Taiwan Prez defends comments on war with China

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 21:20

Taipei: Taiwan`s President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday
defended comments he made about the island`s ability to defend
itself, insisting the United States would not get dragged into
any war with China.

The remarks came after he said in an interview with CNN
that Taipei "will never ask the Americans to fight for Taiwan"
-- comments that sparked criticism from the island`s
pro-independence opposition.

Some politicians from the main opposition Democratic
Progressive Party accused Ma of selling out to China.

"This accusation is nonsense," Ma said, according to a
statement.

"I wanted to let the American people know that their
support of Taiwan won`t get them involved in any war with
China... As a sovereign state, we must display our
determination to defend ourselves."

The United States is required by law to supply Taiwan
with defensive weapons, but it has never indicated it would
fight on Taiwan`s side in a war.

Ma, of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party, said that
since he came to power Taiwan had served as a "peacemaker" in
the region.

Nevertheless, he justified a continued military buildup
as necessary to defend the island from China.

"We won`t relax our preparations for a military buildup
just because of improved ties with the mainland... because we
know they still have more than 1,000 missiles targeting us."

Taiwan has governed itself since it split from China in
1949 at the end of a civil war. However, Beijing still
considers the island part of its territory and refuses to
renounce its use of force to take back the island.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 21:20

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