史賓林特(Michael R. Splinter)主席、韓儒伯(Rupert Hammond-Chambers)會長及所有與會貴賓，大家早安與晚安！感謝美台商業協會（US-Taiwan Business Council）的邀請，我很榮幸出席第19屆美台國防工業會議（US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference）發表主題演講，並藉此機會向與會的各位貴賓，闡述我對於與中華民國國防政策的觀點。自從2002年舉辦第一屆美台國防工業會議以來，此平台就廣受各界的重視，我很高興去年曾以國民黨立法委員的身份赴美參加此會議，雖然今年的會議因為新冠疫情的影響，改採線上形式進行，但我相信如同以往，透過交流與對話，本屆會議必將會產生豐碩成果。
有許多人說，美國現在將台灣作為印太區域的棋子或是與北京當局談判的槓桿點，我希望這不是真的。美國和中華民國曾經在第一次和第二次世界大戰中並肩作戰，也曾共同防禦不讓共產勢力超過第一島鏈；就台海安全而言，雙方應是合作夥伴關係，而且美國除了根據《臺灣關係法》(Taiwan Relations Act, TRA)繼續提供台灣需要的武器系統外，更應透過外交溝通，設法降低北京當局以武力解決兩岸問題的動機，因為這也有益於亞太或印太區域的穩定與發展。
Chairman Splinter, President Hammond-Chambers, distinguished guests from around the world: good morning, good afternoon and good evening!
A big thanks to the US-Taiwan Business Council for holding this event.
I am greatly honored to give a keynote speech at this 19th US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, and I will take this opportunity to elaborate on my perspective of the Republic of China (ROC) national defense policies for you.
Ever since the first US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference held in 2002, many people from all walks of life have recognized the importance of this meeting, and I was very happy to visit the US and attend last year in the capacity of KMT legislator.
Although this year's conference, due to the coronavirus pandemic, is online, I am convinced that, through communication and dialogue, our conference will still produce abundant value.
To that end, I will now share my views on the KMT's analysis of the present situation in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, as well as the challenges that the ROC faces in developing our military combat readiness and developing an elite and agile ROC Armed Forces.
As the adversity between mainland China and the US intensifies, the global trend seems to be of a return to a Cold War geopolitical framework. Furthermore, these two sides have recently conducted military operations with increasing daily frequency in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait areas.
The risk of conflict continues to rise.
Regarding the complex situation in the South China Sea, the KMT calls upon all relevant parties to exercise self-control, and to consider bringing in the ROC for formal consultations.
Otherwise, the issue of sovereignty in the South China Sea will become even more difficult to resolve.
The position of the KMT is: based on history, geography, and international law, the Nansha (Spratly) Islands, Shisha (Paracel) Islands, Chungsha Islands (Macclesfield Bank), Tungsha (Pratas) Islands, and their surrounding waters, are all inherently ROC territory and territorial waters.
According to international maritime law, Taiping Island is defined as a naturally formed island, so it exerts a 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the waters surrounding it.
The South China Sea arbitration case denies the legal status of Taiping Island; however, as the ROC is not a party to this arbitration case, this result is not legally binding on the ROC.
With regard to the security of the Taiwan Strait, the KMT has long opposed any and all Chinese Communist Party (CCP) military operations that threaten Taiwan, including aircraft and warships crossing the Taiwan Strait median line.
This type of behavior not only threatens the security of Taiwan and increases the risk of unintentional cross-Strait conflict, but worse, it destroys the peace and stability of the entire Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific region.
This type of behavior is absolutely unnecessary.
I call upon the authorities in Beijing to not employ military force when handling affairs related to Taiwan.
Only in this way can we reduce the probability that conflict breaks out.
At the same time, the authorities in Beijing should squarely face the existence of the ROC since 1912.
Only through peaceful interaction, mutual respect, as well as seeking common ground while putting aside differences, are we able to progressively accumulate basic cross-Strait mutual trust.
Only after we obtain this mutual trust can we lay a solid foundation of cross-Strait interaction.
For the sake of averting a cross-Strait war, as the KMT Chairman, I believe that, in addition to making an attempt at improving cross-Strait political relations, we must also eliminate Beijing's military optimism.
I firmly believe that by developing resolute and substantial ROC military capability, we can compel Beijing to cautiously weigh the consequences of employing military force so that it will be less likely to recklessly initiate war. This is also "Peace through Strength."
However, here I also call upon the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to do the following two things: to abide by the ROC Constitution, and to avert a vicious cross-Strait spiral into conflict by seeking proactively the basis for cross-Strait political dialogue.
Many people say that the US is just using Taiwan as a pawn in its Indo-Pacific strategy, or as negotiating leverage against the Beijing authorities.
I sincerely hope this is not the case.
The ROC and the US fought side by side in both World Wars.
We then prevented communist power from expanding past the first island chain, defending it together.
In terms of the security in the Taiwan Strait, our relationship should be that of collaborating partners.
Furthermore, in addition to continuous supplies of necessary weapons systems in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the US should employ diplomatic means to attempt to reduce the motivation for the authorities in Beijing to resolve cross-Strait issues with force.
This would also be conducive to the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific region.
Looking towards the future, the complex relationship of competition and cooperation between the US and mainland China will persist.
However, if both sides of the Taiwan Strait can resume mutual trust and dialogue to a certain extent, then both Taiwan-US relations and cross-Strait relations can remain mutually inclusive, and furthermore, the "Close to the US, Peace with the mainland" strategy of the previous KMT government can also be somehow applied.
