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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
The Painful Lessons From Vaccine Hesitancy
Thursday, September 23, 2021
The Painful Lessons From Vaccine Hesitancy

Ann Hsieh Ching-fan, adjunct instructor of journalism and mass communications at International College of Ming Chuan University, in The Storm Media (July 25, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Executive Yuan)

The Painful Lessons From Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccines are the best weapon against Covid-19. Despite their availability in many countries, there are still some who are reluctant or refuse to get vaccinated. In Taiwan, where the pandemic has claimed over 700 lives, there are many lessons to learn from "vaccine hesitancy”.

While there are vocal groups who are reluctant to take the vaccine all over the world, the polling company YouGov found that vaccine hesitancy has dropped in recent months. According to The Economist, there are two reasons for the decline: the speed of the vaccination rollout and the severity of the outbreak. First, when the pace of immunization picks up, many sceptics are more likely to change their attitude. Second, when the number of deaths from Covid-19 increases sharply, people’s fear of the virus is likely to outweigh their concern about vaccines. The latter is the situation Taiwan is in.

At the start of the outbreak in mid-May 2021, there were just 12 Covid-19-linked deaths in Taiwan. At this time, society’s willingness to vaccinate was not high: the vaccination rate was still less than 1 percent with around 66 percent of respondents in a survey stating that they did not want to be vaccinated. Yet, by early June, this percentage had fallen to 27 percent. The extent of hesitation has therefore fallen much faster than in France, Singapore, Hong Kong or the United States. As of late July, the death toll had climbed to nearly 800.

Others should learn from Taiwan’s mistake. The prerequisite for minimizing vaccine hesitation is to prepare adequate vaccines and distribute them early. Compared with Europe and the US, vaccine delivery in Taiwan has been both slow and delayed. Even if the society’s willingness to receive vaccines has risen sharply, the painful price has already been paid.


Urgently Address The Ultra-Low Birth Rate
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Urgently Address The Ultra-Low Birth Rate

Xu Chengwei, Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University, in Lianhe Zaobao (March 15, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: cattan2011)

Urgently Address The Ultra-Low Birth Rate

According to the World Bank, Singapore’s birth rate has declined over the past 30 years and now stands at 1.1, far below that of the population replacement rate of 2.1. There are many reasons for this, which have to do with all aspects of our social environment and work culture. If Singapore’s birth rate is to be increase, scholars and policymakers should discuss the real difficulties faced by families with children and assess the root causes of the reluctance to raise kids.

The following issues should be addressed to encourage young people to have children:

First, the government should continue to subsidize families with children. Although the state already provides generous childcare allowances, there is still room for improvement when compared to other countries such as Canada. Policymakers should conduct detailed household surveys to assess better the childcare burden of the average family.

Second, the government should evaluate and improve existing childcare facilities. Examples of measures include establishing passenger compartments for women on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system and encouraging workplaces to offer maternity rooms with refrigerators for milk storage.

Third, the government should evaluate whether to extend maternity leave, while giving fathers longer paternity leave. Current leave allowances for fathers are low and prevent them from supporting the mother at critical times. In addition, wages during maternity leave should be shared by the company and the government.

Finally, there should be a new holiday and sick leave allowance for maternity check-ups. At present, pregnant women can only use their ordinary sick leave (around 14 days).

Failing to address the declining birth rate will have profound negative impact on Singapore’s economy, society and culture.


Time To Move On From Martial Law?
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Time To Move On From Martial Law?

John Leo C Algo, climate advocate and environment researcher, in Rappler (September 21, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Time To Move On From Martial Law?

Nearly five decades have passed since then-president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. While he claimed this was done to suppress civil unrest and communist threats, it became glaringly obvious that he simply took advantage of the chaos to create a dictatorship that plundered this nation for the next 14 years.

The impact of martial law was so devastating that we are still feeling the consequences today. By the time Marcos was kicked out, the economy was in bad shape from the corruption and heavy borrowing from other countries. Poverty rates drastically increased, the value of the peso went down, and the country's reputation crashed. Truth be told, all of us are still paying for the trillions worth of debt today.

