China could use U.S. election uncertainty to target Taiwan: FM

Taipei,  China could take advantage of uncertainties caused by the U.S. presidential election to increase military pressure on Taiwan, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) warned on Monday.

This is one of the possible scenarios being considered by Taiwan’s government, Wu said during a legislative hearing on potential developments in Taiwan-U.S. relations after the U.S. election.

However, Wu added that despite such uncertainties, the U.S. will maintain, or even reinforce, its military presence in the region.

“Taiwan and the U.S. continue to remain in close communication to ensure there is enough intelligence and time for proactive and sufficient responses against such threats,” Wu added.

On Sept. 17, Seth Cropsey, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank, wrote in an article titled “The U.S. election could be a danger for Taiwan, an opportunity for China” that U.S.’ partisan enmity has become so intense that any result in November will be contested.”

“A country embroiled in a succession crisis is much less likely to intervene in a high-end great-power conflict. There may never be a better moment for China to strike than the week of Nov. 3.” Cropsey argued.

Assessing such a possibility, Wu said as the U.S. election day draws near, no unusual military movements or gathering of troops has been detected on the Chinese side.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) convened a national security meeting on Oct. 31.

According to a release from the Presidential Office, the meeting’s agenda included discussions on the Chinese military threat and regional security and strengthening ties with the United States.

Asked by legislators whether the recent U.S. arms sales to Taiwan would be affected by the election, Wu said he believes the U.S.’ policy to provide military articles to Taiwan will not change regardless of the election outcome.

However, a delay in the procurement process is possible over the recent arms deals should former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden defeat President Donald Trump, because it could take six to seven months for new officials responsible for arms sales to assume their positions.

On the other hand, Wu told reporters before attending the legislative hearing that Taiwan’s government maintains good relations with both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the U.S., rebutting recent media reports that Taipei favors Trump.

Wu stressed that Taiwan will “undoubtedly” continue to maintain good relations with the U.S. regardless of who wins the election.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Wang Mei-hua (王美花) told legislators at a separate hearing that her ministry continues to seek support from the two major U.S. political parties for economic talks with the country.

Wang said Taiwan’s goal to engage in economic talks with the U.S. will not change whoever wins the election.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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