In times of trouble, it is easy to see who Taiwan’s true friends are and to determine who really cares about us.
After more than a year of successful prevention work, COVID-19 suddenly began to spread after alleged oversights at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, which accommodated crew from China Airlines during their quarantine.
Although the outbreak in Taiwan is far from as bad as it is in many other countries, most Taiwanese are on edge, and frontline medical personnel and police, who are at high risk of exposure, need immediate vaccine protection.
In this time of trouble, a consensus formed in Japan, from the government to the public, that Taiwan should be given assistance, given that Taiwan helped Japan when that country was in trouble.
Japan knows how to repay a kindness, and it decided without hesitation to support Taiwan with a donation of vaccines.
Japan’s action drew strong criticism from China, and Beijing attempted to block the gift from arriving in Taiwan. Surely the Solomonic wisdom of the Taiwanese would make it abundantly clear to them who their true friends are.
Japan made a point of choosing June 4 to ship the 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The decision to deliver on this date [the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre] appears to be an expression of support for Taiwan, showing Japan’s desire to help provide defense against China.
On the other side of the Pacific, the US quickly followed suit by sending three US senators from the country’s opposing parties to Taipei for a whirlwind visit to announce that the US would donate 750,000 vaccine doses to Taiwan. It chose June 6 for the announcement, the anniversary of the World War II Normandy invasion, a day of great significance to the US.
Taiwanese used to worry that the change of administration in the US might affect Washington’s determination to resist China and protect Taiwan. The US has proven through its actions that, in a mature democracy, national strategy is not determined at the president’s whim, but is based on national interests and consistency.
Significant policies do not change much in the US with the introduction of a new government. The US has shown that one of its most important goals at present is to resist China and protect Taiwan.
As part of the team that announced the US vaccine donation in Taipei, US Senator Tammy Duckworth made this clear when she said: “I’m here to tell you that the United States will not let you stand alone. We will be by your side to make sure the people of Taiwan have what they need to get to the other side of this pandemic and beyond.”
When Taiwan is in trouble, that is the best time to distinguish between enemies and friends. The US and Japan are helping, and it is clear for all to see how China is interfering at every turn.
Taiwan should stand closely by its trusted allies, who are truly comrades. It should not listen to bandits who talk about brotherhood every day, but want to cut off Taiwan’s hands and feet and lay its own hands on Taiwan.
Taiwan’s best national policy is to stand closely with reliable and firm allies. All Taiwanese have the wisdom of King Solomon, and it will make them see that it is the US and Japan that really care for Taiwan.
Tommy Lin is a physician and president of the Formosa Republican Association.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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