Politics Not a Role in U.S. Military Involvement in Taiwan Relief

The U.S army is going to send helicopters to Taiwan in order to assist the post-typhoon disaster relief effort. It is the first time in 30 years, since the two sides had broken ties, that the U.S. has carried out missions in Taiwan under the name of humanity. The Taiwanese government has stated that this is “a humanitarian aid beyond political concerns.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Henry Chen had expressed that Taiwan would appreciate America providing relief supplies. American heavy-lift helicopters would be operated by American pilots to perform humanitarian aid. He emphasizes that relieving the typhoon disaster is the first priority, which should not be associated with any other political issue.

For this point, the Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Yu-Fang Lin indicated that this post-typhoon aid provided by the U.S. might have set a precedent for future military assistance. If the Taiwan Strait Crisis occurred, the U.S. could probably proceed similar mode to a certain level.

However, Lin emphasizes that there is no need for Taiwan to ratchet up this type of American aid. Otherwise, the good will could evoke protests from China that would lead this aid into a political dispute. Taiwan should treat this issue with extra caution.

Professor Yi Hsin Chen, of the Graduate Institute of American Studies in Tamkang University, expressed that during the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and Clinton, both sent government officials to Taiwan. In replying to the request from Taiwan, the U.S. is dispatching helicopters this time to help focus on disaster relief, leaving politics and economic effects out of it.

Professor Chen said that nothing else should be associated with this humanitarian aid from the U.S., for whom alleviating the catastrophe in Taiwan is the main consideration.

Professor Da Chi Liao, Institute of Political Science in National Sun Yet Sen University (NSYSU), has said that America is prioritizing international aid and human rights by providing relief supplies and helicopters to Taiwan. It is a normal and positive development.

“If we have to interpret what this aid means in politics,” she added, “it can be seen as a successful result of applying the flexible diplomacy by the current Ma administration, compared to former president Chen. It is more helpful to solve the dilemma of Taiwan.”

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