Taiwan Votes 2008 (2)

Raj

Ma Ying-jeou has won the Taiwanese presidency by a significant margin. Congratulations to the victor and commiserations to the loser.

I won’t focus on what lies ahead for Taiwan in terms of domestic policy because no one can really predict what will happen – it will be a case of very certain people having enough differing views that someone will be correct. Personally I wouldn’t bet my life on any one thing happening.

I will briefly mention the losing DPP, as it now needs to rebuild and focus more on domestic bread-and-butter issues that people care about. Harping on about UN membership or a candidate’s US green card will not win an election. What the party needs is a partial purge of the traditionalists in the leadership, who have focused too much on Taiwan’s diplomatic future. Some good recommendations can be found on one of the leading political Taiwan blogs out there, though I don’t think the DPP should be too anti-China anywhere unless relations get worse or do not improve much. A weak opposition is bad for any country, so I hope that the DPP can rebuild and challenge the KMT at future elections, rather than have a return to one-party politics and the increase of corruption that would follow.

The main comment I have to make is relations with China. Ma promised, like his competitor, to improve direct links and negotiate with China – though he has said he will not meet with Hu Jintao or discuss unification. There will be a honeymoon period with China, much like the Taiwanese electorate, in which everyone thinks things can only get better. However, I do wonder whether this will be temporary. Although there is concern amongst some people in Taiwan that Ma will “sell out”, I don’t think that he will – unless one sees things very narrowly through utter and official independence for the island. He isn’t in favour of that, but he does want to preserve the island’s de-facto independence simply because neither he nor the KMT trusts the CCP. Some grand promises were made for Hong Kong’s autonomy, yet after over a decade of unification Beijing is still dragging its feet over full democracy for the territory – recent suggested timescales for reform are not certain, nor is there a fixed method for introducing them.

After a while I believe that Beijing may well get frustrated with Ma for not discussing deeper political change. It will also not appreciate continued arms purchases which will be approved more readily by the KMT-controlled legislative now that it also controls the presidency. If China continues the aggressive poaching of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and bullying on the international stage, such as denying Taiwan direct access to the WHO without its permission, it will have no ability to blame everything on Taiwan as the most China-friendly candidate has won the election. This may help Taiwan’s standing in the international community if it is still bullied, though Ma may find he simply becomes demonised by China like many other political leaders and other countries go along with that because it’s easier.

I would be impressed if Ma can win significant diplomatic concessions from China, as at the moment Beijing is still in denial that its approach to Taiwan is the problem (just as is the case with its view on Tibet). The failure of the two UN referenda will not help his negotiating position, as China will see this as a reason not to give up much. However, Ma will have to still push for better international rights if he wants a second term at the next election – “giving in” to Chinese pressure won’t endear him to the electorate. China and Taiwan will only be able to make a long-term solution when China realises it needs to give Taiwan international space and respect its de-facto independence, even if it doesn’t recognise formal independence. Even if “unification” can occur, it will be in name-only with nothing changing in terms of actual control over the island. Taiwan will demand that China not block its attempts to make free-trade pacts with other nations and may even insist on membership of certain international bodies like the WHO and UN.

Beijing needs to tone down the rampant nationalism that permeates Chinese society and find ways to get Taiwan to trust it. The constant Chinese arms build-up will not force Taiwan to unify, and insistence on using the one country, two system method for the future will not workMa has rejected that. A new way of dealing with Taiwan is required, otherwise the chance for heading off formal independence will disappear – much as China’s ability to resolve the Tibetan problem without violence is slipping away.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 78 Comments

Peter Kauffner,

Nope, you are wrong. I do not look forward to a war with Taiwan. But if Taiwan goes anywhere close to nuclear, that’s what will happen.

One week figure was not from CCP but rather Taiwanese Defense department. You should’ve pay closer attention to hearings in the Taiwanese legislative Yuan.

With Ma’s election, there is no need to either.

btw I received an American education, elementary school all the way thru College, so I know not ALL Americans are as idiotic as you are.

I do look forward to the day when our children and grandchildren will kick the ass of yours with impunity.

Cheers.

March 24, 2008 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan

FYI

I am gonna have Nan he Yangrouchuan for lunch

March 24, 2008 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

@Cao Meng De:

I’m already in your head. And I know you enjoy the taste of my meat in your mouth. Don’t get any juice on your shirt.

March 24, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan

The portion so-called meat is small, almost non-existent, I decided it’s not worth the trouble. Sorry bud.

