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Three lines of defense sum up national security policy: president

ROC Central News Agency

2011/05/12 23:30:14

By Nancy Liu

Taipei, May 12 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday shared with the international community Taiwan's experience and strategies in building national security, saying they amounted to three lines of defense.

Taiwan's sustainability and future is built on cross-strait rapprochement, the enhancement of the country's contribution to international development and the alignment of defense with diplomacy, Ma said in a teleconference with the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The teleconference attracted about 150 participants from Boston, New York, Atlanta, Miami, and Chicago, most of them scholars and media workers, according to an official of the Presidential Office.

In recounting the progress made in Taiwan-U.S. relations and Taiwan-China engagements during the three years of his presidency, Ma said that he is confident that his approach to national security is at an "optimum."

The president said institutionalizing cross-strait rapprochement has produced fruitful results such as a boom in tourism from China, an increase in the trade volume between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and various agreements between them that tackled issues of concern among people.

It is important to develop a new mindset to handle cross-strait issues, Ma said. He quoted Paul Schroeder, a renowned diplomatic historian, saying "one must have change of thought before one can have change of action."

A framework that "emphasizes the commonalities, takes advantage of our shared interests, capitalizes on our mutual opportunities, and de-emphasizes our political disagreements" can bring stability and continued progress, he said.

He stressed that Taiwan can bring value to the global community.

For example, he said, against the backdrop of stable cross-strait relations, Taiwan, endowed with many "soft power" attributes, including respect for intellectual property rights, a comprehensive social infrastructure, and educated labor force, has full advantage in regional politics and business.

The president said it is important for Taiwan to build trust and credibility with its close allies, especially the U.S., and to enhance its defense capability through a newly designed all-volunteer military system.

Although it is a "huge undertaking, " the country will succeed in building a small but strong military force, he said.

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