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  • Premier defends president's CNN remarks ( from Central News Agency )
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Taipei, May 2 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou has shown his determination to and confidence in defending the Republic of China by telling CNN that Taiwan will never ask Americans to fight for the country, Premier We Den-yih said Sunday.

Arriving at a ceremony to mark Mother's Day, which falls on May 9, Wu made the comment to defend Ma's remarks, and asked how anyone could expect the head of the state to say anything other than he did.

"Would anyone expect him to say that Taiwan looks forward to protection from any other state?" he asked rhetorically.

"The president has expressed our determination and confidence in creating our wellbeing and ensuring our security, " Wu said, adding that no-one should be critical of Ma's remarks or try to show them in a bad light.

In the CNN interview, conducted entirely in English via video conferencing and broadcast April 30, Ma, speaking from his office in Taipei, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that "we will continue to reduce the risks so that we will purchase arms from the United States, but we will never ask the Americans to fight for Taiwan. This is something that is very, very clear." Hsiao Bi-khim, director of the International Affairs Department of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, accused Ma Sunday of undermining national security by eliminating the vagueness Washington has deliberately maintained on how it would respond to a possible Chinese attack against Taiwan.

She claimed that Ma has caused irreversible damage to Taiwan by deliberately creating a parting of the ways with the United States, and has restricted Taiwan's association with the international community by branding the country's disputes with China as bilateral rather than international issues.

Lo Chih-chiang, a spokesman for the president, said Hsiao should have commented on the interview as a whole rather than just cherry-picking the parts that suited her arguments.

Lo noted that "President Ma made the remarks after the presenter asked him three times to the effect of is it worth it for the Americans to go to war on behalf of Taiwan? Why should the Americans risk so much on behalf of Taiwan?" "Facing these serious questions, the president had to demonstrate Taiwan's strong determination to defend itself, and to point out for the sake of the country's dignity that Taiwan does not rely on the United States for its security, or expect Americans to shed blood for it. This determination is what the United States has always concerned itself about," said Lo.

"The president's statement not only maintained Taiwan's dignity, but also dispelled the concerns of the U.S. people and government, " he went on.

In addition, Lo pointed out, the president did not shut up the door for military cooperation with the United States, including arms purchases from the United States to strengthen Taiwan's defense, and in fact did much more than the preceding administration in this regard.

The best way to avoid war is to reduce the conflicts between Taiwan and China, and the risk of war across the strait in the last two years has dipped to the lowest point in six decades owing to the joint efforts of Taiwan and China -- a development that meets the expectations and serves the interests of the United States, Lo said. (By Lee Ming-chung, Garfie Li and Maubo Chang) ENDITEM/J
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