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Remarks by Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu at the 26th Forum 2000 Conference—“Defending Taiwan after the invasion of Ukraine”

  • Data Source:Department of European Affairs
  • Date:2022-09-02

Jaushieh Joseph Wu
 Minister of Foreign Affairs 
 Republic of China (Taiwan)
 September 2, 2022
 (As Prepared for Delivery)

Ladies and gentlemen:

Greetings from Taiwan!

Let me begin by thanking Mr. Jakub Klepal for inviting me to this year's Forum 2000 conference. I am deeply honored to be participating in this important panel, especially in the wake of China's unprecedented large-scale military drills around Taiwan. 

On behalf of the people and government of Taiwan, I would like to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to friends around the world, including members of the G7, European Union, and those from Europe who have voiced their concern over the situation across the Taiwan Strait. Your support has touched the hearts of the Taiwanese people and reassured us that we are not alone. 

As recent geopolitical situation shows, the conflict between authoritarianism and democracy has intensified. Autocracies are colluding with each other to accelerate their authoritarian agenda, which has already threatened the rules-based international order and undermined our shared values of freedom and democracy. 

This is still going on not too far from you. Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of international law. It is not only an attack on Ukraine's security and sovereignty, but also an attack on freedom and democracy. As a democratic country on the front line of resistance to authoritarianism, Taiwan fully empathizes with Ukraine, whose people also face a large and belligerent adversary in their immediate vicinity; an adversary who claims your beloved homeland as part of their territory.

The people in Taiwan understand all too well what it is like to be bullied by an authoritarian aggressor, and we have supported Ukraine from day one through a number of concrete actions. Since the early stages of the conflict, we joined our democratic partners in condemning the invasion and imposing sanctions on Russia. In an outpouring of solidarity, the Taiwanese people have donated medical and humanitarian relief supplies to Ukraine. We have also provided about 45 million US dollars' worth of financial assistance to help the displaced Ukrainians seeking refuge in Poland, Slovakia, and the Baltic states, as well as to help some cities in Ukraine to rebuild their schools and hospitals. We do this, simply because it is the right thing to do. 

I must say that the Taiwanese are deeply inspired and encouraged by the bravery and tenacity of the Ukrainians. They have taught us that the will to fight is the key to victory. As China attempts to unilaterally change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, I am proud to say that our people are also determined to shoulder our own responsibility of defending the country and to fight for freedom in the event of an invasion.

Russia's attack on Ukraine has also taught us that dictators are not deterred by anything short of credible military capability. In the case of Ukraine, we have witnessed the success of asymmetric solutions. The Ukrainian army has made good use of digital technology and weapons such as antitank missiles and drones in their counterstrikes against a much larger opponent. To safeguard our security and sovereignty, Taiwan will continue to develop its asymmetric capacity to make the invasion across the strait very difficult and costly.

China has long employed gray-zone tactics against Taiwan, exerting diplomatic, military, and economic coercion long before Speaker Pelosi's visit in early August. It has exploited freedom of speech in democracies to flood us with propaganda and disinformation. And it has weaponized its trade to target our free market systems. Its strategy is to continually test our limits, gradually alter the status quo, and eventually annex Taiwan.

I'd like to particularly point out that while China appears to be targeting Taiwan at the moment, its ambitions actually go far beyond. It attempts to connect the East and South China Seas via the Taiwan Strait and claims the entire area its internal waters. China has further expanded its military presence by conducting military exercises to break the first island chain, establishing naval bases along the Indian Ocean, and signing a security agreement with the faraway Solomon Islands. It is now all too clear that China is utilizing its influence to establish authoritarian supremacy across the globe. My dear friends, this is what we must stand up against, because our democratic way of life is anathema to authoritarianism. We must take collective action to counter this expansionism.

Against this backdrop, we are glad to see that Europe has remained on high alert against mounting security threats and has developed countermeasures to oppose authoritarian expansion. I can assure you that in your fight to safeguard democracy, Taiwan will always be your most reliable partner. 

Taiwan is an important strategic asset against the expansion of authoritarianism in several aspects. Our high-tech capability and expertise in the semiconductor industry is what the world needs to restructure and establish secure, reliable and resilient global supply chains. And, most notably, having come under all these years Chinese military pressure, nontraditional security threats, economic coercion, cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and cognitive and hybrid warfare tactics, we have developed ample observation and countermeasures that we would like to share with partner democracies, so as to jointly advance our shared cause.

As George Washington put it, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” Ukraine has shown us that people born and raised in the free world are prepared to fight for freedom and democracy. Democracies worldwide are galvanized by Russia's invasion to work in unity to resist authoritarian expansion. Having long faced multiple threats from China, Taiwan is ready to unite with partners to defend our shared values and preserve peace and stability in our region and beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has repeatedly taught us that when met with inaction, aggressors would keep pushing the boundaries. We democracies must stand together with credible deterrence and send a clear message that we don't bow to any form of coercion. We must show our resolve in unity in preserving our shared values. We should keep the faith that by working together, freedom and democracy will prevail. Thank you.