British Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks during an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Photo: screen grab from CNN

/ Staff writer, with CNA

The UK is determined to work with its allies to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday, a pledge that drew expressions of gratitude from Taipei.

"What I've been clear about is that all of our allies need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that is very, very important," Truss said in a CNN interview, when asked whether the UK was willing to match the US' pledge last week to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack by China.

Truss said her government was working with its G7 allies, including the US, Japan and Canada, to reduce “strategic dependency” on China and to ensure they have a “common response” to the threat of Beijing's military aggression.

“We need to learn the lessons from Ukraine,” she said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of the nation.

"The fact is, the free world didn't do enough to counter Russian aggression early enough and Putin was emboldened to start this appalling war, and we can't see that situation happen in other parts of the world," Truss said.

CNN host Jake Tapper raised the Taiwan situation with Truss after US President Joe Biden the previous Sunday in a television interview said that US forces would defend Taiwan "if in fact there was an unprecedented attack."

Asked about Truss' remarks, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou said that Taiwan is grateful to Truss for her pledge, and for continuing to stand with Taiwan.

When the prime minister was British secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs she also expressed support for Taiwan on several occasions, Ou said.

In a speech in April, Truss called on NATO to be ready to tackle global threats by working with Japan and Australia to ensure order in the Pacific.

“We must ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves,” she said in the speech.

When US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a controversial visit to Taiwan last month, Truss said it was “well within her rights as speaker of Congress to visit the island's capital, Taipei.”

The issue most worth considering was China's military drills held around Taiwan in response to the visit, Truss said.

Ou yesterday said that Taiwan would continue working closely with the UK and other like-minded nations to jointly “resist authoritarian expansion and aggression,” and to safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES