The withdrawal of United States troops led to the rapid collapse of Afghanistan's government. Various critics in Taiwan questioned the reliability of American commitments. President Joe Biden reiterated U.S. commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
United Daily News)
Afghanistan Changes Hands Overnight, U.S. Reassures Security Commitment to Taiwan
Comprehensive Report by
The withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan resulted in the abrupt collapse of Afghanistan’s government and has prompted a debate in Taiwan about the credibility of the U.S. commitments. President Joe Biden defended the American decision in a televised national speech on August 16. Mr. Biden emphasized that American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. In a televised interview on August 18, President Biden reassured that the United States would honor its collective defense commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and “every commitment” the United States made to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
In the same speech on August 16 Biden maintained that the U.S. military had completed counterterrorism mission and the endless deployment of forces was not in the U.S. national interests. President Biden imputed the swift takeover of the Taliban to the situation that “Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country and the Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. The developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now is the right decision.” President Biden asked how many more American lives should be sacrificed, and whether it is worth it. He would rather take all the criticism than pass this decision on to the next president.
According to Su Chi, former secretary-general of the National Security Council, the Taiwanese people must be vigilant: The United States may come to the rescue and love you very much. It may also shed tears but say "I'm sorry" in the end.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
"Afghanistan Today, Taiwan Tomorrow?"
Su Chi: U.S. May Love You For Now, But May Say Sorry At the End
The Storm Media, August 22, 2021
The political developments in Afghanistan has led to concerns about U.S.-Taiwan relations. Su Chi, former secretary-general of the National Security Council, stated that Taiwanese people must be vigilant. Americans may come to your rescue, may love you very much, may even shed tears for you. But regrettably, an apology is all that may truly come at the end.
Su Chi said in an online program that American actions in Afghanistan were embarrassing and exposed many internal problems. The issues were not President Joe Biden’s responsibility alone, but rather resulted from flaws across the entire structure: the National Security Council, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, and Department of State.
President Tsai Ing-wen responded to discussions about "Afghanistan today, Taiwan tomorrow" after a few days of silence, saying that the only option for Taiwan is to protect itself and not rely upon others for protection.
Wake Up from Fabricated U.S. Illusion
United Daily News Editorial
, August 20, 2021
The United States withdrawal has resulted in the sudden change in the situation in Afghanistan, triggering many to discuss the possibility of “Afghanistan today, Taiwan tomorrow.” President Tsai Ing-wen remained silent for several days before speaking at a central standing committee meeting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DDP), claiming that Taiwan’s only option is to self-protect, become stronger, more united, and not rely solely on the protection of others. However, in the meantime, the DDP spokesperson condemned the opposition party for advocating the theory that the United States will abandon Taiwan. From the DDP’s current attitude, we cannot see any sign of introspection or intention to unite the country.
With Afghanistan’s government falling into the hands of Taliban once again, the whole world has been heavily impacted psychologically. President Joe Biden’s reputation also suffered a great setback as a result. In Taiwan, the people are particularly impressed by this change of situation. In recent years, the Tsai administration has become a pawn for Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden on the “anti-China” front. During the anti-extradition period in Hong Kong, President Tsai was able to operate a “sense of national doom” and succeed in her reelection smoothly. The Tsai administration has always built an impression that Taiwan has the strong support and protection of the United States, which is the biggest backing for those who are anti-China. Yet, as people watch United States abandon Afghanistan so hastily, it is inevitable that they worry whether Taiwan might suffer the same fate.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that the maximum capacity will be relaxed to 80 indoors and 300 outdoors, and partitions will be exempted for dining with cohabiting relatives and friends. However, local governments expressed concerns that the new regulations will be difficult to implement.
United Daily News)
August 16: Minister Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), announced that Taiwan's United Biomedical (UBI) vaccine did not pass the review for emergency use authorization (EUA) because its neutralizing antibody data did not meet the audit standards compared to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
UBI stated in the evening to express its regret and that it would lodge an administrative complaint.
