Taiwan Seeks to Boost Ties With Germany to Counter ‘Authoritarian Expansionism’

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
January 11, 2023Asia & Pacific

Taiwan’s president told German lawmakers on Tuesday that her nation seeks to boost ties with Germany to counter “authoritarian expansionism,” alluding to the security threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Tsai Ing-wen called on democratic countries to jointly uphold regional stability in the face of authoritarian expansion, citing the CCP’s large-scale military drills across the Taiwan Strait in August 2022.

“Starting next year, Taiwan’s mandatory military service will be extended to one year. This will bolster our defense capabilities and demonstrates our determination to protect our homeland and defend democracy,” Tsai told a German parliamentary delegation in Taipei.

“We look forward to upholding regional stability and prosperity alongside Germany and other democratic partners,” she added.

Tsai expressed gratitude to Germany for including Taiwan in its progress report on the Indo-Pacific policy guidelines and for recognizing the importance of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait.

“I believe that, with your strong support, the partnership between Taiwan and Germany will continue to deepen,” Tsai told the delegation.

The German delegation, led by the national defense committee chairman Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, and deputy chair of the Liberal Democratic Party Johannes Vogel, was on a four-day trip to Taiwan.

Vogel said the visit demonstrated Germany’s support and solidarity for Taiwan against military aggression.

“The German government and Western allies support the ‘One China’ policy, but we also believe that any change of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait can only be achieved by mutual agreement, and any attempt to change the status quo by force is unacceptable,” he said.

Taiwan-Germany ties span a wide range of fields, including energy transition, financial supervision, and transitional justice. Germany regards Taiwan as an important partner but has no formal diplomatic ties with the republic.

Strack-Zimmermann said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 was a “wake-up call” for Europe and the rest of the world, and that the German delegation wished to tell the world that they stand for peace and democracy.

“That’s the reason why we come to [Taiwan], to your wonderful island, to say to the world that we stand close together as democratic states in case that we want to live in peace and freedom in the future for our children and grandchildren,” she said.

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned the German delegation’s visit to Taiwan and warned of “necessary measures to resolutely defend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, but the CCP views Taiwan as its own territory. It regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be united with mainland China by any means necessary; CCP leadership hasn’t ruled out the use of force to achieve this goal.

Taiwan also welcomed Lithuania’s parliamentary delegation on Monday. The CCP’s military held combat drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan ahead of the German delegation’s arrival in Taiwan, sending 57 aircraft and four naval vessels toward the island nation.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that 28 warplanes entered its air defense identification zone and crossed the Taiwan Strait median line. Taiwan responded by scrambling aircraft, naval vessels, and land-based missile systems.

Taiwan Needs Help to Repel China Invasion

Taiwan could defend its de facto independence from an amphibious invasion by China, according to the results of a new wargame, but the United States would need to be a player in the war, and losses to life and materiel would be immense on all sides.

Taiwan US China
Taiwan’s military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, on Aug. 9, 2022. (Johnson Lai/AP Photo)

The wargame was developed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a security-focused think tank, and played over 24 iterations in a wide variety of scenarios.

The game simulated an amphibious invasion of Taiwan by the CCP in the year 2026 and, according to a report (pdf) detailing its findings, losses to life, treasure, and equipment would be catastrophic in virtually every scenario.

Eric Heginbotham, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of the game, said that the game demonstrated such a conflict would have far-reaching consequences.

Notably, Taiwan survived as an autonomous entity in all but five iterations of the game, but the preservation of the island’s democratic way of life required strong commitments from other nations including the United States and Japan.

Heginbotham said that, while the game was essentially an exploration of uncertainty, one thing was made certain: Taiwan’s military was not prepared to weather such a conflict alone.

“This should be an absolute wakeup call for Taiwan,” Heginbotham said during a launch event for the report on Jan. 9. “The Taiwanese Army is not the Ukrainian Army. It is nowhere near as well prepared.”

Though U.S. involvement in a Chinese invasion of Taiwan appears to ensure victory in most scenarios, the report warns that the fighting, and dying, will take place at a scale unseen by the nation since World War II.

Andrew Thornebrooke contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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