“China is not to be trusted,” former American Institute in Taiwan director Stephen Young said in Taipei yesterday, using Beijing’s dealings with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as an example.
Young made the remark at a forum in Taipei on Taiwan-US relations hosted by the Taiwan Thinktank and the Washington-based Global Taiwan Institute.
Despite China’s promise of a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong for 50 years under the “one country, two systems” formula, the situation in Hong Kong over the past six months suggests a gradual collapse of autonomy, said Young, who served as US consul general to Hong Kong from 2010 to 2013.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Taiwan has an option, “unfortunately, Hong Kong has not,” he said, in reference to China’s “one country, two systems” model.
What happened in Hong Kong is a lesson for all that China is not to be trusted, he said, adding that Taiwanese could learn from the Hong Kong situation, despite China trying to convince them to feel easy about unifcation.
The US must stand on the side of democratic Taiwan as China seeks to marginalize it internationally, he said.
Meanwhile, in a keynote speech at the forum, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that the government would soon officially apply to join the US border preclearance system, to expedite entry for its citizens into the US.
The two countries have already exchanged letters of intent regarding a One-Stop Security arrangement, which recognizes security screening at Taoyuan International Airport so that checked luggage originating from there could be transferred to connecting flights in the US without having to be screened again, Lin said.
Taiwan is hoping to expand the arrangement to hand luggage before 2022, Lin said.
The US has approved Taiwan to join the preclearance system “in principle,” and as soon as it provides the details of how to proceed, the government would make the application, he said.
According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), preclearance is the “strategic stationing of CBP law enforcement personnel overseas to inspect travelers prior to boarding US-bound flights.”
The operation is meant to streamline border procedures, reduce congestion at US ports of entry and facilitate travel between preclearance locations and US ports unequipped to handle international travelers, according to the CBP.
The CBP has more than 600 law enforcement officers and agriculture specialists stationed at 15 preclearance airports in six countries, namely the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Aruba, a Caribbean constituent of the Netherlands.
Taiwan is part of the US Visa Waiver and Global Entry program, which allows for expedited entry into the US.
RULES TIGHTENED: Passengers arriving from Sydney and Los Angeles tested positive for COVID-19, while passengers arriving from Seattle all tested negative Seventeen of the 217 passengers who arrived on long-haul at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning tested positive for COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the positivity rate was higher than expected. Yesterday was the first day that the government enforced stricter health guidelines for the testing of passengers arriving on long-haul flights. They must undergo a polymerase chain reaction test immediately after arriving at the nation’s international airports. Those who test positive are sent directly to hospitals to avoid spreading the virus to people working in and around the airports and at quarantine hotels. Victor Wang (王必勝),
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
‘CHAOS’: Victor Wang, the CECC’s on-site commander at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, said testing of arrivals has sped up in time to meet holiday demand For now, people are not banned from eating and drinking on trains, despite the rise in locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. “On Sunday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that the nation would remain on a level 2 COVID-19 alert until at least Jan. 24. So we will follow the center’s disease prevention guidelines for passengers on public transport systems,” Wang said. However, bus and train depots have been asked to disinfect facilities more frequently, he said. The center’s new