No matter how hard the Marcoses try to make us forget, we remember that thousands were killed or tortured during this time. Their human rights were undoubtedly violated, their families suffered. The dictator's family does not even have the decency to apologize and admit to the crimes.

Nevertheless, arguably the most important fallout from the martial law era is our newfound appreciation of freedom. The restoration of democracy in 1986 gave hope for Filipinos to reverse the wrongs of Marcos, his family, and his cronies, and finally place our country on the right path.

Current President Rodrigo Duterte is implementing the Covid version of martial law right now. Lockdowns, military personnel in places where they should not be, extrajudicial killings, the economy in recession, his cronies getting rich too fast to be hidden.

The fallout from martial law is an issue of national significance. This means that we all are stakeholders, and we have the right to resolve this for good. There is no neutral anymore. Moving on is not an option, not until justice is served.


The Death Penalty Should Not Be Abolished
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
The Death Penalty Should Not Be Abolished

Ang Peng Cheoh, self-employed employment agent, in Lianhe Zaobao (July 22, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: chillipadi)

The Death Penalty Should Not Be Abolished

The government has twice in the past three years canvassed the public's views on the death penalty. This has made some worry about whether the authorities are considering its abolition.

The death penalty debate has a long history. Human rights organizations that oppose the death penalty often argue that there is no evidence that it reduces the crime rate. Meanwhile, the Catholic church opposes that death penalty because it deprives people of their sacred life and dignity. While these arguments may appear reasonable, they only uphold the human rights and the entitlement of the perpetrators. Meanwhile, they fail to consider justice for the victims and their families.

Serious crimes punishable by the death penalty in Singapore include murder, drug trafficking, and the use of arms and firearms. This has led to significant decrease in crime each year. In 2012, Singapore amended its relevant mandatory death penalty law. This allowed judges to use their discretion in cases. For instance, drug traffickers who provided information that led to the arrest of drug lords would not have to face capital punishment.

This amendment sends the wrong signal to potential criminals. Those who commit serious crimes should be sentenced to death in accordance with the law. Empowering judges to consider mitigating circumstances should only be permitted to do so in cases that do not involve the death penalty. There should be no gray areas, no room for discretion, in the prosecution and sentencing of cases in which conviction would require capital punishment.

Singapore’s long-term security and low crime rate are a result of its strict laws and the insistence that law enforcement and judicial personnel handle cases in accordance with the law. Not only should the death penalty be maintained but it also needs to be consistently enforced to deter and reduce crime.


Vaccination Should Not Be Privatized
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Vaccination Should Not Be Privatized

Zheng Yu (郑禺), freelance writer, in Oriental Daily News (June 29, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

(Photo credit: YuriAbas / Shutterstock.com)

Vaccination Should Not Be Privatized

A government official revealed that Covid-19 vaccines would soon be available privately, allowing the public to pay and get shots faster. There are many problems associated with the commercialization of vaccinations. Immunization should be regarded as a project for which the government is solely responsible because of the simple fact that it is related to public health. Malaysia’s inefficient vaccine rollout has led to a slow uptake rate. While privatization may speed up the process, free-market policies may cause even bigger problems.

In India, for example, some are defrauding others by selling fake vaccines. As early as three months after the vaccine was released, law enforcement agencies began to discover the production and distribution of counterfeits. Even if government supervision is in place to guarantee there are no such products, there are still other concerns. In Japan, there have been cases of normal saline accidently being used to dilute the vaccine. As a result, the relevant authorities had to check antibody responses of all those who had been vaccinated to determine who did not get the proper vaccine.

It is important to remember that humans are not machines that strictly obey orders and it is inevitable that mistakes will occur during vaccination. Fortunately, under the existing mechanism, there is government supervision, and mistakes can be tracked. This would not necessarily be the case with private companies, however. Should something go wrong with a company’s service, it would very likely harm the business if any mistake were revealed. Private firms would, therefore, be more likely to conceal such accidents.

Ultimately, private companies are profit driven. Some companies may secretly cut corners to save expenses, or they may try to conceal incidents to maintain their reputation. It is much safer for vaccinations to be supervised by the government.


