Jul 12, 2022 - World

Taiwan appeals to pro-Ukraine democracies for support

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. Photo illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios. Photo: Vladimir Simicek/Getty Images

The strong Western response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "powerful deterrent" against a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told Axios last month.

The big picture: Wu cast Taiwan's perseverance against China as part of a larger democratic struggle against authoritarianism, and he urged fellow democracies to come to Taiwan's aid in the case of a Chinese military attack.

  • Axios spoke to Wu via video link during a panel discussion at a conference in Brussels last month hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

What he's saying: Liberal democracies around the world are "more united than at any moment than I've seen in the past few decades," Wu said.

  • "This is a very strong indicator to the Chinese government that any kind of aggression against another democracy is going to provoke a reaction similar to what the fellow democracies have done against Russia," Wu said.
  • "If Taiwan is attacked unprovoked, our hope is that the fellow democracies can rally around Taiwan to deter the Chinese or to fight against the Chinese."

The Taiwanese government is learning everything it can from Ukraine's defense against Russia, Wu said.

  • That includes the importance of numerous factors, such as asymmetric warfare capabilities, a muscular response from the international community, and the willingness of citizens to take up arms to defend territory.
  • Wu warned that Taiwan's democracy is under threat from China, including through diplomatic isolation, military threat, cyberattack and cognitive warfare.

What to watch: "We want to improve our relations with fellow democracies so that they can understand Taiwan more and can show support to Taiwan when we need it," Wu said.

  • He added that Taiwanese officials have been discussing with the U.S. government how Taiwan can achieve that goal.

The bottom line: "Democracy is something that is deep in our belief system, and we don't want anything, or anybody, or any country to take it away from us," Wu said.

Go deeper: Pressure grows for Taiwan to boost its defense force

Disclosure: The German Marshall Fund covered the cost of this reporter's trip to Brussels.

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