Top diplomat in the U.S. says Taiwan is watching the Ukraine crisis with concern and anxiety

Taiwan, like Ukraine, has a well-armed, large neighbor who wants its territory. The diplomat from Taiwan in the U.S. claims that her country is a cat with nine lives.

Top diplomat in the U.S. says Taiwan is watching the Ukraine crisis with concern and anxiety

WASHINGTON -- Taiwan is monitoring events in Ukraine with "much worry and anxiety" but plans any Chinese military attack on Taiwan "too pain" to contemplate, Taipei's representative at Washington, Bi-khim, said to NBC News in an interview.

Hsiao made these comments while U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken was on a trip to Asia this weekend. He warned that other countries were closely monitoring the Ukraine crisis and that an invasion by Russia could have serious repercussions in the Pacific.


Hsiao arrived in Washington in 2020 as the head of Taiwan's diplomatic mission to the U.S. She stated that her government believed the Ukraine crisis could be resolved through diplomacy.

She said, "Like everyone else around the world we are monitoring the situation with great concern and anxiety." "We hope the situation can be peacefully resolved through diplomatic means. However, Taiwan is in unique historical and geopolitical situations, so we must be clear on our priority, which is to strengthen Taiwan's self-defense.

TsaiIng-wen, Taiwan's president, stated last month that her country "empathizes" with the suffering of Ukrainians because there is a military threat to Taiwan from its larger, more powerful neighbor. She directed the formation of a taskforce to examine how tensions between Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan could impact Taiwan's long-running conflict against Beijing.

According to former U.S. officials, China will use the U.S. response against Russia to determine how Washington might respond to a Taiwan crisis.

When Hsiao was asked about a joint declaration between Beijing and Moscow in which Chinese President Xi Jinping supported Russia's stance towards Ukraine, Hsiao stated that the two countries were cooperating in ways they posed a challenge for democracies.

She stated, "I think it's quite clear to all of you around the world that those undermining instability are China and Russia."

Russia's troop buildup in Ukraine started last year. However, Taiwanese officials and U.S. officials claim that China has been engaging in threatening behavior towards Taipei over the years. This includes deploying missiles close to the island and flying repeatedly into the island’s air defense zone.

Hsiao was born in Taiwan, and studied at Oberlin College in Ohio, Columbia University in New York and Columbia University in New York. He said Taiwan wants to resolve the dispute peacefully. Taiwan is focusing on strengthening its defenses in order to signal to Beijing that it will pay the price for aggression.

Hsiao stated that "the Chinese must not miscalculate how determined we are to defend Taiwan's democracy, peace, and stability in the region." He also said that "our goal, all that we are doing is to strengthen our self defenses in such a way that any operationalization or consideration of the threat would be too painful to contemplate."

Beijing regards Taiwan as an integral part China and must bring it back under Chinese control, if necessary. In 1979, the United States recognized Beijing as China's sole government. However, it refused to recognize the Chinese claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. Washington also pledged to provide for Taipei's defense, but it has not defined exactly what that means.

China accuses the U.S. with inflaming tensions in the Pacific by launching naval patrols. They also claim that they are trying to stop Beijing's rise to power as well as creating conflict by selling fighter planes to Taiwan.

"Taiwan is an inalienable portion of China's territory. These facts are rooted in history and law and constitute a universally accepted norm governing international relationships," Liu Pengyu, spokeswoman for China's Embassy in Washington, stated. "China's unstoppable historical trend of reunification cannot be stopped by any force or country."

Pengyu stated in an email to NBC News that the People's Liberation Army's activities near Taiwan included flights and other activities to preserve the principle of "one China" and promote peace in Taiwan Strait.

He stated that the PLA had conducted combat drills and patrols in the airspace and waters around Taiwan over the past year. These actions have clear objectives: To take decisive countermeasures to the egregious acts of forces inside and outside Taiwan island to collude with and challenge one-China principle; to resolutely protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity; to concretely safeguard both the common welfare and peace in the Strait;

Hsiao stated that China tried to subdue Taipei using pressure tactics, bullying, and disinformation. This is what her government calls "gray area warfare".

Taiwan had to call in fighter jets last month to alert 32 Chinese military planes that flew into its air defense zone.

The diplomat stated that the Chinese had also launched cyberattacks, disinformation and cognitive warfare against the people of Taiwan. This was done to weaken our resolve to defend ourselves and to create divisions in our society.

Adm. Phil Davidson was the former head of the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command. He warned Congress last year that China wanted to control Taiwan and that it could invade within the next six years.

Hsiao stated that Taiwan and the U.S. had engaged in "intense collaboration and engagement to bolster Taiwan’s self defenses", with the goal of convincing Beijing not to launch an attack military.

We are not in a position for an arms race against China. She said that what she was doing is strengthening our defenses in a strategic and smart way to prevent a military threat.

She said that governments that refuse to cut ties with Taiwan, or have criticised Beijing, have been subject to economic retaliation by China, which includes Australia and Lithuania. She said that democratic countries must rally and show China that Beijing's "coercion will not work.

She said that bullies bully because they believe they can get away without being punished. "And it's even more important that democracies come together to examine the tools we have for countering economic coercion."

She stated that China's destruction of Hong Kong's democracy had "destroyed any credibility" and Beijing was not willing to give more democratic rights or autonomy to certain regions, according to the "One Country, Two Systems” formula.

Hsiao stated that Taiwan had to make a tough decision when it came time to send its athletes to the Olympic Games in China.

She said that Taiwan had to balance concerns about China's human rights record and Taipei's efforts at being recognized on the international stage, after Beijing excluded Taiwan. She said, "It was a very complex situation for us."

The government of Taiwan, in conjunction with Australia, the United States and other countries, decided to send athletes.

She said that the government had to consider the necessity to ensure Taiwan's continued international participation in international sporting events and other occasions.

Hsiao has responded to China's assertive public messaging by using humor. Hsiao calls herself the "cat warrior" despite China's blunt-speaking envoys.

She said that Taiwan shares a lot with felines.

"I believe cats can be more loved than wolves. She said that cats are agile and flexible, they can live in tight spaces. This is a good example of Taiwan's current international situation.

"But cats also have the ability to resist coercion. Cats have nine lives, so we are constantly in danger. We need to find a balance to survive.


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