It is impossible to compare Taiwan with Afghanistan, academics said yesterday in response to claims that the US’ withdrawal proves that Taiwan cannot rely on US military assistance.
Nearly two decades after the US took control of Kabul, the Taliban on Sunday swiftly retook control of the Afghan capital, prompting the nation’s president to flee.
Critics have been quick to compare the situation to the fall of Saigon after the withdrawal of US troops during the Vietnam War, with some suggesting that the US’ track record bodes poorly for Taiwan’s chances in the event of an invasion by China.
“Taiwan is not Afghanistan,” former National Defense University distinguished lecturer Holmes Liao (廖宏祥) said.
The Afghan government is extremely corrupt, while Taiwan enjoys a stable democracy, he said.
Additionally, Taiwan’s defense strategy is based on a standard island military defense, as opposed to the domestic strife and guerrilla warfare that typify the conflicts in Afghanistan and previously Vietnam, he said, calling the two “entirely different.”
The hidden problems facing Taiwan are the belief in a “great Chinese nation,” defeatism and unprofessionalism within all ranks of the military leadership, Liao said.
The US, Japan, South Korea, the EU and G7 nations all support maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait in recognition of the nation’s strategic placement within the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan East Turkestan Association president Ho Chao-tung (何朝棟) said.
Considering China’s considerable global influence, using Afghanistan to claim that Taipei cannot rely on the US is an erroneous comparison, he added.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) yesterday condemned some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians for using the Afghanistan example to warn Taiwan about the dangers of relying on the US.
“Some are saying it should serve as a warning to Taiwan not to get too close to the US, and even use it as a taunt about China mounting a military invasion of Taiwan,” Chen wrote on Facebook. “Has the KMT not learned its lesson after being deceived by the Chinese Communist Party so many times? Or maybe it is a case of KMT politicians manifesting their suffering as ‘Stockholm syndrome’ victims?”
The parallel comparison does not work; US troops are not stationed in Taiwan, so there is no US military to withdraw, Cheng said.
“Taiwan has our own military for national defense, while we collaborate with other militaries and procure arms from the US and other allied countries,” he said.
In response to media queries for comment, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said: “The events in Afghanistan are connected to the geopolitics of the Middle East.”
“In a geopolitical context, Taiwan is situated at the forefront of an alliance of democratic countries, with peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait also being in the best interest of countries in the region, which Taiwan can contribute to,” he said.
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
SCENIC TRAIN TOURS: TRA Director-General Du Wei said experts on aesthetics and railway culture have worked for 10 months to restore the blue locomotive Breezy Blue, the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) tourism train, is to be launched on the South Link Line on Saturday. The railway operator spent about 10 months restoring the blue diesel-powered train, which first provided service to students and commuters before being outsourced to Lion Travel, which organizes railway tour packages. TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微) told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Pingtung County’s Fangliao Township (枋寮) that the agency hopes that the restored Breezy Blue would provide an authentic experience to railway fans as well as those with fond memories of riding the blue trains to work or