Conviction and courage

READER’S VIEWS - The Freeman

“If ever the Chinese militarily attack Taiwan I will bring my wife and children to safety and then grab a gun and fight. We do not want to be governed by mainland China because we want to keep our freedom. Freedom in Red China is totally reduced. There are big differences in language and values,” said Taiwanese fisherman Jiang of Matsu Archipelago, located with swimming distance from mainland China.

Lin Ming commander of Taiwanese Coast Guard said: “This year we registered 4,000 sand-digging and -hauling ships, five times more than in 2019. They steal sand for construction on the mainland. We can only catch a few and force them to discharge back the sand to our beach.”

Joseph Wu, Taiwanese Foreign Minister asserts: “We will fight the war if we need to fight the war...We will defend ourselves to the very last day.”

Palau President Surangel Whipps has defeated a pro-China candidate in the 2020 presidential elections. He relates during a visit to Taiwan’s capital Taipei: “During election campaign they (Chinese) called me: What you are doing is illegal. Recognizing Taiwan is illegal. You must stop it. ...I replied: We are a democratic country. We have a right to choose what we believe is right. We believe in freedom and democracy. Our approach is different from yours. – They still continue ringing my phone almost daily. I do not reply.”

Palau is an island nation just 900 kilometers east of Mindanao. It consists of about 50 islands and islets and has 21,000 inhabitants. A defense treaty with the United States of America came into force on October 1, 1994, the date of Palau’s independence after five decades of US administration. The nation recognized Taiwan in 1999.

Fifteen nations recognize Taiwan: Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Vatican, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vicente and Grenadines, Swaziland, Tuvalu, and Paraguay.

Taiwan has praised India for helping Paraguay with vaccines after China pressured the South American nation to switch ties from Taiwan to China. India gave last month 100,000 doses of vaccines and will send another shipment soon. Taiwan is urging other like-minded nations including Japan, the UK, and the US to help Paraguay coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s vaccine diplomacy angers the Paraguayans. They reject China’s meddling in their internal affairs.

Despite Beijing’s insisting on its One-China Policy, 57 United Nations members maintain relations with Taipei on an unofficial basis.

The Czech Republic has newly sent diplomats to Taiwan: Minister of Foreign Affairs Milos Vystrcil led a senate delegation to Taipei on August 31, 2020. He delivered a speech in Taiwan’s parliament and met President Tsai Ing-wen. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was furious: Czech Republic will pay a heavy price.

France, Germany, Slovac Republic, among others reacted to Yi’s bullying: European public opinion is turning against China on the whole.

Now compare this conviction and courage with Philippine’s meek approach in view of Chinese occupation of our Exclusive Economic Zone.

Erich Wannemacher

Lapu-Lapu City

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