Two Ideas, Two Nations: Looking Back After 75 Years of Independence
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Two Ideas, Two Nations: Looking Back After 75 Years of Independence

Jug Suraiya, columnist, in The Times of India (September 9, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Two Ideas, Two Nations: Looking Back After 75 Years of Independence

As it celebrates its 75th birthday, India looks over its shoulder to get a glimpse of the road taken, and the one not taken. At the time of independence, there were two visionaries to guide the infant nation as it took its first steps on the path of freedom. One was Jawaharlal Nehru, and the other was Mohandas Gandhi.

They had very different personalities and two very different ideas of India. Nehru sought to imbue his country with a scientific temper, a nation whose temples were factories and dams. Gandhi envisaged a village India in which each rural community was a republic unto itself, bound together by the centripetal motion of the spinning wheel.

As prime minister, Nehru had political authority, Gandhi moral suasion. Nehru’s idea of a centralized, urbanized India which gave priority to higher learning as embodied by our Indian Institutes of Technology prevailed at the expense of primary education and grassroots development which would have released the country from the bonds of illiteracy and rural backwardness.

What if the two Indias could somehow have merged? The household of my early childhood was a microcosm which reflected these two ideas. My father was cast in the Nehruvian mold of vigorous discipline and modernism. He never wore Western clothes but had trained himself to speak perfect English; he was a vocal advocate of family planning, far ahead of his time. My mother came from village India and brought with her a lifetime habit of frugality, an affinity with the downtrodden, and an impish irreverence towards pomposity. So you could say I had the best of two Indias. And yet I have regret. For what? That the pupil didn’t have it in him to learn all that he might have from his two mentors.


Disrupted Promises: Thinking About President Jokowi’s Legacy
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Disrupted Promises: Thinking About President Jokowi’s Legacy

Yanuar Nugroho, Co-Founder and Advisor, Centre for Innovation Policy and Governance, and deputy chief of staff to the president of the Republic of Indonesia from 2015 to 2019, in Kompas (September 15, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: uyeah)

Disrupted Promises: Thinking About President Jokowi’s Legacy

What should be the priorities in the remaining months of the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin administration?

Jokowi has been seen as working hard to fulfill his promises. Focusing on tackling poverty and inequality, his first administration devoted significant resources to human, village and infrastructure development programs. In his second term, the president presented five goals: economic transformation, continuing infrastructure development, developing human resources, bureaucratic reform, and simplifying licensing. In addition, there are the plans to move the capital to East Kalimantan and prepare a long-term development plan. All of this is aimed at strengthening the foundation for realizing the dream of 2045 when Indonesia will become the world’s fourth or fifth largest economy.

But then Covid-19 hit. The achievements of development that had been achieved were shattered. And the ability to fulfill the promises have also been affected – infrastructure may be stalled but still relatively on track. It could be that what once appeared to be the government's hesitation to prioritize health over the economy at the start of the pandemic actually reflected its trepidation that these promises could not be realized. Because, after all, the fulfillment of political promises is the key to gaining people's trust.

Therefore, the government must ensure that all these promises are attained or at least a roadmap to achieve them prepared. This must be done now, and in a more effective way. It cannot be business as usual. the promise of the five visions must be emphasized as the key target.

The true legacy is not the memories of the past that remain after death, but the provision for stepping into the future. Jokowi's best legacy through all his hard work must be the foundation for his successors to make this nation not only more advanced, but also more civilized and dignified.


The Prime Minister Failed to Show Courtesy When Resigning
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
The Prime Minister Failed to Show Courtesy When Resigning

Koga Ko, senior writer, in The Mainichi (September 9, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: UN DGC)

The Prime Minister Failed to Show Courtesy When Resigning

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide announced he would not run in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election, effectively resigning. He has become a "someone of the past" fairly quickly.

The new LDP leader will not be elected until September 29, and the official selection of the next prime minister is not going to happen until early October. This means that this "someone of the past" will remain head of the executive branch of the Japanese government for another month. In other words, the present power vacuum will continue for that long as well.

