Taiwan's Vice President-Elect Calls For 'Building Our Own Strengths First' Despite US Support Amid Crisis With China

Taiwan’s Vice President-elect, Hsiao Bi-khim, underscored the importance of Taiwan’s self-strengthening, despite the continued security assistance from the US.

What Happened: Hsiao, who is set to assume office with President-elect Lai Ching-te on May 20, expressed gratitude for the recent legislation signed by U.S. President Joe Biden to bolster Taiwan’s defenses, Reuters reported on Monday. However, she emphasized that Taiwan should not solely depend on international support but focus on building its own strengths.

Appreciating the bill, Hsiao said, “This bill demonstrates the U.S.’ continuing commitment to supporting allies and partners in the face of geopolitical challenges.”

“But beyond thanking our international friends for their support, it is important that as Taiwanese we invest in building our own strengths first.”

Despite the absence of diplomatic ties, the U.S. remains Taiwan’s most significant supporter and arms supplier. This support comes amid increased military pressure from China over the past four years, which Taiwan’s government continues to reject.

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Hsiao and Lai, who have pledged to continue the defense self-sufficiency and modernization program, will take power just months before the U.S. presidential election in November.

Why It Matters: The incoming Taiwanese administration’s focus on self-strengthening comes in the backdrop of escalating tensions in the region. Taiwan has been on high alert for potential Chinese military maneuvers ahead of the presidential inauguration.

Further, China’s rapidly growing missile arsenal poses a significant threat to U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, thereby raising alarm among U.S. officials and military leaders.

Amid these tensions, the U.S. has reaffirmed its commitment to defend its allies in Southeast Asia.

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Photo by Andy.LIU Shutterstock

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Posted In: NewsPoliticsGlobalGeneralChina-Taiwan crisisHsiao Bi-khimLai Ching-tePooja RajkumariUS
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