Taiwan: Taiwan will not provoke China
Taiwan will absolutely not provoke China nor will it launch a first strike, Cabinet spokesman Chen Chi-mai said Tuesday. "Our ultimate defense policy is to prevent war. We have consistently adopted a defensive posture. 'Effective deterrence and firm defense' remains our top military buildup goal.
Our defensive strategy has not changed," Chen said. Chen made the remarks after a U.S. official urged Taiwan and the mainland a day earlier not to fuel tension across the Taiwan Strait. "We would prefer to see comments that focus on dialogue as opposed to references to the use of force or other unilateral moves," State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said when asked about the U.S. views on ROC Premier Yu Shyi-kun's "balance of terror" comments Sunday.
Ereli said Washington opposes any action -- by either Taipei or Beijing -- that could heighten such tensions and urged both sides to resolve their dispute through dialogue and not force. In response, Chen said the Republic of China government has spared no efforts to defuse cross-strait tension and maintain regional peace. "For instance, we took the initiative to cancel the Hankuang 20 combined services military exercise in late August to send a goodwill message to Beijing and defuse cross-strait tension," Chen claimed.
Stressing that Taiwan's arms procurements are aimed at self-defense rather than an arms race with the mainland, Chen said the ROC government has never wavered on its stance of forging a stable framework for peaceful cross-strait interaction, including establishing a military confidence-building mechanism, installing a cross-strait hot line and demarcating a cross-strait non-military zone. In reaction to a weekend rally against the Cabinet-proposed NT$610.8 billion arms procurement package, Yu told a meeting of local government officials Sunday that Taiwan should rely on a Cold War-style "balance of terror" strategy to safeguard national security in the face of Beijing's intimidation and missile threat.
"The best scenario will see a 'balance of terror' being maintained across the Taiwan Strait so that our national security is safeguarded," Yu said. "If you (China) have the capability to destroy us, we should have the capability to counter." Unfortunately, Yu said, during the previous Kuomintang administration, Taiwan failed to develop a counterattack capability. "That's why the NT$610.8 billion arms procurement budget we are seeking from the legislature is necessary, because it will keep us safe for at least 30 years," he claimed.
In a soft rebuke to Yu's remarks, Ereli said Monday that the U.S. opposes moves by either side that would increase tensions across the Taiwan Strait. "It is our view that the issues relating to the Taiwan Strait should be solved through dialogue, and not by unilateral actions by either side," Ereli said.