Taiwan may follow in Afghanistan's footsteps, China warns

Posted on : 2021-08-18 17:19 KST Modified on : 2021-08-18 17:19 KST
Chinese state-run media said that the US will abandon Taiwan just as it did Afghanistan
French and Afghan nationals line up to board a French military transport plane at the Kabul airport on Tuesday. (AFP/Yonhap News)
French and Afghan nationals line up to board a French military transport plane at the Kabul airport on Tuesday. (AFP/Yonhap News)

In the Taliban's chaotic occupation of Kabul, some of the fallout has unexpectedly hit Taiwan. Chinese state-run media said Taiwan needs to learn a lesson from the experience of Afghanistan, while the People's Liberation Army (PLA) carried out a show of force in the Taiwan Strait.

In a Tuesday editorial, the Global Times said that the Taliban's capture of the Afghan capital of Kabul following the US military's withdrawal was reminiscent of the fall of Saigon — now known as Ho Chi Minh City — after the US abandoned its ally of South Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War.

The editorial also compared various countries' hasty evacuation of diplomatic missions after the Taliban reached Kabul to the US' emergency helicopter airlift of citizens after the North Vietnamese entered Saigon in late April 1975.

The Chinese edition of the Global Times said that the US' abandonment of the Afghan government must have come as a major shock to some in Asia and Taiwan in particular. The newspaper said it must have been frightening for the Democratic Progressive Party, which currently is in charge in Taiwan.

The dramatic change of events in Afghanistan following the US military's withdrawal may be an omen of Taiwan's fate, the paper said, arguing that the US will abandon Taiwan, just as it did Afghanistan, in a crisis situation.

In its English edition, the paper noted that some internet users have been talking about "yesterday's Saigon, today's Afghanistan, and tomorrow's Taiwan."

Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, was quoted by the Global Times as saying, "Some observers may see the situation in the island as being different from that in Afghanistan, but there's one thing in common — America's empty promise."

"The US retreat showed that it always puts its own national interests above everything else without taking care of its own allies," the Global Times said, paraphrasing Jin's remarks.

"Naval vessels, antisubmarine patrol planes, and jet fighters carried out exercises to assess joint operational ability in an actual conflict, including target practice using live rounds. The exercises were held in the air and waters southwest and southeast of Taiwan," the spokesperson of the PLA's Eastern Theater Command said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Eastern Theater Command has authority over the Taiwan Strait and China's eastern seaboard, including the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian.

"The US and China have recently been conspiring to carry out a series of provocations while infringing upon Chinese sovereignty and damaging peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. This exercise is a stern response to the meddling of foreign powers and the provocation of groups supporting 'Taiwanese independence,' and the Eastern Theater Command will continue to reinforce its war preparedness through such exercises," The Eastern Theater Command said.

By Jung In-hwan, Beijing correspondent

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

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