STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Taiwan vulnerable to Chinese invasion without US, foreign minister says

Without continuing United States military support, Taiwan would be vulnerable to an armed takeover from Beijing, the ...

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 12:51 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 12:51 PM

Without continuing United States military support, Taiwan would be vulnerable to an armed takeover from Beijing, the island's foreign minister told CNN in an exclusive interview.

Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told CNN the Taiwan government felt relations with the US had grown stronger in recent years, but it was vital for Washington to continue to support Taipei militarily and diplomatically.

"(If) the Chinese see the vulnerability of Taiwan, not getting US support, then they would be thinking about starting scenarios where they would be able to take Taiwan over," he said.

Despite Taiwan being self-governed for almost seventy years, the mainland Chinese government continues to view the island as an integral part of its territory.

Beijing has been ramping up pressure on the Taiwan government since President Tsai Ing-wen's Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally favored independence, took power in 2016.

The Chinese navy has been conducting the latest in a series of live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait from Wednesday until Monday, which an expert quoted in state media tabloid Global Times said was "tailored for Taiwan separatists."

Wu said the live-fire drills were part of a campaign to "intimidate the Taiwanese people."

"We are trying to maximize our cooperation with like-minded countries, try to engage security cooperation with the US to prevent China from thinking that they can take Taiwan over just overnight," he said.

Beijing provoking 'hatred'

Beijing has long dreamed of reuniting Taiwan with the Chinese mainland. In a nationalistic speech in March, President Xi Jinping described unification as "the aspiration of all Chinese people," while during a visit by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis in June, Xi said China would not give up "any inch of territory."

But Wu said China's actions against Taiwan were undermining any support for Xi's reunification efforts and turning public opinion against Beijing.

"They say they want to win the hearts and minds of Taiwanese people but what they're doing ... is to create hatred among the regular Taiwanese people of the Chinese government. It is pushing Taiwan further and further away," he said.

Early in the Trump administration there were questions over whether Taiwan would be used as a pawn between Washington and Beijing, given the latter's keen interest in returning the island to the fold.

But more than a year-and-a-half later, Wu said Taiwan is pleased with the growing closeness of Taiwan US relations under the Trump administration.

"President Trump maintains very good relations with Taiwan ... they told us that they believe Taiwan is not tradeable, and democracy is not tradeable," he said.

Asked whether President Tsai, leading the traditionally pro-independence DPP party, would push for Taiwan independence, Wu said Tsai was determined to maintain "the status quo" with its mainland neighbor.

"We want to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait ... By itself, Taiwan exists outside China, Taiwan exists by itself, so there's no need for Taiwan to go beyond what it is right now," he said.

Diplomatic battle

As part of their campaign of pressure, the Chinese government has been slowly chipping away at Taiwan's small number of remaining diplomatic allies around the world. In May, both the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso severed ties with Taipei in exchange for Beijing.

But despite their dwindling number of allies globally, Wu insists the Taiwan government is not preparing for a time when they no longer have any diplomatic partners.

"Some countries (who switched) are coming back to us and saying they didn't get what China promised, they didn't get what China promised financially and they're not getting what China promised politically," he said.

"What China gave them is something which is easily destroyable."

The most symbolic country which still recognizes Taipei over Beijing is the Vatican, the tiny nation home to the leadership of the Catholic Church.

In the past six months, rumors have leaked out suggesting the Holy See might be considering switching its allegiance to the Beijing government but Wu said Taiwan still hoped the Vatican could remain their diplomatic partner for the long term.

"We stay in very close contact with Vatican officials, telling them what they want is to allow freedom of religion to prevail in mainland China, and Taiwan has been serving as a beacon in that aspect," he said.

"Therefore maintaining good relations with Taiwan is the key to have Taiwan as an example to the Chinese people, especially Chinese Catholics, that they can have freedom of religion one day."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 76522

Reported Deaths: 3086
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16194731
Lake7742281
Elkhart495586
Allen4040163
St. Joseph361083
Hamilton2887104
Vanderburgh205313
Hendricks1943108
Cass18069
Johnson1794119
Porter136239
Clark130750
Tippecanoe124511
Madison103066
LaPorte93530
Howard92065
Kosciusko87212
Floyd82249
Bartholomew82147
Marshall79423
Monroe76732
Delaware76052
Vigo71411
Dubois71312
Boone69746
Noble69029
Hancock68839
Jackson5975
Warrick58830
Shelby56828
LaGrange56610
Grant53130
Dearborn51628
Morgan48934
Clinton4504
Henry41820
Wayne38810
White37711
Montgomery36021
Lawrence35727
Harrison35224
Decatur34232
Putnam3218
Daviess27920
Miami2772
Scott27310
Jasper2572
Greene25434
Franklin24715
DeKalb2384
Gibson2334
Jennings22812
Steuben2153
Ripley2138
Carroll2003
Fayette1957
Perry18713
Posey1800
Starke1807
Orange17824
Wells1782
Fulton1732
Wabash1715
Jefferson1662
Knox1640
Whitley1566
Tipton14912
Washington1441
Sullivan1411
Spencer1393
Clay1315
Huntington1273
Randolph1274
Newton12110
Adams1172
Owen1051
Jay920
Rush894
Pulaski821
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike620
Vermillion590
Parke551
Switzerland530
Martin500
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0208

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 104248

Reported Deaths: 3734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18965531
Cuyahoga13869512
Hamilton9844259
Lucas5512326
Montgomery448998
Summit3667224
Butler303364
Marion294245
Mahoning2623256
Pickaway240042
Stark1904142
Warren185039
Lorain183177
Columbiana168360
Trumbull1563110
Fairfield143232
Delaware136519
Licking134551
Clark121315
Lake114642
Wood109058
Clermont96211
Medina95936
Miami86839
Tuscarawas79714
Allen79446
Portage77664
Greene73012
Mercer64113
Belmont62726
Richland61912
Erie61028
Ashtabula57746
Geauga56144
Wayne55459
Ross5094
Madison50310
Darke41429
Huron4115
Ottawa40426
Sandusky39917
Hancock3973
Athens3612
Holmes3316
Lawrence3180
Auglaize2756
Union2731
Scioto2591
Muskingum2481
Jefferson2403
Seneca2344
Shelby2154
Knox2147
Preble2122
Putnam21217
Washington21122
Coshocton1967
Champaign1882
Morrow1792
Crawford1775
Hardin17512
Clinton1716
Highland1692
Logan1672
Ashland1553
Fulton1551
Defiance1544
Wyandot1519
Brown1502
Perry1483
Williams1373
Fayette1240
Henry1222
Hocking1229
Guernsey1197
Carroll1135
Monroe9418
Pike800
Jackson770
Gallia741
Van Wert732
Paulding700
Adams642
Meigs580
Vinton322
Morgan300
Harrison261
Noble170
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 73°
Van Wert
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Storm Chances Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events