United Daily News: Watch out, three long-time allies gone

2018/08/22 16:21:47 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

To many people in Taiwan, El Salvador is a distant and unfamiliar country. In fact, it has maintained official ties with our country for 85 years before severing them Tuesday.

Panama, which broke ties with Taiwan in June last year, had been the Republic of China's diplomatic ally for 107 years. Dominican Republic, which cut ties with Taiwan last May, had maintained them for 77 years.

China chose Tuesday to announce its establishment of ties with El Salvador, probably to give President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) an embarrassing "welcome home" from an overseas visit during which her government pitched "unprecedented" treatment in the United States for the application of its Taiwan Travel Act for the first time for a Taiwanese leader.

It poached Panama last year as a warning to Taiwan over its trial of the so-called Chinese spies. By taking away Dominican Republic in May, Beijing was clearly responding to Premier Lai Ching-te's (賴清德) statement that he is a pragmatic "political worker for Taiwan independence."

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government led by Tsai and Lai has been pushing a "transitional justice" agenda that includes educating our young to understand Chinese history in the East Asian context as a means of cutting Taiwan's historical ties with China.

Based on the DPP's Taiwan independence ideology, the Tsai administration would not cherish the allies that had formed official ties with the Republic of China -- which inherited the Panama ties from the Qing Dynasty in 1912. The DPP might even think these old allies are "historical baggage" that should be cast aside.

While Taiwanese people are disgusted by China's strong-arm poaching of Taiwan's allies, we must point out that we are a small country that needs to take a smart, flexible and pragmatic approach to balancing cross-Taiwan Strait and overseas relations in order for this and coming generations to have a broader future.

And while some in the DPP might be relishing the possibility of invoking voters' anti-China sentiments in the year-end local government elections, may we remind all Taiwanese that in less than six months after Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) took over as foreign minister, Taiwan has lost three long-time diplomatic allies.

If we can't keep "old friends" like these, how can we expect to keep other, younger ones? Are we indeed willing to lose all of our diplomatic allies because we have a president who does not believe in the Republic of China and a premier who has repeatedly touted "Taiwan independence?" (Editorial abstract -- Aug. 22, 2018)

(By S.C. Chang)
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