August 17: Primary and secondary schools will begin classes on September 1, and the Ministry of Education issued guidelines for reopening. School staff must have received the first dose of vaccine, and after 14 days, test negative before they can enter the school. Students must wear masks throughout class and use partitions or maintain social distancing when eating indoors. Physical education classes with physical contact or music classes using wind instruments should be suspended or adjusted.
Legislator Kao Hung-an indicated in a press conference, however, that due to insufficient vaccines, more than 30,000 instructors and staff members employed below the high school level remain unvaccinated.
August 19: The opposition parties questioned that the administrative cost of the government's printing the five-time stimulus vouchers would exceed NT$2.25 billion (about US$80 million) for last year's three-time vouchers and argued that issuing vouchers is not as good as handing out cash. Spokesman Lo Ping-cheng of the Executive Yuan rebutted that printing cash also costs money, and the cost is not necessarily lower than that of issuing stimulus vouchers. Legislator Fei Hung-tai, who leads the Kuomintang (KMT) caucus of the Legislative Yuan, criticized that paper money may be reused, but five-time stimulus vouchers may only be used once. The Executive Yuan's response is resorting to sophistry.
August 20: In early August, Former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-pin and former Minister of Health Yang Chih-liang requested that the court to suspend the Medigine vaccine’s EUA. The Taipei High Administrative Court held that the two were not eligible parties and denied their request on August 20. The decision may be appealed.
Taiwan's Medigen vaccine received EUA in July and is expected to provide 614,000 doses available for registration August 16 and inoculation August 23. President Tsai Ing-wen received her Medigen vaccine on 7:30 AM on August 23.
Due to lackluster interest, the government opened up appointments three times, making them available to everyone above the age of 20.
August 20: The Justices of the Constitutional Court, Judicial Yuan, issued Interpretation No. 807, holding that Article 49, Section 1 of the Labor Standards Act, which provides that employers may not ask female workers to work from 10 PM to 6 AM the next morning, is unconstitutional and shall become invalid with immediate effect. Although the law is meant to protect labor rights, it restricts women's freedom and right to choose to work at night, violating gender equality.
August 20: The Mingba Kelu Bridge on Nanheng Highway in Taoyuan District, Kaohsiung, was destroyed by earth and falling rocks on August 7. More than 400 tribal residents were trapped for nearly two weeks. The highway unit urgently opened the section from Nanheng to Taitung that had been closed for 12 years on August 20. Residents can finally leave the mountain to buy supplies, and supplies from downtown may be delivered to the local area to meet urgent needs.
August 21: The Coast Guard Administration, Ocean Affairs Council, on August 19 seized off the coast of Tainan a fishing boat which smuggled 154 rare breed cats. The Council of Agriculture euthanized all the cats in accordance with the regulations on the afternoon of August 21. President Tsai, widely known to be a cat lover, posted on Facebook late on August 21 to express her sadness and distress. She also promised to amend the law. Tens of thousands of Internet users left comments, triggering serious debate.
August 21 is the international day for stray animals. In the morning, Vice President William Lai even posted on Facebook, urging everyone to love and never give up stray animals. Bad news unexpectedly came out in the afternoon. Many cat owners were angry and left comments on President Tsai's Facebook page. Minister Chen Chih-chung of the Council of Agriculture, the competent authority, responded late in the evening that it was really a measure of last result.
The smuggled cats include puppet cats, Russian blue cats, American shorthair cats, British shorthair cats and are valued at more than NT$6 million (about US$214,000).
August 21: The CECC announced that the level 2 epidemic alert will be extended from August 24 to September 6, but the maximum capacity will be relaxed to 80 people indoors and 300 outdoors. In addition, no partitions will be necessary for family and friends living together, and hospitals will be open for visits.
Eight major industries, including karaoke, dance halls, and hospitals will remain closed. Similar venues like amusement parks, electronic game fields, and leisure mahjong halls are to remain closed as well.