TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave what was called “the strongest defense of Taiwan and its right to exist” when asked how the country should defend itself against China on Saturday. June 11.
During the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue, Washington Post foreign policy columnist Josh Rogin continued Zelensky’s video address by saying, “How do you recommend that Taiwan stay strong as China seeks to impose its control over a people free by force if necessary? He quoted Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio as saying on Friday June 10 that “the Ukraine of today could be East Asia tomorrow”, which he said referred to inter- strait.
“Today’s example of Ukraine is an example for the whole world. The world should always support any action related to preventive measures to prevent violence,” Zelensky replied. “No one is profiting from (the war) except some political leaders who are unhappy with their current level of ambitions.”
Zelensky said the world is “allowing these leaders to work up their appetites,” which is why a diplomatic resolve is needed to support countries that need help. “We must not leave them at the mercy of another country that is more powerful financially, territorially and materially.”
He stressed that the diplomatic resolution must be preventive and not one that “comes after the start of the war”, cost lives and caused a refugee crisis.
Josh Rogin asks Zelensky for his opinion on how Taiwan should defend itself against Chinese aggression. (YouTube, screenshot by International Institute for Strategic Studies)
Rogin later wrote in an opinion piece that “Zelensky’s remarks represented the strongest defense of Taiwan and its right to exist that he or any member of his government had made to date.” . The Ukrainian administration, according to Rogin, maintains a “delicate balance with China” as it sees Beijing as potentially helpful or harmful.
Ukraine Open for Business quoted Olivia Enos, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Asian Studies, as saying that during Zelensky’s speech, the Chinese delegation left the venue for the dialogue.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confronted Chinese Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和) in a side meeting on Friday over China’s increasingly aggressive moves against Taiwan, CNN reported. However, China insisted that it was not responsible for destabilizing the decades-old status quo, but rather that the fault lay with “Taiwan independence forces” and “other outside forces”.
The United States and China hold a side meeting during the Shangri-La dialogue. (Photo by Chinese Ministry of National Defence)
According to a BBC report on the same event, Austin called frequent Chinese military activity in the Taiwan Strait “provocative, destabilizing.” Meanwhile, Wei threatened that China “will have no choice but to fight at all costs and crush any attempt at ‘Taiwan independence’ and safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” if anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China.
During Wei’s speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Sunday June 12, he said China’s determination to promote “peaceful development” is unwavering and the Chinese military “has always been the one of peace.” He added that China’s development is not a threat but a “huge contribution” to world peace.
He then asserted that China “absolutely will not refrain from going to war” and “will not stop at any cost” on the issue of Taiwan independence. “Nobody should underestimate the determination, the will and the great power of the Chinese army.”