Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview: Wolfowitz praises Taiwan’s democratic legacy

Former US deputy secretary of defense and current US-Taiwan Business Council chairman Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, sat down with me in Taipei on Saturday night to discuss US arms sales, the future of Taiwan and cross-strait relations

Taipei Times (TT): What brings you to Taiwan this time around?

Paul Wolfowitz (PW): Every year or so, we [the US-Taiwan Business Council] get out here to meet officials and get a reading of the state of things. With the political competition as intense as it is, we felt it would be interesting to get a feel for that.

I’d like to come back in January and actually see what the election is like. If you think about it, this [will be] only the fifth democratic election in Chinese history. It’s still not something to take for granted and I think what’s happening here is important for China.

It’s commonly said in American policy discourse that Taiwan is an obstacle in US-China relations — and I know what this means — but I think it’s wrong not to recognize this as an opportunity. One of the things that struck me is how many people I met in the last few days who said the Chinese tourists who come here spend a lot of time in their hotel rooms watching Taiwanese talk shows. The fact that this can happen is a relatively good thing.

One has to give a little bit of credit to the regime on the mainland, which I am not known for giving enormous amount of credit to, for they’re willing to let this happen by the millions. I do think there is recognition that there has to be change to their system over time. The long-term trend is that developments here can be educational to China.

My Q&A with Wolfowitz, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. This article does not include other topics discussed during the hour-long interview, such as revolution in the Arab world and the invasion of Iraq. Wendell Minnick of Defense News will have a report on the same interview on the DN Web site later today.


Michael Fagan said...

"This article does not include other topics..."

Would I be right to infer that those other topics might see the light of day in Wendell Minnick's piece?

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

You probably would, Mike. Wendell's article should be up on the Defense News Web site in the next couple of days.