TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, on Wednesday ordered the island’s armed forces and security personnel to step up surveillance and beef up defenses as she sought reassurance. who see, in the Ukraine conflict, echoes of the self-governing territory’s own existential crisis.
Tsai’s directive comes as a growing number of people inside and outside the island are drawing parallels between Ukraine and Taiwan, a democratically governed territory that Beijing claims as its own.
Although this comparison is far from perfect, Taiwan, like Ukraine, has long lived in the shadow of a large and overbearing neighbour. Both Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Putin have called for nostalgia for a glorious imperial past to justify their present-day territorial claims. Mr. Xi has stepped up his warning that Taiwan should not claim independence from China, just as Mr. Putin has threatened and demanded of Ukraine.
“We sympathize with the situation in Ukraine,” Ms. Tsai said at the end of last month announced the creation of a task force to study the tense situation in Ukraine.
During a meeting with the task force on Wednesday, Ms. Tsai condemned Russia for “infringing upon Ukraine’s sovereignty”. However, she noted that Taiwan is fundamentally different from Ukraine in terms of geopolitical, economic and geographical conditions.
She called on her government to remain on high alert against what she describes as “cognitive warfare” and disinformation attempts by foreign powers to use tensions in Ukraine to sow panic. turmoil and unrest in Taiwan.
While Beijing now regularly send fighters On the Taiwan side, there is no indication that an invasion of the island is imminent. Instead, the concern of some analysts in Taiwan is that the West’s distraction or weak response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could prompt the ruling Chinese Communist Party to step up pressure on the country. this island.
“Ukraine’s results are right in front of our eyes,” Chao Chien-min, a former deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, said at a conference on Tuesday, according to media reports. local media. “Against China does not help protect Taiwan – it only accelerates our death.”
Beijing has found a way maintain a balancing act towards Ukraine, calling for respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, while also tacitly acknowledging Putin’s grievances.
However, it has made clear that it considers Taiwan, which most countries do not recognize as a sovereign state, fundamentally different from Ukraine.
“Taiwan is an inviolable part of China’s territory and the Taiwan issue is purely China’s internal affairs,” said Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office. said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Amy Chang Chien contribution report.