Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Interaction with an Academic Delegation from Taiwan


On 02 May 2013, VIF hosted an interaction session with a delegation from Taiwan. Indo-Taiwan relations, Taiwan-China relations, Indo-China relations, and the US policy of rebalancing in Asia were some of the agendas for discussion. The session was chaired by Lt. Gen. (retd) R K Sawhney, Distinguished Fellow VIF, who welcomed the Taiwanese delegation and laid out the structure that the session was to follow. Taiwanese delegation consisting of seven members was led by Dr. Liu Fu Kuo, National Chengchi University, Taiwan.

Prof. Edward Chen of Tamkong University from Taiwan began the session by discussing US policy of rebalancing in Asia. Analyzing speeches of the US President, Barack Obama, and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, he argued that the US has continued in its policy of rebalancing in Asia via channels of military, economy and diplomacy. Prof. Chen, however, noted that there have been some changes in the American stand, one of which has been that of the US accommodating on issues which are politically sensitive to China. Mr. Yen then assessed Taiwanese role in rebalancing and its relations with Japan. Discussing, in brief, the issue of Senkaku Islands, Mr. Yen argued that the conflict that affects China, Taiwan and Japan have, in a way, been settled with an agreement signed between Taiwan and Japan, that encourage sharing of resources. Although the agreement, that permits fishery in the region, has not yet been recognized by China, it is one of the way through which Taiwan can play its role in balancing and stabilising Asia. Dr. Liu Fu-Kuo followed it with assessment of relations between Taiwan and China. He argued that the cross-strait relations have grown in the last five years, with increased channels of communication. He asserted that despite different political systems, there is an understanding that the two people are the same. He, however, expressed his concern with the basic issue of recognition of the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a nation that has and will remain the major reason for trust deficit between Beijing and Taipei.


Adm. K K Nayyar, representing the VIF team of speakers, spoke then on the security situation in Asia. He argued that whenever an emerging power feels bold enough to challenge an established power, it always ends up in war, as has happened in history. Observing Chinese policies with its neighbours, Adm. Nayyar highlighted that China has been threatening many of its neighbours with its aggressive muscle flexing in the region. While much would depend on where the new leadership would want to see their country, the recent military exchanges it has had, especially with India and Japan, do not depict a reassuring graph. Ambassador R. Rajagopalan made a succinct assessment of Indo-Taiwan relations. He mentioned that the history has been good, despite the fact that India had held one-China policy and it officially continues. He reassured that India, despite its policy, has done much to develop relations with Taipei. However, the scope of developing relations further is much larger than what has been utilized so far. Gen. (retd) N C Vij followed it with a precise analysis of Indo-Chinese relations. He argued that despite new Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s assurance of respecting India’s core concern as one of his five point formula, their military: the PLA has offended Indian sovereignty. He asserted that due to such reasons, it is difficult for India to simply trust Chinese verbal assurances. Quoting eight examples of that to illustrate the argument, Gen. Vij stressed on the need for India to prepare against Chinese capabilities, rather than their intentions which remain dubious.   

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