U.S. help to Taiwan over Chinese threat should be ‘fully global’: Bolton

ROC Central News Agency  04/29/2023 08:20 PM

Taipei, April 29 (CNA) The United States should engage with other democracies around the world to help Taiwan fend off threats from China, former U.S. national security adviser and outspoken China hawk John Bolton told a pro-Taiwan independence event in Taipei on Saturday.

“The U.S. response to help Taiwan against the Chinese threat has to be fully global,” Bolton said at the Global Taiwan National Affairs Symposium hosted by the World Taiwanese Congress, suggesting the establishment of “new structures of deterrence” against China.

Taiwan is “the center of gravity of the Chinese threat” to the world, said Bolton, who served as national security adviser under President Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019 and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006.

According to Bolton, Taiwan can be “very helpful” as the U.S. tries to work with its allies to address the economic challenges posed by China, such as the theft of intellectual property and control of some of the supply chains concerning national security.

On the security front, Washington needs “a much deeper and richer strategic dialogue” with Taiwanese officials handling national security issues while urging the European Union to “stand up to” Chinese threats, he said.

“It’s not just a question of supplying this weapon system or that weapon system,” he said, “we need coordination, as we have with many other allies, and contingency planning, thinking through what China might do and how we respond.”

Bolton, who has advocated that the U.S. should recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, said he maintained Washington “should extend full diplomatic relations with Taiwan” and that the duel recognition of Taipei and Beijing “still makes sense.”

“Full diplomatic recognition would signal that the United States felt that Taiwan was not just meeting the definitions of statehood, but was legitimate [and] had a legitimate government,” Bolton said.

“It would show that the relationship between our two countries is fixed and is not going to go away,” he said.

The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan’s official name, in 1979, shortly after it announced its decision to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China, although the two countries have maintained close unofficial relations ever since.

Beijing has made the non-recognition of the ROC a prerequisite for establishing diplomatic relations with other countries and has opposed any official interactions between countries it has diplomatic relations with and Taiwan.

Bolton also said the U.S. should abandon its longstanding policy of strategic ambiguity toward Taiwan, under which Washington does not commit itself to sending troops to Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.

He argued that strategic ambiguity now indicates the U.S. will not intervene militarily if China attacks Taiwan, adding that eliminating such ambiguity would “diminish chances for military activity [by Beijing].”

In addition, Bolton said, it should be made clear that China would be excommunicated from the international economic system, if it was to take military action against Taiwan, including attempting a blockade of the island.

He went on to say that Taiwan should also be included in military cooperation between the U.S. and its allies in the region and around the world, mentioning in particular the QUAD security dialogue involving the U.S., Japan, Australia, and India, as well as AUKUS, a security pact between the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

“The more Taiwan is embedded with other countries in collective security [and] collective defense efforts, the lower the likelihood that China would take military action.”

At the same time, Taiwan needs to continue building up its defense capability, including people’s willingness to fight, he said, adding: “Strength is not provocative; weakness is provocative.”

On the other hand, he argued, China sees Taiwan’s existence as provocative. “Every morning when Taiwan wakes up, Beijing is offended, and that’s not gonna change.”

Bolton observed that how the U.S. could better address Chinese threats will be a focus of the U.S. presidential election in 2024.

The 74-year-old ambassador said he was “considering” vying for the Republican Party nomination for president against current front-runner Trump at the event, which marked his first public appearance since arriving in Taiwan on Wednesday for a week-long trip.

Previously a senior adviser to former President George W. Bush, Bolton was a major supporter of the Iraq war in 2003 and has continued to defend the U.S. invasion of Iraq which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.


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