NATO Must Ensure ‘Democracies Like Taiwan’ Can Defend Themselves: UK Foreign Secretary

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
April 28, 2022 Updated: April 28, 2022

Democracies such as Taiwan must be able to defend themselves, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Wednesday as she called for a “reboot” of the free world’s approach to global security.

In a keynote speech at the Easter Banquet in the City of London, the British foreign secretary said the post-war global order “has failed Ukraine,” and that the free world needs a new approach that’s based on “military strength, economic security, and deeper global alliances” to usher in a “new era of peace, security, and prosperity.”

She said free nations are “doubling down” on their support of Ukraine’s self-defence capabilities and its recovery after the war, and stressed the war “has to be a catalyst for wider change.”

She also said the West has taken “progress for granted” in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and that the post-Cold War assumption that economic integration would drive political change has failed.

“We must reboot, recast, and remodel our approach,” she said, painting a vision of “a world where free nations are assertive and in the ascendant.”

‘Global NATO’ for ‘Global Threats’

On military strength, Truss quoted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in saying, “Freedom must be better armed than tyranny.”

The British foreign secretary called for a “global NATO” with “a global outlook,” and that is “ready to tackle global threats.”

Truss said the alliance needs to “preempt threats in the Indo–Pacific,” and “must ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves.”

She also called for more defence spending, saying spending 2 percent of GDP on defence “must be a floor, not a ceiling,” referring to NATO countries’ baseline spending commitments.

“There is no substitute for hard military power, backed by intelligence and diplomacy,” she said.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it warmly welcomed the comment, and would continue deepening its cooperation with Britain and other like-minded partners to jointly ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

TAIWAN Air Force
A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) H-6 bomber flies on a mission near the median line in the Taiwan Strait, which serves as an unofficial buffer between China and Taiwan, on Sept. 18, 2020. (Taiwan Ministry of National Defense/via Reuters)

China ‘Must Play by the Rules’

The free world also needs to “recognise the growing role that the economy plays in security,” Truss said.

The foreign secretary said moves to isolate Russia from the world economy in response to its invasion of Ukraine proved that market access to democratic countries was no longer a given.

“Countries must play by the rules. And that includes China,” Truss warned.

She said the Chinese communist regime has not only “not condemned Russian aggression or its war crimes,” but increased the country’s imports from Russia.

“They have sought to coerce Lithuania. They are commenting on who should or shouldn’t be a member of NATO. And they are rapidly building a military capable of projecting power deep into areas of European strategic interest,” she added.

China’s economic and military rise over the past 40 years is considered to be one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War.

Epoch Times Photo
G-7 Foreign and Development Ministers pose for a group photo in Liverpool, England, on Dec. 12, 2021. (Olivier Douliery/Pool via AP)

But Truss said its further rise was not inevitable.

“They will not continue to rise if they do not play by the rules. China needs trade with the G-7 [Group of Seven]. We represent around half of the global economy. And we have choices,” she said.

“We have shown with Russia the kind of choices that we’re prepared to make when international rules are violated.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said China should persuade Russia to help end the war in Ukraine, or face a loss of standing in the world.

Beijing has said it firmly opposes linking the Ukraine war to its relations with Moscow and that it will defend the rights of Chinese individuals and companies.

Network of Liberty

Declaring “geopolitics is back,” Truss said the UK will seek to weave a “network of liberty” across the globe.

“In a world where malign actors are trying to undermine multilateral institutions, we know that bilateral and plurilateral groups will play a greater role,” she said.

Truss said the UK rejects “the old ideas of hierarchical systems, exclusive groups, and spheres of influence,” and wants to see a global network that is “standing up for sovereignty and self-determination, and building shared prosperity.”

Truss suggested the G-7 “should act as an economic NATO.”

She also said the UK will support democratic alliances and dialogue—regardless of whether the UK is a part of it.

The foreign secretary commended “the 141 countries, from all continents, who voted to condemn Russia’s actions” in the United Nations, offering to forge deeper economic bonds.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.