medeiros told the forum that it is becoming more difficult for the US to strike a balance in supporting Taiwan while seeking to build a constructive relationship with China, given that China is growing more confident in East Asia and Taiwan is facing increasing pressure and coercion from Beijing.
The US should take its security pledge to Taiwan seriously, sell Taiwan more weapons based on the Taiwan Relations Act and help Taiwan join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, he said.
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