The Ukraine war has aroused the determination of the Taiwanese people to defend themselves, and the sentiment has increased significantly in a short time.
Technology entrepreneur Schee Tzu-han told the Wall Street Journal that the civil defense topic has reached “tsunami levels,” saying over 200 people had contacted him for a physical training consultation. Due to growing demand, he is also preparing for the fourth civil defense meetup this month.
Schee said, “Everyone is aware of what’s happening in Ukraine.”
“Ukraine Today, Taiwan Tomorrow!” This statement has been circulated in the Taiwanese media, as Newsweek reported.
A day after Russia attacked Ukraine, scores of people packed into Kuma Academy, a recently founded charity offering civil defense education. They spent two and a half hours on the war’s lessons for Taiwan.
Ho Cheng-hui, one of Kuma Academy’s co-founders, said: “There’s been an impression in the past about Taiwanese being unwilling to fight and only relying on the U.S. troops for help. That’s not right. Taiwanese people are willing to defend themselves.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the psychological impact of the war in Ukraine has hit hard in Taiwan. Like Ukraine, the country lives under a cloud of conflict with a vastly more powerful authoritarian neighbor.
Yeh Yao-yuan, a lecturer from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, told the newspaper that Ukrainian defense against Russian troops had left the Taiwanese wondering if Taiwan could “show a stronger attitude to China” if it faced the same resistance.
In January, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen set up a Ukraine working group under the National Security Council to watch developments and the possible impact on Taiwan’s security.
In the meeting of Taiwan’s National Security Council in late January, President Tsai said, “Taiwan has faced military threats and intimidation from China for a long time. Therefore, we empathize with Ukraine’s situation, and we also support the efforts of all parties to maintain regional security.”
The situation in Ukraine is gathering even more attention on Taiwan’s ability to defend itself. Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told lawmakers this week that the Ukraine war had spurred the island to strengthen its combat-readiness training.
While there are no indications that China plans to launch an invasion of Taiwan in the near future, Beijing has raised tensions by ratcheting up displays of military might around the island. In response to tightening ties between Washington and Taipei, China’s People’s Liberation Army has sent jet fighters and bomber aircraft on sorties near Taiwan’s airspace nearly daily over the past two years.