Mainland China remains an adversary to Taiwan: defense minister
CNATAIPEI -- The relationship across the Taiwan Strait remains one between two adversaries, Minister of National Defense Yen Ming said Monday, adding that China poses the biggest security threat to Taiwan.
October 22, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Yen made the comments when answering questions at the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and National Defense Committee.
Hsiao Bi-khim, a lawmaker of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, asked whether Yen agrees that China represents the biggest threat to Taiwan's national defense and security, to which he responded: “Yes.”
Hsiao then referred to President Ma Ying-jeou's characterization of the cross-strait relationship as “not international” and asked Yen how he would describe Taiwan's relationship with China.
“It remains one between adversaries,” Yen replied.
Ma was addressing the issue of identity, but for the Ministry of National Defense and the military, China continues to be an enemy and the nature of the relationship remains adversarial, he said.
As to whether Ma's comments would confuse the military or lead to a misunderstanding of Taiwan's strategic focus, Yen said they would not.
In his National Day address, the president said that “the people of both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese by ethnicity. Cross-strait relations are not international relations.”
After the remarks sparked criticism, Ma later clarified them by saying that what exists between Taiwan and China is a special relationship, which is neither international nor domestic.
Taiwan's relations with China have improved since Ma took office in May 2008, but his government has often had to fend off criticism that it is putting the country dangerously close to China's embrace.