March 24, 2008 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

@sp
“Well, maybe you should be more objective in your analysis”

Sometimes there’s a thin line between crass hypocrisy and high comedy. I decided to laugh when I read this. Thank you.

March 24, 2008 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

sp

Well on the issue of whipping up nationalism in the event of regime crisis, i would still say that occupying the Diaoyutai Islands or some Spratly Islands would be a safer option if they really need it.

Actually that would be very dangerous for many reasons.

First it would damage reconciliation between China and Taiwan for years and hand support back to pro-independence politicians. That might lead to an actual declaration of independence from Taiwan that China would have to deal with. However, in the face of Chinese aggression there would be less international opposition against Taiwan’s actions and more support for it.

Second it would automatically lead to Asian nations around the South China Seas bolstering together against China, lest their claims be next. It would also push Japan further towards military normalisation and help Taiwanese demands for more advanced US weapons.

Third unless China was able to slip large concentrations of troops into the region without alerting other nations, it might actually suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Taiwanese garrisons.

Fourth there would be little actual benefit for Beijing, as Chinese don’t care nearly that much about the islands. Any surge of nationalism would be temporary and do little to quash serious unrest. Unless a push on Taiwan itself was made it would be rather pointless. Indeed there might be even more trouble for the CCP if it was seen to “bottle out” in taking Taiwan.

using Taiwan as a toy to defuse a regime crisis would make the CCP the sinner of the Chinese race

If the CCP had already pissed off enough Chinese that it was facing a domestic political crisis it wouldn’t make a difference!

Don’t you get Chinese politics?

I do get politics, whereas I’m not sure if you do. The NPC’s laws do mean something, even if they only come about because the Executive proposes them. You talked about “decrees” as the Emperor used to make, but the Politburo isn’t an absolute monarch. The CCP might be, but the Politburo is only a part of it. Even the Politburo needs to go through the process of having laws passed.

Sure the President could still order the invasion of Taiwan on a pretext even without the Anti Secession Act, but given its existence it is a clear sign that China does reserve the right to invade whenever it thinks the time is right. That is a serious threat to peace and stability in the region.

March 24, 2008 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

@ Cao Meng De:

Nice try, I know you enjoyed it nice and slow 😉

March 25, 2008 @ 1:07 am | Comment

I’m trying to keep everyone straight on this issue. Forgive me for any errors:

@sp seems a bit hard to please.
@bien has a great sarcastic touch.
@fatbrick is too focused on the money.
@raj missed the sarcasm, but he has some other very good points. Well done!
@Thoth Harris doubts President-elect Ma’s loyalty, without any evidence.
@Brgyags can’t see why we all aren’t desperate to be Chinese, which is sad.
@Amban understands that Taiwan today isn’t the neglected Qing Dynasty Taiwan.
@Peter Kauffner seems to think nuclear weapons are actually useful.
@nanheyangrouchuan doesn’t want anyone to live free, just to die.
@Cao Meng De (et al) needs to look at military capabilities, or read someone who has.
@Michael Thurton may be right about Taiwan’s economy, but only if the global financial system still exists in a few years (days) time.
@Arty knows China never threatened to use nuclear weapons against Taiwan (and, how to back up his arguments with sources). Well done!
@dish has a very clear view of world from China’s perspective. Well done!

Did I get that right?

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

It has always puzzled me why so few people condemn Beijing for threatening Taiwan, and then seem so willing to accept any little nugget Beijing’s tosses out, such as “if you give up your name, sovereignty, national identity and independent foreign policy we will stop threatening you.”

Whatever happened to a quid pro quo negotiation? Beijing isn’t going to get anywhere with Taiwan until and unless it has something of value to offer.

Threatening not to use non-existent military force just won’t cut the cho dofu.

And, I think we all know that China launching a war of aggression and conquest against Taiwan would be (a) unsuccessful; and (b) disastrous for all of East Asia, and most particularly for China itself.

March 25, 2008 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

“@nanheyangrouchuan doesn’t want anyone to live free, just to die.”

That is SOOOOO inaccurate.

March 25, 2008 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

DOR,

China never threatened Taiwan with nukes? Are you, like, for real about this? How about this incident from 1996:

> the mainland’s top arms negotiator at the
> United Nations in Geneva, Sha Zukang…
> said the mainland’s no-first-use policy does
> not apply to Taiwan.
>
> Sha made the statement in an interview for
> the Aug. 12 edition of Newsweek, and Taipei
> authorities interpreted the remark as a
> potentially serious threat to security.
>
> Sha said: “China has committed itself
> unconditionally to a no-first-use policy
> against any state. As far as Taiwan is
> concerned, it is a province of China, not a
> state. So the policy of no first use does not > apply.”

http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=14418&CtNode=118

March 26, 2008 @ 1:26 pm | Comment

Raj, I left a more restrained prediction of the next two years for you on my blog. LOL. I think we’ll see great growth numbers and plenty of concrete splattered across the landscape like so much spackle on a cratered ceiling. It will good for the locals the KMT has starved over the years.