The premier's resignation was anticlimactic. Suga has not even held a news conference to address the people. He said the reason for his resignation was that he would not be able to balance tackling Covid-19 and the LDP leadership election campaign because they would "require an immense amount of energy".

What? Surely his command for "one million vaccine shots a day" as well as his piecemeal declarations of states of emergency and their extensions were calculated to pave the way for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which would ultimately help him get re-elected as LDP president. Using the pandemic as an excuse just because his plan failed makes him a sore loser.

If he knew that a power vacuum that would start the moment he stated he would not seek to continue in office, he could have asked to bring forward the party election date. What will happen if we are struck by a major earthquake tomorrow? It is the outgoing prime minister's job to shorten the leadership vacuum.

Two successive Japanese prime ministers have been defeated by the pandemic. And in both cases, we did not see the kind of courtesy associated with those in such a position when they leave.


With the Taliban, Remember the Consequences of Recognizing Communist China in 1949
Monday, September 6, 2021
With the Taliban, Remember the Consequences of Recognizing Communist China in 1949

Ameya Pratap Singh, postgraduate student in area studies at Oxford University and managing editor of Statecraft, an independent daily on global affairs, in The Indian Express (September 1, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Ministry of External Affairs of India)

With the Taliban, Remember the Consequences of Recognizing Communist China in 1949

Should the Indian government provide diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government in Afghanistan? Or should it refuse to do so on grounds of its violent overthrow of the previous Afghan government and the unreserved use of terrorism?

One line of thought is that the Taliban is in control and so recognition must logically flow from that. Consideration of values should not cloud New Delhi’s judgement. India has significant interests at stake such as cross-border terrorism and the drug trade that may be harmed by delayed recognition or non-recognition. Refusing to recognize the Taliban may strengthen the hand of its regional rivals – Pakistan and China – leading intensification of national security threats on its northern frontier.

India adopted this line of reasoning in 1949 with communist China and failed. The Jawaharlal Nehru government felt compelled to provide early recognition to the communists despite close ties with the previous Kuomintang government during the interwar period.

Did early recognition change anything in communist China’s policy? No. Communist China continued to be suspicious of India’s intentions in Tibet and the bourgeois nature of its regime and elites. Moreover, India’s early recognition gave Mao Zedong confidence in his plans to annex Tibet through force in 1950. Goodwill proved to be an ineffective tool of deterrence. The lesson is clear: In the absence of compelling shared interests, building mere goodwill through early recognition provides no returns. Does India have any such compelling shared interests with the Taliban?

With its rhetorical efforts to appear “moderate”, the Taliban has not demonstrated sincerity, but rather a reluctant acceptance that legitimacy on the global stage is a social good that cannot be achieved through force. New Delhi must engage the Taliban but in a manner that uses their need for recognition to draw concrete concessions in areas of key interest.


The US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Signals Rush Into A World of Disorder
Monday, September 6, 2021
The US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Signals Rush Into A World of Disorder

Alex Magno, political scientist and professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, in The Philippine Star (August 31, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: @AfghanUpdates on Twitter)

The US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Signals Rush Into A World of Disorder

Two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population is aged 25 and under. This large demographic segment has no memory of the last time the Taliban was in power. They grew up in the relative freedom of US occupation.

A Taliban spokesman shortly after the capture of Kabul tried to assuage the world by saying the new rulers will respect the rights of women within the framework of Sharia law. What that meant was never clear. Few believed the Taliban promise.

All the world’s powers and all the international organizations can only watch in horror as the Taliban begins exercising its gory power over an unwilling society. This is, after all, a movement driven by a primitive ideology trying to drag the rest of society back to the Stone Age.

All the secular powers of the world enjoy no leverage over a mindless movement such as the Taliban. But the Taliban, too, holds no leverage against the secular powers of the modern world. This situation will be harmful to the Afghan people most of all. Cut off from the rest of humanity, they cannot access humanitarian help.

To top it all, most of the world’s countries are busy fighting the pandemic. They have every excuse to ignore the plight of Afghans trying to survive a fanatical regime. Most of the countries around Afghanistan have closed off their frontiers, mainly to discourage a flood of migrants they could not possibly sustain.

