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本文刊載於中時新聞網> 言論 2021年08月17日 08:31
方恩格 Ross Feingold／顧問、美國律師、前美國共和黨亞太區主席
Why Taiwan Needs to Accept Afghan Refugees
By Ross Darrell Feingold Former Asia Chairman Republicans Abroad
Amid rapidly unfolding events in Kabul here in Taiwan people are likely to compare the events to the rapid evacuation of US personnel from Saigon in 1975 and what it means for the United States’ commitment to Taiwan’s security. This discussion is sure to occur in the coming days and months both in Taiwan and among “Taiwan watchers” outside Taiwan.
More immediately the need to process the many Afghanis who worked with the United States and other countries and fearing for their safety must evacuate Afghanistan creates an opportunity for Taiwan to prove that it can help the United States and international community in a time of need.
Taiwan can immediately offer to temporarily (though not permanently) host Afghani refugees pending their relocation to other countries and there are several reasons why Taiwan should do this. The cost to do this is minimal but the benefit to Taiwan might be great.
For starters the United States needs the assistance at the current time. Following recent COVID-19 vaccine donations by the United Sates to Taiwan the timing is ideal for a significant reciprocal gesture by Taiwan that goes beyond press releases statements on social media videos or offering cash.
Secondly Taiwan has recent similar experience assisting refugees. In 2018 Taiwan entered into an agreement with Australia in 2017 to provide medical care to refugees caught by Australia trying to illegally enter the country who are held in detention centers on Nauru. Due to the conditions in which the refugees are held on Nauru Taiwan’s participation in this program attracted negative international media attention. Taiwan can reverse some of this damage by allowing Afghan refugees to temporarily stay in Taiwan.
Third in recent years the Taiwan government has made efforts to market Taiwan as a destination for Muslim tourists from Malaysia Indonesia and the middle east. By assisting Afghan refugees Taiwan can demonstrate to the Muslim world that Taiwan sincerely seeks to be a friend and not just a tourist destination. Doing this now is especially timely after the recent incident in which foreign minister Joseph Wu’s interview with a Kuwaiti publication was subsequently removed from its website under pressure from China. Taiwan can show that it has moved on from this incident involving a Muslim country.
Fourth the recent visit to China of a Taliban delegation and comments by Wang Yi indicate that China plans for a “business as usual” response to a new Taliban-led government. Unlike other countries that in recent days evacuated diplomats and remaining military personnel along with the evacuation of Afghan nationals who assisted these countries China’s diplomats and companies will remain in Afghanistan. Taiwan does not need to worry about the effect hosting Afghans refugees could have on bilateral relations with the new Afghan government because neither the new government nor Taiwan seek a bilateral relationship.
Finally and perhaps most importantly in the event of a military conflict between China and Taiwan there will be political leaders and other persons from Taiwan who might similarly seek safety elsewhere. Obviously it is impossible to evacuate 23 million people from Taiwan. However if prior to or during a prolonged conflict between China and Taiwan certain persons need to relocate the international community will remember Taiwan’s efforts to assist others under similar circumstances.