Michael

March 26, 2008 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

JXie, that’s got nothing to do with Taiwan – stay on topic.

Nanhe your comment was deleted for the same reason.

March 26, 2008 @ 5:38 pm | Comment

JXie, just because it was a “real” question doesn’t mean you can ask it whenever Hong Kong is mentioned – the entry isn’t about HK political reform since 1850.

I made a reference to HK and China’s feet-dragging on universal suffrage because that is something Taiwanese are aware of, and it causes many to question how sincere China would be in terms of guarantees made in regards to unification.

If you wish to make a point on China-Taiwan trust or the election, please do so. However, as I said, this is not a thread for discussing HK’s political history.

March 27, 2008 @ 12:56 am | Comment

sp: Criticizing people is ok. But telling them “stop meddling in politics” is wrong, because it is their duty, responsibility and right, no matter what your opinion on him is.

I am not supporting either Li’s. Actually, I don’t much care about what these two says. But I do want people’s rights protected.

March 27, 2008 @ 1:07 am | Comment

sp: Turn on your sacarsm detector.

March 27, 2008 @ 1:10 am | Comment

I am more surprised at the fall of the DPP than the success of Ma. While KMT did more than hold its turf, the fringe green supporters either stayed home or went fishing. The deep-rooted hatred in some of the Green populace is responsible for both the rise and the fall of DPP, Clearly, from its rhetoric to policy, DPP?s vision is blinded by that part of its DNA. To pick itself up again, DPP has to convince people it has something to offer, something other than fanning the age-old hatred. Stop fighting the phantom enemy. KMT is not what it once was. So, move on.

>It will good for the locals the KMT has starved over the years.

Mistaken self-deprivation as self-determination, and the governing body is not responsible?

March 27, 2008 @ 6:19 am | Comment

Ah, the first responses.

To quote,

@Thoth:
Without nukes, China can easily absorb whatever the Taiwanese military throws at it. China must be burned to ensure Taiwan’s survival.
China does need to exist, Taiwan can carry a more pure Chinese culture into the future.
Posted by: nanheyangrouchuan at March 24, 2008 01:14 AM

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

@Peter Kauffner,

[CND, 08/06/96] A Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman told Taipei’s official
Central News Agency (CNA) that the U.S. magazine Newsweek’s report on
Beijing’s top arms negotiator SHA Zukang’s remarks was inaccurate, AFP
reported. “We have not changed our policy … and what [Sha] said about
no-first-use to any area actually answered [Newsweek’s] question on
Beijing’s nuclear arms policy toward Taiwan,” the spokesman was quoted as
saying.

Taipei’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) reacted frostily to a Newsweek
report, calling Sha’s remarks highly “inappropriate” and “chilling.”

Last Sunday’s edition of Newsweek included the following alleged statement
by SHA Zukang: “Taiwan was a province of China, not a state. So the policy
of no-first-use (of nuclear weapons) does not apply.” (Yuan LIU, Daluo JIA)

– – –

Interesting to see that he is now United Nations Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs!

.

March 27, 2008 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

>It will good for the locals the KMT has starved over the years.

Mistaken self-deprivation as self-determination, and the governing body is not responsible?

Yando, the KMT IS the governing body, in the legislature, which it has controlled for the last 60 years. Although the economy has suffered from offshoring production and the transition to a knowledge economy, several years ago the KMT committed to a program of reducing infrastructure outlays. The goal was apparently to squeeze the locals, then make them blame the DPP. It was an outstanding strategy, worked to perfection. Incomes fell all over the island, whose political economy depended on flows of cash into local patronage networks. It did have some positive effects — like lower government debt and lower inflation.

You might also ask yourself why, if the economy is so awful, the KMT-controlled legislature never passed a stimulus package. The answer is simple….

I too was surprised by the magnitude of the KMT victory. I’m awaiting more detailed voting pattern breakdowns from the CEC before I figure out what happened.

Michael

March 27, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

Snap poll!

A. How many believe the US accidentally sent nuclear weapons triggers to Taiwan, and no one on Taiwan even opened the box?

