China urged not to squeeze Taiwan’s int’l space


TAIPEI–Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) urged China yesterday to show its style as a big country and not try to block Taiwan government officials from participating in international activities.

MND spokesman Lo Shao-ho issued the call while expressing dissatisfaction over pressure from China that led to a Taiwanese delegation being barred at the last minute from attending the Jakarta International Defense Dialogue (JIDD) in Indonesia last week.

Taiwan had planned to send two scholars and two officials from its representative office in Jakarta to participate in the defense forum March 20-21.

But the Taiwan delegation was forced to pull out at the last minute after Beijing lodged a protest with the Indonesian government about Taiwan’s presence, Foreign Minister David Lin said Monday at a legislative session.

The third JIDD, held under the theme “Defence and Diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific Region,” was attended by about 500 people from 45 countries. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter was among the dignitaries who attended the forum, according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s website.

Indonesia hosted the first JIDD in 2011 as a platform for security dialogue in East Asia at a level similar to that of the Shangri-La Dialogue, also known as the Asia Security Summit, which is held annually in Singapore.

Taiwan also sought to attend the first JIDD forum but was not accepted. However, in 2012, Taiwan was invited by the Indonesian Think tank to participate in the second JIDD.

Ma Cheng-kun, an expert from Taiwan’s National Defense University on the Chinese military, represented Taiwan at the summit that was attended by delegations from 37 countries.

Lo said that as China continues to purchase arms from Russia and develop its own weapons, an increasing imbalance of military power is building across the Taiwan Strait, posing a stiffer challenge for Taiwan in its national defense.

The MND will not engage in military competition with China but will make good use of its defense budget, resources, and asymmetric warfare tactics to deter China from launching a war against Taiwan, Lo said.