Taipei, China's move toward self-isolation has prompted more Asia-Pacific countries to work with the United States and has given Taiwan more scope within an inclusive and principled network that the U.S. has been championing, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Tuesday in Taipei.
The more China isolates itself, the less opportunity it would have to isolate Taiwan, Carter said in a closed-door speech at the Ketagalan Forum: 2018 Asia Pacific Security Dialogue, according to attendees.
For the past seven decades, Carter said, the U.S. has been pursuing a policy that has welcomed the inclusion of China, despite Beijing's very different political values and history.
China, however, has been heading in a different direction, guided by a type of strategic thinking that is leading to self-isolation, Carter said, citing China's militarization of the South China Sea as an example.
Taiwan, on the other hand, because of its values and principles, is a natural part of the Indo-Pacific network and will gain greater scope due to China's self-isolation approach, said Carter, who served as U.S. secretary of defense 2015-2017 in the administration of then President Barack Obama.
He said Chinese policymakers should consider the irony of its relationship with Taiwan in the long run.
China's self-isolation approach is the reason why an increasing number of nations in the Asia-Pacific region have been seeking to work more closely with U.S., he said.
On the question of whether he supported the recent transit of U.S. Navy vessels through the Taiwan Strait, Carter said he could not speak for the U.S. government but thought it was done because of the disruption of stability in the region.
It may have been an appropriate response to something inappropriate, he said.
On economic issues, Carter said the U.S. needs to develop a playbook for dealing with China and not to continue pretending that China is just a big friend economically.
The fact that China is a communist dictatorship means that it is capable of bringing to bear instruments and the coordination of military, economic and political power on its economic relations in ways that other countries cannot, he said.
"And that puts our companies and our countries at an inherent disadvantage," Carter added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel