More than 80 percent of respondents to an online CNN poll said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should resign over the administration’s delays in assisting victims of Typhoon Morakot.
Ma, who ruled out resignation during an interview with CNN on Sunday, said that his government did its best to deal with the aftermath of Morakot. Although he said during the interview that he would take full responsibility for the blunders and mistakes made during rescue efforts, he defined “taking all responsibility” as finding out what was wrong with the rescue system, correcting the problems and disciplining officials in charge.
In CNN’s Quickvote yesterday, 82 percent of voters said yes to the question: “Should Taiwan’s leader stand down over delays in aiding typhoon victims?”
Only 18 percent voted no.
Desperate for damage control after extensive media coverage of his administration’s alleged poor performance, Ma will hold two press conferences today with the local press corps and foreign correspondents.
His administration has come under fire since the typhoon began lashing Taiwan on Aug. 7, dropping more than a year’s rainfall in three days and triggering the most serious flooding and mudslides the nation has seen in 50 years.
Ma called a national security meeting on Friday and activated the national security mechanism, but declined to take charge of the rescue operation, saying the onus lay with the executive branch.
Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that Ma would speak briefly on the government’s relief efforts before opening the floor to questions at today’s press conferences.
When asked whether Ma would apologize again today, Wang said it was possible.
Bowing to public anger, Ma apologized on Saturday for the slow pace of rescue efforts, but he blamed the weather and road conditions for hampering rescue efforts. He also said on Sunday that he would shoulder all responsibility for the shortcomings in his government’s response to the disaster, but pledged to punish officials responsible.
Amid calls for a Cabinet reshuffle, Wang yesterday said that “somebody will be held responsible,” but it would have to wait until the investigation concludes.
Wang said because the government’s first priority was disaster relief, there was no timetable for the investigation and disciplinary measures.
Regarding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ rejection of foreign aid, Wang said the Presidential Office, National Security Council and Executive Yuan did not know about the ministry’s memo before it was sent out to embassies and representative offices as a “routine affair.”
“It is a question of judgment,” Wang said.
Wang also said on Saturday that the nation would not file a request to join the UN this year as the deadline for filing such a request was Aug. 15. Wang, however, said that the administration’s determination to “return” to the UN remained unchanged, but that it would adopt a more “flexible” approach.
“The Republic of China is an independent sovereignty. We are a peace-loving nation and a founding member of the UN,” he said. “We lost the UN seat in 1971, but we have been making efforts to return to the body and that resolve has never changed.”
IF THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: The US secretary of state warned that a disruption to the supply of Taiwanese semiconductors would play havoc with the global economy If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world. Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression. Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758
MORE ARRIVALS ALLOWED: Taiwan yesterday increased its cap on arrivals to 60,000 from 50,000 ahead of a full border opening with a weekly cap of 150,000 on Oct. 13 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from Oct. 13 would no longer be required to quarantine on arrival and visitors of all nationalities would be allowed to enter, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday. However, the number of arrivals would be capped at 150,000 per week, he added. Travelers aged two or older would be given four rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits on arrival and be asked to monitor their health for seven days, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Under the new arrival protocol, travelers would have to take a test on the day of arrival or the day after, followed
The UK is determined to work with its allies to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday, a pledge that drew expressions of gratitude from Taipei. “What I’ve been clear about is that all of our allies need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that is very, very important,” Truss said in a CNN interview, when asked whether the UK was willing to match the US’ pledge last week to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack by China. Truss said her government was working with its G7 allies,