Taiwan speaker hails Japan, South Korea and Philippines for 'crescent of defense'
By David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The speaker of Taiwan's parliament praised Japan, South Korea and the Philippines on Tuesday for helping to create a "crescent of defense" with Taiwan and the U.S. against China's ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.
Speaking in Washington, You Si-kun told the Hudson Institute think tank that China's ruling Communist Party (CCP) and leader Xi Jinping saw Taiwan as just a "stepping stone" to global hegemony.
"The CCP wants to see the East rise and the West to decline," You said. "We can say that protecting Taiwan equates to defending both Europe and the United States."
You belongs to Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party, but does not speak for President Tsai Ing-wen.
You praised Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for calling Taiwan a global issue and opposing a change to the status quo by force. He said this had "offset" remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron that a conflict in the Taiwan Strait had nothing to do with Europe.
You said Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr had also said that granting the U.S. access to Philippine military bases was a defensive measure that would be useful if China were to attack Taiwan.
"The crescent of defense formed by Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines will, with American support, be a key stabilizer of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region," he added.
The staunch support democracies have provided Ukraine should act as a deterrent to Xi "to prevent him from taking any reckless action so that he will not become a second Putin," You said.
"To ensure Taiwan's security is to ensure the global public interest," he added. "If we do not take China's threats seriously, a dark future awaits all of mankind."
China has been stepping up its military activities around Taiwan to try and force the democratically governed island to accept Beijing's sovereignty. It has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.
(Editing by Don Durfee and Marguerita Choy)