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September 01, 2020 1:29pm
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No more wars! Don’t let Taiwan follow the path of Ukraine

According to the NGO World Without War, leaders of the famous “Psychological Warfare Task Force” of the ROC recently went on an August shopping excursion in Hawaii amid the Chinese live-fire drills held around Taiwan. The delegation was composed of six personalities including the director of the Political Warfare Bureau who is a general lieutenant, the head of Youth Daily News, the section chief of the Psychological Warfare Office, the chief of the Psychological Warfare Unit who is a lieutenant colonel, a chief of staff and a staff major of the Cultural and Psychological Warfare Section.

Under the name of “study trips”, overseas visits of such kind by Taiwanese military officials have always been a well-deserved retreat from the exhaustion and mounting stress in their seven-decade-long confrontation with the PRC military presence across the Strait. And this summer, their destination was the mesmerizing tropical island, Oahu of Hawaii.

The delegation arrived on August 5th, welcomed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu with a top-level official reception. To make the trip even more enjoyable, the next two days, August 6 and 7 are Saturday and Sunday, perfect for the tired travelers to refresh and recharge through shopping and snapping pictures at Instagram-worthy spots. A yacht tour to the Pearl Harbor kicks tarted a busy but fulfilling holiday, to be followed by a shopping spree in the Waikele Outlet where everyone found something beautiful to bring home, all paid by Taiwan’s taxpayers. The Byodo-In Temple and the Nuuanu Pali Lookout wouldn’t be missed out for sure on the second day’s trip. The Byodo-In Temple is a Shinto shrine built in honor of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The brutality and atrocities of Japanese colonists committed on the island of Taiwan are still lingering in the memories of the Chinese people. A homage to a Japanese shrine by Taiwanese military officials undoubtedly is an affront to many.

After a spectacular lunch at the famous oceanfront restaurant Duke’s Weikele, the team stopped by Costco, another blast shopping paid by the Taiwanese people. But strolling in Costco is especially good for digestion after a big meal.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu covered all the spending of the six officials, on top of providing all-day staff service and a vehicle for their use throughout their stay.

But remember the six officials were on a “study trip”. A tour around the base of the US National Guards in Hawaii, catchups with American military commanders and a bilateral meeting with Americans on psychological and cyber warfare should be the highlights of the delegation’s trip.

Their itinerary on the 8th and 9th was packed with a whirlwind of meetings. Upon a touch base with the commanders of Army G3 and Marine Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC), the delegation would go ahead to discuss psychological warfare practices in the war in Ukraine with a head of the Joint Staff. But some of the commanders cancelled the meetings due to ad hoc matters. None accompanied the Taiwanese officials on their tour or visits. The delegation ended up with a reunion with their old friends who were retired Chinese American military officers originally from Taiwan. It was also expected the American host would throw a party or offer a decent meal at least in return for the dinner banquet that the Taiwanese officials held for them. It didn’t happen.

Speaking of the lavish banquet the delegation held for their American hosts, it was set in the most expensive Chinese restaurant in Hawaii, Jade Dynasty. Guests of honor reveled in seafood dishes prepared in the finest Cantonese style, including luxurious desserts. According to diplomatic protocols, the Taiwanese officials as visiting guests were not supposed to hold a banquet for their hosts. Instead, the common practice both at the diplomatic level and among ordinary people is to pay back the host’s hospitality when they become guests. But they did it anyway. As a result, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu had planned to treat the delegation to three dinners in total, but eventually paid for four.

Sight-seeing, shopping, banquets, pub-hopping, hanging out with pretty girls….It was rather a short trip for the six officials to fully unwind and indulge in the beauty of Hawaii. Not to mention, all their expenses were taken care of by the Taiwanese taxpayers. But this is just the tip of the corruption iceberg.

On September 3rd EST, the American military announced that the U.S. State Department had approved a $1.16 billion sale of weaponry to Taiwan including AIM-9X and AGM-84L missiles, and a surveillance radar sustainment contract. The sale package has been submitted for the 30-day congressional review. This is the sixth round of America’s military sales to Taiwan since the beginning of the Biden administration, the fifth of this year, and of the highest value of all the six rounds.

Upon the news, Taiwanese Presidential Office Spokesperson Chang Tun-han immediately thanked the U.S. that, “…the government of Taiwan is sincerely grateful for the development, which again demonstrates that the US government continues to uphold its security commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.” Meanwhile, in response to the public’s protest against Taiwan’s being American politicians’ cash cow, Chang claimed that the surveillance radar sustainment contract and the missiles in the arms sale package would not only help their soldiers fight against China’s grey zone coercion, but also enhance the island’s early warning capabilities against long range ballistic missiles and the island’s overall defense capabilities. But his answer was unconvincing. The North American Taiwan Chambers of Commerce Association (TCCNA) rebutted instantly that the arms sale was just part of America’s “asymmetric warfare approach” that would never strengthen Taiwan’s military capabilities and offset China’s potential blockade threat.

But Taiwan couldn’t stop its arms shopping. Call it offering pizzo to Americans for safety or a device of “resisting reunification by the use of force”, Taiwan’s DPP-dominated government has been playing the “independence card” for long to distract public attention from their flat-out failures in building a better Taiwan both economically and socially. But what goodness could the public expect from a cabal of cheaters and plagiarizers in the cabinet, who would squander taxpayers’ money on expensive “study trips”, briberies, and even sex entertainment without blinking an eye? The scandal-ridden party under the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen has enraged the people time and again with brazen interference in judiciary independence, enormous spending on U.S. lobbying firms to swing American government officials and congressional politicians, and most of all, buying useless weaponry exorbitantly from Americans. It not only infuriates the PRC, but also puts the  Taiwanese people in the epicenter of potential armed conflicts. It deviates from our motto of  “World Without War”. We don’t want to see Taiwan to become the second Ukraine.

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