I still remember, during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Missile Crisis, I just so happened to be serving as a frogman at Quemoy (Kinmen), so I know from personal experience the thin line between peace and war.
We are not afraid of war, but we cannot bear to see innocents sacrificed for its sake.
Therefore, under my leadership, the KMT will spare no effort in making the defense of ROC sovereignty our responsibility, and in making the defense of Taiwan's safety our mission.
For the sake of national security and cross-Strait peace, to prevent the reappearance of war, the KMT is willing to serve as the canary in the coalmine.
We remind the risk of conflict in the Taiwan Strait in order to let the people be alert to the misery of war.
I would like to reiterate that as long as Beijing refuses to renounce the use of military force against Taiwan, we in Taiwan will always be under military threat, regardless of how cross-Strait relations develop. In accordance with the mainstream opinion in Taiwan, the KMT advocates for improvement of cross-Strait relations, while at the same time never underestimating the threat that the strength of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) poses for Taiwan.
In the past few years, the aggregate power of mainland China has increased rapidly, increasing and diversifying the military threat Taiwan faces.
In cross-Strait relations, we must pay close attention to the following two points: first, the continuous increase in capability of PLA, and second, the cyberwarfare that is usually invisible.
I also want to note, since June of this year, the PLA's military activities near Taiwan have rapidly increased in terms of frequency and intensity.
The ROC Armed Forces, as of now, faces lots of major challenges in terms of the threat from the PLA's military strength.
I will just name a few of them.
First, our defense budget is limited. Although the ROC’s defense budget totaled 367 billion NTD in 2021, but only 197 billion NTD will actually be allocated to military strength and preparedness programs.
However, it is difficult for our government to increase the defense budget in the short run, due to fiscal constraints.
Second, because our military’s primary battle equipment still consumes a large amount of manpower to maintain outdated equipment, our Armed Forces is thus compelled to waste a large chunk of budget.
So the new systems are unable to be employed effectively. This causes even more difficulties as the ROC Armed Forces try to update its Network Centric Warfare (NCW) capabilities.
Third, our reserve forces are not up to snuff, and they lack qualified and specialized officers.
If conflict erupts in the Taiwan Strait, under the current circumstances of limited early warning and expected range of attack covering the entire island, we will not have sufficient time and sufficient secure space to complete preparations of the majority of our reserves for battle.
Fourth, the militaries on both sides of the Strait lack an accident prevention mechanism, therefore there is a likelihood of accident, even in the peace time.
Unfortunately, because the two militaries lack communication mechanisms and standards for preventing unintentional incidents, not only does the ROC Armed Forces’ war preparation pressure increase, but the opportunity to eliminate the chances of a minor incident escalating into a larger conflict is impossible.
It is even possible that a small incident would result in a major crisis that Taipei, Washington, and Beijing neither are difficult to predict nor want to meet.
In order to address the above threats and challenges, I believe that in terms of national defense, the most important goal for the ROC Government consists of developing an elite and agile ROC Armed Forces. Here are my four points:
First, we must strengthen the capacity of the ROC Armed Forces to counter the CCP's internet and telecommunications warfare.
The ROC Armed Forces should continue to not only improve its ability to protect the security of information, but it must try to also advance its ability to engage in cyberwarfare.
Second, we must improve the capabilities of our reserve forces. How will we do it? Number one, we need to increase the number of standing military officers; number two, we need to reduce the number of backup reserve units in order to concentrate resources to better the effectiveness of the reserve force’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems. We also need to amend relevant laws to authorize our executive branch to implement advance mobilization under certain unusual circumstances.
Third, we must pursue steady growth of the defense budget. I have always advocated the maintenance of necessary national defense capabilities to promote peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. In order to achieve this goal, we must rely on a steady, well planned, and cost effective defense budget. Furthermore, the government needs to envision the defense budgeting circumstances over the next ten years and the suitable programs for each and every combat readiness operation. Also, in order to improve the efficiency of national defense expenditures, we should require that the Defense Ministry periodically introduce innovative warfare concepts and practices.
Fourth, we must continue to strengthen military exchange between the ROC and the US. My suggestions are as follows:
1) Expanded bilateral intelligence cooperation. In addition to improving the ROC Armed Forces’ early warning and missile defense capabilities, this can increase our military's grasp of PLA tactics, training, unit assignments, and new equipment.
2) Continued sales of weapons, equipment, and technology. Through these sales, the ROC Armed Forces is able to more easily improve its ability to conduct NCW, beyond visual range (BVR) warfare, joint air defense operation, joint suppression warfare, joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and other fields of warfare.
3) Relaxation of the rank restrictions on bilateral high level military and civilian official exchange visit.
As everyone here knows, the security challenges we face have never disappeared. We here on Taiwan have experienced several cross-Strait military clashes, and we are now, once again, met with a pivotal time period in both cross-Strait relations and US-PRC relations. For the sake of stable cross-Strait relations and the persistent reinforcement of our self-defense capabilities, we hope to obtain the understanding and support of our US friends, so that together, we can put forth every effort to guarantee peace, stability and prosperity in the region. On behalf of the KMT, I hope that the 19th US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference proceeds productively and successfully, and that I will be able to meet with you either in Taiwan or in the US as soon as possible. Thank you very much.