Alexander Yui, Vice Foreign Minister of Taiwan: “We are learning from Ukraine to defend ourselves”

Taiwan’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Tah-ray Yuiwarned in dialogue with Infobae America that the world will face unprecedented economic consequences if China The mainland finally decides to invade the island never ruled by the communist regime born in 1949. “The global economic impact of a war in Taiwan would be much larger than it is in Ukraine.”, he sentenced. It is that a large part of the planetary maritime trade circulates through the strait that separates the island from the continent and one of the most important industries of today is developed in your country: that of microprocessors or chips.

Various topics were discussed during the 25-minute conversation with the vice chancellor, an expert in Latin Americawhere he served as ambassador of Paraguayan (2015-2018) and Political Advisor at the diplomatic headquarters of The Savior (2003-2009). The knowledge of yui on the region are not limited solely to diplomatic relations: in 1988 he completed a Master’s Degree in Spanish Literature at the University of Texas and he dedicated most of his career to the study of the hemisphere from his Foreign Ministry and from non-governmental organizations. In Taipei He served until 2021 as Director General of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, the year in which he was summoned to occupy the current position.

During the interview, he mainly referred to an issue that worries not only Taiwanese, but also the entire planet: the threat of the Chinese regime to his country. “There was always the possibility of a war”, said the official and remarked that the invasion of Russia to Ukraine made it possible for everyone to pay attention to what he could do Beijing.

yui it is clear: call “authoritarian regime” to driving Xi Jinping and highlights it at all times. He also points out that mainland China “is a threat to the world order” that Beijing is trying to change together with Russia.

The Taiwanese vice foreign minister also spoke of the consequences of an invasion ordered by Xi Jinping to your country. “In terms of values, Taiwan is in the forefront of defending democracy and freedom, just like Ukraine is in Europe. Taiwan is the first row against Chinese hegemony against freedoms and democracies. Economically, Taiwan is an integral part of the global production chain. Today the machines would be European, American, the materials would be Japanese, the design would be American, but the products are made in taiwan”.

yui placed special emphasis on the importance for global economic production of the leadership that taiwan boasts in the manufacture of microprocessors -the most advanced in the world- which, if they fall into the hands of the regime of Beijing, would represent a serious risk for democracies. But above all, a large-scale invasion would jeopardize supplies, causing an unprecedented economic crisis, far greater than the one caused by the invasion of Russia to Ukraine. “the clock would stop“, graphic.

Asked about the military possibilities, he explained that in recent years they have been actively preparing both internally and externally and that his government has been buying sophisticated weapons to repel attacks, but above all in the last year they have observed the international scene with Kiev as the focus. “We are learning many lessons in what would be the defense of our homeland”, he indicated.

Latin America was also a topic of discussion. You have no doubt that Beijing interferes throughout the region so that the diplomatic relations of taiwan do not prosper. Honduras It is a clear example -and a recent one- of this constant harassment. But he also warned that Latin American countries should be careful in the promises that the regime makes Xi -and remembered the Grand Canal of Nicaragua– who never complies once he achieves that there are no relations with Taipei.

the full interview

—Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, Alexander Yui, thank you very much for these minutes with Infobae. Why do you think that after years of relative stability in relations between Beijing and mainland Chinese Taipei, systematic and permanent harassment of Taiwan began?

—Look, as you will know the final objective of People’s China to absorb Taiwan, to take it as its own, to annihilate the political system that we have in Taiwan, that objective has never been altered. Ever since the ROC was transferred to Taiwan, it has been its ultimate goal. Yes, at the time there were sea battles, air duels where they tried to conquer Taiwan in the ’50s but our troops stopped them on the island of Quemoy which was on the other side of the city of Xiamen in People’s China. But they have never left that goal. There were periods when People’s China wanted to develop its economy, and in fact the Taiwanese, the businessmen were very indicative, they fully participated, they had a lot to do with the boom, the economic and industrial prosperity of China in the 1980s. So now the authoritarian regime of Xi Jinping professes the realization of the Chinese dream, Chinese greatness, Chinese hegemony in the world. And he also has dreams of conquering Taiwan by hook or by crook. To the bad being by the military route. The last few years have been much more aggressive not only towards Taiwan but globally as you may have seen. So for many countries today, People’s China is an opponent, it is a threat to their system, to the market system, it is a threat to the international order that is governed by rules and this People’s China is trying to change all that. .

