Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday said that Southeast Asian nations are “no longer taking Taiwan seriously” due to its diplomatic challenges and poor economy, and urged voters to support the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to prevent the nation’s “downfall.”
Commenting on a Thai visa rule change that requires Taiwanese applicants to provide a financial statement, the KMT presidential candidate said the move suggests that Taiwan is losing status in the eyes of other countries.
The Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei in a statement on Monday last week said that the new rule also applies to British, Chinese and French passport holders, and would be extended to more nations.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
“They look down on us,” Han said at a rally in Taipei. “Southeast Asian countries are no longer taking Taiwan seriously because of its poor economic performance, diplomatic difficulties and domestic problems.”
Although the Thai government has since postponed the implementation of the rule, it should be taken as a sign that Taiwan is “quickly going downhill,” Han said.
The Jan. 11 elections present a life-or-death choice for the Republic of China, he said, adding that the nation would face four years of “misery” if President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party is re-elected.
At a separate rally in Taipei, Han reiterated that neighboring nations no longer consider Taiwan as deserving of their attention.
With the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) expected to expire next year and Taiwan’s entry into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) seeming unlikely, the nation’s future is shrouded in uncertainty, he said.
His wife, Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬), has met with their overseas supporters in Malaysia and Indonesia who told her “in tears” that they were saddened to see Taiwan decline, Han said.
“The world is forgetting Taiwan and Taiwan is forgetting the world,” he said.
Taiwanese TV channels do not broadcast world news, only political talk shows, as they are cheaper to produce and commentators “simply say what they want based on their political leaning,” Han said.
If elected, he would promote English-language education at elementary schools and launch a program to send university students abroad for a year using government funds.
While the program is estimated to cost NT$40 billion to NT$50 billion (US$1.3 billion to US$1.6 billion), Han said he expects the actual cost to be lower, because “entrepreneurs could be deeply moved by the policy and donate” to it.
He would also provide scholarships for 1 percent, or about 3,500, of government employees to study abroad.
The policy would include military personnel, public-school teachers, police, firefighters and public servants aged 45 or younger, Han said, adding that if the program is successful, the quota would be doubled the following year.
“This plan would guarantee that Taiwan becomes completely different in 10 years,” he said, adding that he aims to improve the nation’s economy and “revive its lost glory.”
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South