B. How many believe it was deliberate and yet not official US policy?

C. How many believe it was deliberate and done with full knowledge of the appropriate US policymaking level?

March 28, 2008 @ 10:02 am | Comment

A. How many believe the US accidentally sent nuclear weapons triggers to Taiwan, and no one on Taiwan even opened the box?

Me. If you knew how bad the logistics command was here, you’d consider it a miracle only 18 months passed before anyone noticed. 🙂

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.

Michael

March 28, 2008 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

@Raj

Honestly, your analysis is rather self-contradicting. On one hand, you said that under with internal chaos, CCP leaders would be rational in their decisions when you said, “If the CCP had already pissed off enough Chinese that it was facing a domestic political crisis it wouldn’t make a difference!” The next moment, you talked about the possible backlash if CCP invades Spratly or Diaoyutai or strikes at Japan, as if the CCP can be irrational on Taiwan but would be rational in dealing with Japan et al. I am not convinced by your argument for you failed to establish what sort of benefits, tangible ones, that the CCP would get should it attack Taiwan without provocation.

And the idea that autocratic regimes has a likelihood to use external conflict to divert attention is a bit problematic. We have seen that a Soviet Union in crisis, instead of launching into an aggressive war to bring the rest of the world down with it, it in fact retreated, from both Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. I am no fan of totalitarian regimes, but i just find the idea that Taiwan would DEFINITELY be used in ANY EVENT as a diversion of attention is a bit too far-fetched without valid substantiation.

And what’s the difference between the CCP regime and a dynastic regime? Accept for the part where the son inherits the father’s throne, the whole political culture remains the same. It’s top-down, it doesn’t believe in checks and balances nor accountability and it centralises power in the hands of a few. Tell me if there is any significant difference between the imperial court’s powers vis-a-vis the powers of the Politburo, maybe there is a little more diffusion of power but the political process remains more or less the same. Process of law is just a merely going through motions. If the principle of communist rule is democratic centralism where once decisions are made, it must be obeyed and executed without questioning, what is the big difference between democratic centralism and an Emperor’s edicts? NPC legislative sessions are purely non-events since they only serve to rubber-stamp the Politburo’s decisions.

For me, the Anti-Secession Act is merely a gesture of the CCP leaders to show their nationalist resolve in the public limelight. They have to show it because they were afraid that Chen Shui-Bian may their One-China principle a bluff and proceed to declare de jure independence, which will corner them into a limited range of options. So to pre-empt it, they must appear tough and non-compromising. But when it comes to the real showdown, they are afraid and that’s why they need the Act to prevent the scenario where they become a victim of their own slogans.

I am not interested in voyeurism of Party meetings, but i do have a background in Chinese history to conclude why the CCP regime has little significant difference with monarchist rule.

March 28, 2008 @ 6:33 pm | Comment

@Bill

“Criticizing people is ok. But telling them “stop meddling in politics” is wrong, because it is their duty, responsibility and right, no matter what your opinion on him is.

I am not supporting either Li’s. Actually, I don’t much care about what these two says. But I do want people’s rights protected.”

I am not saying that Lee Yuan-Tze cannot be entitled to his own views or he should not have his freedom of speech. But in my personal opinion, he was a spineless coward, period. For eight years, did he say he regretted endorsing a corrupt President who only knows how to shout slogans? Moreover, if he is so supportive of the DDP administration under Chen, why did he decide to maintain a distance with Chen by refusing to become his Premier? It’s like a salesman coming to you telling you all the wonders of a product but you realise that he himself don’t even use it. How would you feel?

My point about meddling in politics is not forbidding Lee his political rights. But if he wants to use his position as an accomplished academic to sway electorate sentiments, i think he is bloody irresponsible and shameless for he himself got cold feet when Chen asked him to become Premier after the Tang Fei debacle. Of course, i would stop him from his shameless endorsements for i believe in what Chris Patten had said, “In democracy everyone has the right to be represented, even the jerks.”

March 28, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

And the idea that autocratic regimes has a likelihood to use external conflict to divert attention is a bit problematic. We have seen that a Soviet Union in crisis, instead of launching into an aggressive war to bring the rest of the world down with it, it in fact retreated, from both Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. I am no fan of totalitarian regimes, but i just find the idea that Taiwan would DEFINITELY be used in ANY EVENT as a diversion of attention is a bit too far-fetched without valid substantiation.

And for every Soviet Union we have an Argentina and the Falklands War. Don’t get me wrong – I agree with you it’s far from a certainty, but there are historical precedents for a diversionary use of force.