Is Taiwan afraid of an attempted invasion of mainland China anytime soon? Are you ready for that? Fears is the right verb, is it more of a concern, a fear?

—Their goal of conquering Taiwan has never changed. Possibilities of war have always existed, but since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the visit of the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in August of last year, the entire world has put more attention to the situation in Taiwan or the Taiwan Strait. People’s China wants to isolate us, it wants to suffocate our international space, it wants to suffocate the life we ​​have, those of us who respect democracy, freedom. Including, as you know, in recent days the issue of Honduras. He is courting Honduras by promising all sorts of things to get them to shift their diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to People’s China, believing that this will further isolate Taiwan on the international scene. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While Honduras is apparently moving away from Taiwan today, the Minister of Education of the German federal government (Bettina Stark-Watzinger) is visiting Taiwan. She is a delegation of deputies from the Lower House of England. Today the arrival in a few days of the president of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic with a delegation of 160 members, government officials, academia, deputies, the press, etc., was announced. She is the largest delegation we have ever had. A Paraguayan delegation is here. A delegation from Kosovo, Romania, Macedonia recently visited us. Countries that sounded strange before, far away here, today more and more countries are closer to Taiwan. What People’s China is trying to do to isolate us isn’t really working for them.

—Now, that could be construed as a vicious cycle by mainland China who might think it’s a provocation, don’t you think?

—Well, we are not doing the provocation, we want… Provocation was that we had been part of the People’s Republic of China and we had left and then they want to recover lost ground, that would be one thing. The People’s Republic of China never administered, never controlled the island of Taiwan. If you allow me, it would be as if Argentina suddenly today says Ah, it’s that Uruguay was ours. Today I demand that Uruguay be a province of Argentina. It’s almost what they’re doing now. But that is very far from the truth.

—Vice Minister, what immediate consequences would China’s invasion of Taiwan have for the rest of the world?

—Well, first for the values ​​part. Taiwan is at the forefront of defending democracy and freedom just as Ukraine is doing in Europe. Taiwan is the first row against the Chinese communist hegemony towards freedoms, towards democracies. At an economic level, Taiwan is an integral part of the global production chain, of technology, of world items. Today the machines will be European, American, the materials will be Japanese, the design will be American, but the products are Made in Taiwan. Semiconductors: A large part of semiconductors are made in Taiwan. So that could cause a big upheaval in international trade if an act of war occurred in Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait itself is also an important thoroughfare in international trade, so any disruption in this part would have even bigger repercussions than what is happening in Ukraine.

—You made reference several times to Ukraine and the situation that the Ukrainian people are experiencing. Do you think that in the event of an invasion attempt, a military aggression by China, Taiwan is in the same position as Ukraine to defend itself?

—In this sense, Taiwan has always been preparing. That is to say, we have been strengthening our military defenses since the nationalist government has been on the island. The democratic government of the Chinese Republic is today suffering from these threats. We have also strengthened our defense industry domestically but also by acquiring modern weapons from other friendly countries. This preparation is active and we are also learning from the offensives of the war that is taking place in Ukraine. Learning how to defend ourselves, that is, it is a big country invading a small one, it would be something similar. So we are learning many lessons about the defense of our homeland. For that same reason more and more countries… for example, when there is a G7 summit, when there is a summit in Southeast Asia, last week the heads of Britain and France met, they all talked, Japan, and so on. , they all spoke of the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, that they do not want to see a unilateral change to the status quo of the Taiwan Strait by putting a party nowhere and that they have to respect the law, the will of the peoples .

—It was confirmed that in the coming days, former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will visit several cities in mainland China. How does Taipei rate this visit and do you think there is a possibility of an open dialogue with Xi Jinping considering all these attacks?

“Well, first Mr. Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, the retired former president, a president, informed our government of his intent, his intent to go to People’s China to visit his homeland. Our president, our government has also mentioned that with the COVID-19 already in a less challenging way for our health then we have also expressed the good will that there would be more exchange between Taiwan and People’s China. The visit of Mr. President Ma attends to that, he goes as a private citizen, that is, he does not carry any message from the government. But we, President Tsai, have indicated in his speech at the beginning of the year that we are always ready to dialogue with People’s China as long as the table is there, that is, we speak in an equitable manner, with mutual respect, and always responding to respect, to the will of Taiwan. The president, if you’ll let me read, had mentioned four insistences as a minimum basis, minimum requirements to engage in dialogue between People’s China and Taiwan. She mentioned the four insistences. It is the insistence on a free and democratic system; the insistence that the ROC and the PRC do not belong to each other; insist that the inviolability of our sovereignty; also insist that the future of the Republic of China in Taiwan obeys the general will of the people of Taiwan. Under this scheme we are prepared to dialogue, to comply with the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. We are willing to talk with China only if they respect what I just mentioned.