The revival of US unilateralism and isolationism will imply huge costs for the rest of humanity. Unfortunately for the Afghans and the other countries threatened with terrorism, no other power is willing to step into the abandoned US role. Enough talk of a values-based global order. We are rushing headlong, not into a multipolar world, but into a basically ungoverned international (dis)order.


US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Harmful To East Asia Security
Monday, September 6, 2021
US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Harmful To East Asia Security

Yang Xiyu, senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, in Global Times (August 11, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Republic of Korea Navy)

US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Harmful To East Asia Security

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, easing of relations between North and South Korea, and public sentiment in South Korea, many people expected that joint US-South Korea military exercises would be postponed or even cancelled. The fact that they have proceeded on schedule demonstrates the influence of the US. It also reveals that the essential nature of the military exercises is indispensable in the US toolbox against North Korea.

The US has expressed its position more than once, stating that all options for its North Korea policy remain on the table. In this sense, the US-South Korea military exercises on the Korean Peninsula have always had a special political angle unique to its specific geopolitical environment.

China clearly opposes such military exercises because it has become a major obstacle to the settlement of the peninsula issue. This kind of institutionalized “military exercise” is not for the sake of peace and stability on the peninsula, or even for the security of South Korea. Instead, it only makes the North and the South sink deeper into their security dilemma, which can only be resolved by enhancing mutual trust between North and South.

Moreover, behind the US’s insistence on holding the military exercises, there are hidden plans to expand the US-South Korea alliance or include it in its so-called "regional security pillar". As such, the interactions between the US and South Korea, including joint military exercises, are harmful to the security of the whole of East Asia.


The Return of the Taliban: Outsiders Must Show Patience
Monday, September 6, 2021
The Return of the Taliban: Outsiders Must Show Patience

Riaz Mohammad Khan, foreign secretary of Pakistan from 2005 to 2008, in Dawn (September 4, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Talk Media News Photo Archives)

The Return of the Taliban: Outsiders Must Show Patience

The Afghan Taliban leadership faces huge challenges, internal and external adversaries, internal dissensions and divisions, riled-up human rights and liberal groups, powerful hostile lobbies and media – especially in the West – and the need for international recognition. But first and foremost, they have to put together an effective government with a semblance of the promised inclusiveness and reconciliation. They will need space to settle down.

Outsiders must show patience. The Afghan leadership, in particular the Taliban leaders, have the primary responsibility of averting a civil war. Their neighbors and the world community must do everything they can to help achieve that objective. The world community must be generous with humanitarian assistance to prevent further aggravation of the suffering of the Afghan people. Pakistan should also brace itself for a possible influx of refugees.

There is room for optimism in the current maelstrom of the worldwide discussion on Afghanistan. Arguably, a stable Afghanistan will remove a blockage and open up the entire surrounding region for economic activity. Much has already been said about opportunities, communications, trade and energy links and economic activity. Regional countries have a role and capacity, but all this will boil down to idle talk if there is an absence of purposeful engagement, or regional rivalries are reasserted for political influence or resources, and conflict returns to Afghanistan.

Among the neighbors, in a range of unique but familiar factors, Pakistan has an important role to play. It will require both circumspection and prudence to enable itself and Afghanistan to be sovereign co-partners for the benefit of the region. Past experience validates concerns regarding spoilers, but the new environment may well help mitigate the potential for mischief. Meanwhile, Pakistani policymakers need to be cautious about pushing the new Afghan government over bilateral issues.


Unite Against The Elite Who Prey On The People's Money
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Unite Against The Elite Who Prey On The People's Money

Darwin Darmawan, doctoral student in political science at the University of Indonesia, in Kompas (August 24, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Mohammad Rizky ramadhan)

Unite Against The Elite Who Prey On The People's Money

Corruption in Indonesia is very concerning. The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 issued by Transparency International ranks Indonesia at 102nd out of 180 countries. This makes Indonesia a highly corrupt country. Over the past decade, Indonesia's CPI has only improved by five points. This means that efforts to eradicate corruption are far from effective.

