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July 28, 2017

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Looking after those who contributed to our defense

As the U.S. is engaged in a national row over the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for a soldier who may very well have been a deserter, Taiwan has some lessons that it can take to heart over demonstrating commitment to people who have taken risks in its undercover engagements in the interests of the nation.

Bowe Bergdahl, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, was released in exchange for five former top commanders of the Taliban. The circumstances of his custody are murky and are being investigated, including possible desertion and even collaboration with the enemy. The Obama administration is coming under fire for not telling Congress 30 days in advance of the deal. Also, the trade-off is being deemed as too great in light of the dangerous nature of the five.

Despite the Obama administration's various openings for criticism, Taiwan should reflect on the sacrifices of people who have served in its quest for national survival.

While the Legislature has been setting out some conditions about looking at consular visiting rights for Taiwanese imprisoned on the mainland — not called "consular" to respect Beijing's sensitivities, of course — the more specific issue of dealing over those who fought for our side is a necessary task.

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