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Taiwan Becomes Unexpected Spotlight of Biden's Asia Trip
The United States appears to be playing a two-handed strategy on cross-strait relations. President Joe Biden stated that he would use military force to protect Taiwan, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately reiterated the "One China" policy.
Biden Promises to Militarily Defend Taiwan, Blinken Reiterates U.S. Non-Support of Taiwan Independence
Summary Report byTaiwan Weekly
President Joe Biden of the United States made it clear at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, on May 23 that if China used force, the United States would militarily intervene to defend Taiwan. It was one of the most forceful statements of an American president in support of Taiwan in decades. The White House immediately issued a statement denying the change in Taiwan policy. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reiterated in his speech on May 26 that the “One China” policy remains unchanged, and the United States does not support Taiwan independence.
According to media commentary, exclusion from the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework shows that the United States is only taking advantage of Taiwan, and America's commitment cannot be trusted.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
Is America Still Trustworthy?
China Times, May 20, 2022
President Joe Biden of the United States announced the launch of the "Indo-Pacific Economic Framework" (IPEF) on May 23, and Taiwan was not in the list of the founding participants. Wouldn't this make Taiwan feel dismayed? Is this moment not touted as the best ever in the history of U.S.-Taiwan relations? Moreover, the only dominant leader of IPEF is the United States without China’s constraints, and with more than 250 bipartisan members of Congress having voiced their support for Taiwan’s participation. How could Taiwan swallow such a result? Judging from several recent events, one cannot help wondering if the United States is really trustworthy?
According to media commentary, failed epidemic prevention by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has led to stagnant consumption and a sharp downturn in economic momentum. In the end, the government must resort to public spending to subsidize businesses and workers.
United Daily News)
Incompetent in Epidemic Prevention, Government Resorts to Irresponsible Spending
United Daily News Editorial, May 28, 2022
On May 27, the Executive Yuan announced that the government will invest NT$34.5 billion (about US$1.1 billion) in helping the industries and workers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), a plan from which an estimated 900,000 people will benefit. While Taiwan has continued to emphasize that 99 percent of confirmed cases in the country are mild, and has maintained a second-level alert, the food, tourism, and transportation industries are facing a more severe business impact compared to that during the level-three alert last year. Taiwan has fallen into this languishment and chaos simply because the government made a rash turn in decision-making without ensuring that they were well-equipped with the essential epidemic prevention supplies beforehand. Nowadays, it is actually the people themselves that voluntarily live life as if they were on a Level 4 alert.
Most deaths from the pandemic died quickly within five days of being tested positive. According to Su Yi-jen, former director of the Centers for Disease Control, the phenomenon demonstrates serious problems with both the epidemic prevention and health care systems.
(Photo from: Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology)
May 22: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that while Taiwan has not been included in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the United States is seeking to deepen its economic partnership with Taiwan. He also reiterated U.S. hopes for peace in the Taiwan Strait and concerns about a unilateral change in the status quo.
May 22: The Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students ended. A total of 3,413 test takers need to take a make-up test due to testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the highest number of make-up tests in a year since the pandemic.
May 23: So far this year, a total of 543 have died from the pandemic, with 55 percent dying within five days of testing positive and 9 percent confirmed positive after death. Su Ih-jen, former director of the Centers for Disease Control, stated that the close duration between diagnosis and death shows that both the epidemic prevention system and the health care system are problematic.
May 23: The Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) announced the 10th wave of criminal conviction revocations, including democracy advocates Shih Ming-teh and Lin Yi-hsiung. Now, all 41 defendants in the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident have been rehabilitated.
The TJC, which has operated since October 4, 2018 on an annual budget of NT$150 million (about US$5.1 million) and will be dissolved at the end of May, has rehabilitated a total of 5,983 criminal convictions.
May 26: The Executive Yuan finalized a new wave of relief and stimulus measures with NT$345.6 million (about US$11.7 million) to subsidize the tourism, transportation, and dining industries hurt by the pandemic, as well as workers with reduced shifts. A total of 899,000 are expected to benefit from these measures.
However, the dining industry suggested that the government should provide subsidies based on the size of the restaurant. A uniform subsidy provides little help to larger businesses.
May 26: The Central Epidemic Command Center announced that effective May 26, those with a positive rapid test result confirmed by a physician would be confirmed positive.
Mayor Hou Yu-ih of New Taipei exclaimed that the central government took so long to implement his recommendation.
May 27: The pandemic is impacting private consumption. The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics lowered the expected economic growth rate this year to 3.91 percent, a sharp revision of 0.51 percentage points downward from the 4.42 percent figure in February.
May 28: As of May 28, a total of 10 children died due to the pandemic. Artist Kuo Yen-chun shared on Facebook the perspective of his medical personnel friends that so many children have left like this, which was alleged by Premier Su Tseng-chang to be a false rumor and should be investigated.
Chairman Eric Chu of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) criticized the government for using its cyber-army and state apparatus to pressure an ordinary citizen. He called upon those in public office affiliated with the party to support Kuo and children. Chu stressed that 10 children have died due to the virus and asked if 10 lives are considered few.