Corruption is so very shameful. The elite predators of public money exist in almost all the political parties. Some are public officials. Those who are supposed to be role models have become perpetrators of violations. The punishment for corruption is relatively light, with some still receiving reduced sanctions. What a shame!

But why is it difficult for this country to get rid of corruption? What strategies need to be taken to succeed in its eradication? According to Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, the leader of a coalition for a clean parliament in Romania, before any anti-corruption program is carried out, it is necessary to determine whether the corruption that occurs is part of the culture or a deviation from it.

Indeed, we need to determine whether we dealing with corruption in a traditional society or in a democracy? In the first case, corruption is related to the culture of privilege, that certain social elites are naturally accorded benefits because of their status. In the second kind, corruption is seen as a violation of the law. Cultural and religious factors are indeed dominant in the practice of corruption in Indonesia. The culture of corruption is not visible. But it is lived by the people of Indonesia. Like the "devil within", it is evil and hated – yet it drives human corruption. It all works through a culture of prestige. This culture encourages people to want to exist through material possessions. And that inevitably leads to corruption.


The Anti-Discrimination Law is Much Overdue
Monday, August 23, 2021
The Anti-Discrimination Law is Much Overdue

Kim Hyung-tae, educationalist, in Pressian (June 26, 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Screenshot from Yonhap on YouTube)

The Anti-Discrimination Law is Much Overdue

It always seems to take a tragedy to set the legislative wheels in motion. This time, it was Byun Hee-so, 23, who was forcefully discharged from the army for undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Her death has sparked action on an Anti-Discrimination Bill. Much overdue, this legislation forbids discrimination based on attributes such as gender, disability, age, language and sexual orientation. It was first introduced in the National Assembly in 2007 but has repeatedly failed to pass.

Conservative and religious organizations are using the same extreme tactics that they used when he Seoul Ordinance of Students Rights was under discussion a decade ago. They warned that passing the law would lead to the proliferation of homosexuality, AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. They spammed legislators with messages and caused scenes. The ordinance was passed but it is sad that, ten years later, it still is the country’s most progressive legislation.

One would hope that the changing generations in national politics will lead to more support to do the right thing. Those who oppose the Anti-Discrimination Bill should reconsider their previous stand against the Ordinance of Student Rights and what was the actual result. What they predicted would happen on Seoul campuses did not take place. In any case, in line with Christian teaching, discrimination should not be tolerated. It is time to take our national consciousness to the next level and not let outdated ideas hinder progress.


Despite Provocations, The One-China Principle Will Only Become Stronger
Monday, August 23, 2021
Despite Provocations, The One-China Principle Will Only Become Stronger

Xie Nan, associate researcher at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Global Times (August 2, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Chad J McNeeley/US Department of Defense)

Despite Provocations, The One-China Principle Will Only Become Stronger

In a move to provoke China, the US House of Representatives passed a spending bill that forbids the use of any funds to create, procure or display maps that depict Taiwan as part of China. Similar provocations include the American TV network NBC showing an incomplete map of China during the Olympics opening ceremony.

Many believed that President Joe Biden would work to ease the tense Sino-American relationship, and that Washington’s Taiwan-related policies would be revised. It is now clear, however, that little has changed and that these petty US provocations on Taiwan matters are in line with the overall strategy of putting pressure on China.

The US State Department Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell stated that the US did not support Taiwan independence. Washington is skilled at sending signals through petty provocations to suggest that the relationship between Taiwan and the US will continue to be strengthened. This allows the separatist forces on Taiwan to continue to dream of independence.

Some Taiwan voices have pointed out that the Biden administration’s China policy has simply focused on managing crises and avoiding conflicts. The US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated in Singapore that he did not want conflict with China and "is committed to establishing a constructive and stable relationship". Meanwhile, he has repeatedly claimed that he will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense.

Taiwan has paid tens of billions of dollars in "protection fees" to Washington for the purchase of military equipment. Yet, there is still no defense guarantee or even a "Taiwan-US economic and trade cooperation agreement" to show for it.

While these petty provocations at most create some noise, they cannot shake the mainland's dominance in the development of cross-strait relations. The one-China principle will only become stronger internationally and will not be shaken.