March 28, 2008 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

sp

On one hand, you said that under with internal chaos, CCP leaders would be rational in their decisions when you said, “If the CCP had already pissed off enough Chinese that it was facing a domestic political crisis it wouldn’t make a difference!”

Why does that suggest the CCP would be especially rational? I was making a common-sense view that it may simply decide it had little to lose if it could see no way out that it could live with. Invading Taiwan is something I believe it could live with, whereas giving up power is not.

The next moment, you talked about the possible backlash if CCP invades Spratly or Diaoyutai or strikes at Japan, as if the CCP can be irrational on Taiwan but would be rational in dealing with Japan et al.

It is a lot more likely that the CCP/Chinese government would believe it would be able to successfully invade Taiwan (by year 20XX) than take on Japan.

you failed to establish what sort of benefits, tangible ones, that the CCP would get should it attack Taiwan without provocation

I pointed out, very clearly, that if sufficiently pressured and threatened domestically at home and over-confident of its own military prowess, China may attack Taiwan on a pretext to whip up national sentiment and thus protect its monopoly on power.

We have seen that a Soviet Union in crisis, instead of launching into an aggressive war to bring the rest of the world down with it, it in fact retreated, from both Eastern Europe and Afghanistan

Because the rest of the world was packing nuclear weapons and the boys in Moscow were not suicidal. On the other hand Taiwan is nuke-free and has no nuclear security guarantee from the US as various nations did during the Cold War.

But when it comes to the real showdown, they are afraid and that’s why they need the Act to prevent the scenario where they become a victim of their own slogans.

But what if the Act had had the opposite effect and convinced Chen to make a UDI when he could? You don’t make such a provocative piece of legislation if you don’t mean it, because if you miscalculate you’ve backed yourself into a wall.

Chen was elected in 2000 – why did China wait until half a decade later to make this law, given he was pro-independence at the start, if it felt it needed to head-off trouble? Few (if any) credible, knowledgeable anaylsts will tell you that the law stopped Taiwan from declaring independence or otherwise moving in that direction.

March 29, 2008 @ 4:42 am | Comment

@Raj

Because the rest of the world was packing nuclear weapons and the boys in Moscow were not suicidal. On the other hand Taiwan is nuke-free and has no nuclear security guarantee from the US as various nations did during the Cold War.

Well, I don’t think the US extended the nuclear umbrella to Eastern Europe as far as i am concerned. If not, the Soviet invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia would not have happened in 1956 and 1968 respectively. In 1989, Honecker and Ceausescu both proposed to Moscow about the use of force, but the Kremlin, in contrary to your theory of diversionary use of force, did not revive the Brezhnev Doctrine. Technically, the Kremlin could have taken that option given the thousands of Soviet occupation forces it still had in the area in 1989. And if the Soviets decided to repeat their feat of 1956 and 1968, not even self-proclaimed Cold War warriors like Reagan and Thatcher would dare to risk the destruction of Washington and London just to save the people of Eastern Europe.

Chen was elected in 2000 – why did China wait until half a decade later to make this law, given he was pro-independence at the start, if it felt it needed to head-off trouble? Few (if any) credible, knowledgeable anaylsts will tell you that the law stopped Taiwan from declaring independence or otherwise moving in that direction.

I think you need to recall the developments carefully without going into sweeping statements. Chen Shui-Bian was elected in 2000 and in order to placate fears that he might declare formal independence, he announced his famous but now defunct Four Noes and One Without in which he pledged not to the following in his term of office:
* declare Taiwanese independence,
* change the national title from “the Republic of China” to “the Republic of Taiwan”,
* include the doctrine of special state-to-state relations in the Constitution of the Republic of China, or
* promote a referendum on unification or independence.

Hence, the CCP regime took a “wait and see” approach initially towards President Chen. However, with a divided government and limited political capital, Chen found himself increasingly beholden to the hardline independence support base of the DPP. Thus, he began slowly to violate his own “Four Noes and One Without” such as characterizing cross straits relations as “One Country on Each Side” of the Taiwan Straits in 2002. In 2003, Chen also proposed holding a referendum in 2008 to amend the Republic of China Constitution. Then in 2004, using the fact that the PRC had missiles aiming at Taiwan, he pushed for a controversial defensive referendum which was perceived by the CCP as a dangerous prelude to an eventual referendum on sovereignty issues. In various Double-Tenth Day speeches, Chen gradually dropped any references to the Republic of China. Even Washington doubted Chen’s pledge to the Four Noes and One Without by this time that it replaced the pro-DPP AIT chairwomen Therese Shaheen in 2004. Hence by 2004, the Four Noes and One Without is effectively dead. All these moves put the CCP on the defensive and in an attempt, effective or otherwise, to stop Chen’s further offensives, the CCP decided to enact the Anti-Secession Law in 2005 to show that they aren’t “soft’ on “Taiwanese separatism”.

