When former U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien visited Taipei earlier this year, he suggested that 1 million AK47-wielding Taiwanese "around every corner” and "in every apartment block” would be an effective deterrent to any Chinese invasion plans.

It didn’t go down well.

"Arming citizens is not the answer,” ran the headline in the Taipei Times, over an op-ed responding to his proposal to make the assault rifle widely available in a territory with one of the world’s lowest crime rates. "Ludicrous and unimaginable” was former President Ma Ying-jeou’s verdict, condemning what he called the island’s "weaponization” and a "tendency to turn Taiwan into a second Ukraine.”