—Vice Minister, Taiwan is a clear example that the democratic system can work in Asia despite what many say, that it is a cultural issue.


—Other countries are also clear examples of this, such as Japan and South Korea, among others. How is Taiwan’s link with these democratic countries considering the Chinese threat?

—Well, look, we are similar countries. We think and value the same principles. You mentioned freedom and democracy. And that’s why in many ways these countries also see People’s China as a possible source of instability in the area and both Korea and Japan have mentioned several times that concern that the Taiwan Strait should preserve peace and stability as I mentioned and that nowhere should a change be made unilaterally. So with Japan we are neighbors and we coordinate very well with Japan. With Korea, well, we are trading partners, there is also a growing relationship with Korea.

—And does that relationship include the military?

“No, not yet militarily. But there is a lot of dialogue, especially between us and Japan due to our proximity, obviously we are neighbors, we are practically next to each other.

—The United States has always shown itself to be close and a friend of Taiwan. Do you think that without this closeness, without this friendship, without these ties, Beijing would have already attempted some more concrete military action in recent times against Taipei?

—Well, look, the defense of Taiwan is the responsibility of all Taiwanese. The defense of our homeland… But equally, the more friends support us and the more friends express to Popular China their disagreement with this possible latent intention to conquer Taiwan by military means… (how many) more friends are with us, the less risk , the less likely that China will attempt a military breakaway to Taiwan. So the support that the United States has mentioned over and over again for Taiwan in the sense that, well…they also by law, the Taiwan Relations Act, which was passed by the US Congress in 1979, the United States has to provide adequately, sell us defense weapons so that Taiwan has enough power to defend itself. So yes, we also have a lot of good coordination, a lot of dialogue at the military level with the United States as well.

—Taiwan has cultural and trade offices throughout Latin America but with few countries it has formal diplomatic ties. Do you think this is due to constant interference by Beijing in the region?

-That’s obvious. If there were no interference from Beijing, we would already have our embassy in Buenos Aires (laughs). But that falls into this mess. As we have mentioned to friendly diplomatic countries, such as Honduras recently. For Popular China, its interest in these countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan is to get Taiwan out of that country. It’s a chessboard and these countries are unfortunately these pieces that they are playing. Once they remove that tile from the board they are no longer interested. They have promised them many things, you will have read about the Grand Canal of Nicaragua, when El Salvador was being tempted by the popular Chinese and a Chinese company established a company in El Salvador that was going to change the face of the East, the part of the Union El Salvador was going to build airports, docks, ports, industrial zones, it was going to do everything, it was going to technologically transform El Salvador. But once they set up the embassy, ​​that company disappeared. There are both examples. But with countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, we want to be and are relevant partners. We want to increase this pragmatic relationship with these countries in addition to the economic, cultural, scientific, and technological one. We want to have these pragmatic relationships with countries. We are not in a position to drive the People’s Republic out of Argentina, if we can live together in Argentina we are fine, but the position of China Popular is not like that unfortunately. They are exclusive. We want to be inclusive.

—Deputy Minister, the last question. Some analysts believe that Beijing’s real obsession with Taiwan is its powerful microprocessor industry, which you named at the beginning of this talk. Is that industry that is vital to the functioning of the world economy at risk if it falls into the hands of Beijing?

– Obviously yes. That is why I mentioned to you at the beginning… the defense of Taiwan, although it falls on our shoulders, Taiwan is economically and by values ​​much more relevant in the sense that, well, what is happening in Ukraine. In other words, the impact of a war between Taiwan and Popular China, the economic impact worldwide would be much greater than what is happening in Ukraine, where many countries are suffering due to energy issues, freight issues. But it would stop the world without chips and semiconductors… basically the clock would stop. And that is why there is the allusion, that is why there is the concern of many industrialized countries, countries, well, in all parts of the world saying People’s China should not be tempted to risk a war against Taiwan because first it affects the world economy and what it is doing it goes against democratic values ​​and principles. And it also affects, well, it affects everyone. That’s why Taiwan is relevant in that sense.

—Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan Alexander Tah-ray Yui thank you very much for this contact with Infobae.

“It’s a pleasure talking to you today.”

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