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Taiwanese Foreign Minister and Former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper Discuss China and the Rise of Global Authoritarianism

WASHINGTON, DC – With authoritarianism on the move globally, the McCain Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) hosted H.E. Minister Joseph Wu—Minister of Foreign Affairs of the R.O.C. (Taiwan) for a discussion on events in the Indo-Pacific region with former U.S. Defense Secretary and current John S. McCain Distinguished Fellow Dr. Mark T. Esper as part of the McCain Institute’s Conversations with Secretary Esper event series.

Foreign Minister Wu and Secretary Esper discussed the threat of Chinese activity in the Taiwan Strait, as well as the message that China was intending to send to Taiwan, and the world through the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“Taiwan and the United States are longtime friends and partners in the Indo-Pacific, the relationship between our two countries goes back many decades and is bound by our shared history, values, common goals and familial links,” said former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. “I was pleased to see the White House reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Taiwan last year when it said ‘our position on Taiwan remains clear, we will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security and values in the Indo-Pacific region.’”

Click HERE to view the full conversation.

Excerpts from Foreign Minister Wu’s comments:

Minister Wu on Support for Taiwan as a Bipartisan Issue.
“We are very happy about that. It used to be red team or blue team or whatever you want to call it, but now it’s all Taiwan Team. We are very happy to see that the policy community in Washington, DC is supportive of Taiwan. We are very happy that there is across the board bipartisan support for Taiwan on Capitol Hill and the administrations, whether they are Democratic or Republican their support for Taiwan is unambiguous and that is highly appreciated.”

Minister Wu on Democracy as a Way of Life in Taiwan
“Democracy is our way of life, and democracy is also a value that we all share. And Taiwan is willing to defend our shared values at the face of expanding authoritarianism and it requires all the democracies to work together.”

Minister Wu on the Importance of International Support for Taiwan
“We don’t see any hope of relaxation of tension between Taiwan and China. The reason is very clear, is that China has that intention of takeover Taiwan militarily, and they seem to be more and more confident of their capability. And without the strong support from the international community or without the ability of Taiwan to be able to defend itself is going to be very hard to prevent China from thinking about using military force against Taiwan.”

This event is the sixth installment of the McCain Institute’s event series, Conversations with Secretary Esper, which convenes experts for conversations related to security challenges facing the United States and how it positions itself to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time – a rising China, increasing international authoritarianism, the global plague of disinformation, etc.

About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
Inspired by Senator John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute is fighting to secure democracy and alliances, defend human rights, protect the vulnerable and advance character-driven leadership, both at home and around the world.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

Publish Date
February 22, 2022