China's Afghanistan propaganda 'shameful': ex-U.S. ambassador to U.N.

08/31/2021 02:44 PM
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Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft speaks via a video link during the Ketagalan Forum -- 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue. Image from the Prospect Foundation
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft speaks via a video link during the Ketagalan Forum -- 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue. Image from the Prospect Foundation's Facebook page

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) Kelly Craft, former United States' ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday that it was "shameful" for Beijing to use the recent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan to suggest that Taiwan will face a similar fate.

Speaking at the Ketagalan Forum ‒ 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue, Craft said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been exploiting the deaths of U.S. servicemen and women and Afghan citizens to cast doubt on the U.S.' commitment to Taiwan.

"Shame on them. Shame on them for using the lives of brave men and women as propaganda," Craft said at the forum, held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

Citing a recent editorial by the CCP-run media outlet Global Times that lumped Afghanistan with Taiwan, Craft said the analogy was wrong.

According to the article, the U.S. will not get itself involved in a war across the Taiwan Strait because "such a war would mean unthinkable costs for the U.S., in front of which the so-called special importance of Taiwan is nothing but wishful thinking of the Democratic Progressive Party authorities and secessionist forces on the island."

Craft responded: "I am here to assure you that they are wrong. I am here to assure you of my belief in the firm U.S. commitment to Taiwan's defense."

Craft, the last U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration, said the U.S. cannot afford to cede Taiwan's fate to Communist China, stressing the important role Taiwan plays in the Pacific along with the U.S. in many ways against China's threat.

"If Taiwan is lost, we lose too," she said.

Also speaking at the forum, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Taiwan would like to advance its cooperation with other countries in Indo-Pacific.

"Taiwan is committed to working with regional actors to ensure regional stability," Tsai said.

On the issue of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, both Tsai and Craft agreed that Taiwan could play a more active role.

Tsai said that with the revival of Quad ‒ a partnership between the U.S., Japan, Australia and India ‒ Taiwan is well positioned to serve as an indispensable partner on democratic renewal and in sectors such as biotechnology, renewable energy, and semiconductors.

Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the existence of Quad helps Taiwan as well.

"(Quad) helps Taiwan because it complicates Chinese planning about how they would manage escalation in the event of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait," Green said.

Quad also introduces an opportunity for Taiwan, giving it new thoughts about how the new counterbalancing against Chinese hegemony in the Indo-Pacific by like-minded countries with Taiwan could be harnessed and analyzed for Taiwan's own security, he said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)

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