March 29, 2008 @ 7:35 pm | Comment

Hence, the CCP regime took a “wait and see” approach initially towards President Chen.

Your presentation is clearly deficient in two crucial regards: first, Chen had a condition for the 4 No pledge which you omitted — Beijing had to give up its aggression against the island. That point is minor but crucial.

Second, and more importantly, Beijing did not take a wait and see approach. That’s propaganda. On advice from the KMT, as a CSIS paper pointed out back in 2000, Beijing took the position that it would never negotiate with the DPP. It has held that position for 8 years. That brilliance of that position was, I think, vindicated by the fact that it is rarely mentioned in the international media, which constantly blames Chen, and adopts the Beijing line. China is getting much better at managing the international media, than it used to be, though the recent uprisings in occupied Tibet show that the PRC still has a long way to go when it can’t manage reality the way it does in the Taiwan situation.

The real issue was the Bush Administration, which decided to “outsource its foreign policy to Beijing” as Jon Manthorpe put it the other day, so it could pursue its defeats in the Middle East and to get Chinese cooperation on N Korea. Had there been no Iraq, there would have been a lot less criticism of Chen, and things would have looked very different. Instead, the Bush Administration slowly strangled relations with Taiwan to please Beijing. It is hard to find some part of US foreign or domestic policy that the Bush Administration has not completely effed up. No enemy could have hurt us more.

Michael

March 29, 2008 @ 10:09 pm | Comment

@Michael

I am glad that you are back after recovering from your selective amnesia and you would do good to answer to my earlier post addressed to you.

Your presentation is clearly deficient in two crucial regards: first, Chen had a condition for the 4 No pledge which you omitted — Beijing had to give up its aggression against the island. That point is minor but crucial.

Of course i know that condition. But you only like cherry-picking people’s comments just to make yourself look brilliant. Chen’s Four Noes and One Without is aimed to placate Washington rather than Beijing. Washington was worried that Chen would rock the boat and drag them into a new mess. True enough, Chen managed to irritate the Americans such that they snubbed him by offering him to transit at Anchorage instead. Therefore, the targeted audience for the Four Noes was the Americans and of course Washington expected Chen to keep his pledge and was annoyed when he abolished the National Unification Council and Guidelines. Hence, if you care to use some discretion and intelligence rather than your partisan lenses to see things, you would not end up reaching such unsophisticated presumptions which only Paris Hilton is capable of. Even Lee Teng-hui had said that Chen had done damage to US-Taiwan relations.

Second, and more importantly, Beijing did not take a wait and see approach. That’s propaganda. On advice from the KMT, as a CSIS paper pointed out back in 2000, Beijing took the position that it would never negotiate with the DPP. It has held that position for 8 years. That brilliance of that position was, I think, vindicated by the fact that it is rarely mentioned in the international media, which constantly blames Chen, and adopts the Beijing line.

To quote Raj, that is only certain unless you have spy camera in the CCP Politburo. Of course they wouldn’t negotiate with him since the DPP has an article in its charter which stipulated that Taiwanese independence is the eventual aim that the party should strive for. But we know that Chen, in almost all his actual initiatives, did not extend an olive branch to the CCP either becuase he could not have be conciliatory since that would incur the wrath of the die-hard independence support base within his party. That’s why he did all he could to confront the CCP so that he wouldn’t appear soft among his supporters. I am not saying that the CCP was right or Chen was wrong and i am definitely not into moral judgments, but it is apparent and fair to say that Chen maybe conciliatory in words but confrontational in deeds. I don’t think that’s a overstatement.

Moreover, it’s one thing not to negotiate but another to embark on aggressive policies such as poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and enacting the Anti-Secession Law. You have to acknowledge that Chen’s aggressive initiatives such as proposing amendment of the ROC constitution at least have a part for triggering the latter.

March 29, 2008 @ 11:18 pm | Comment

But we know that Chen, in almost all his actual initiatives, did not extend an olive branch to the CCP .

SP, Chen made numerous peace initiatives and peace offers.

You have to acknowledge that Chen’s aggressive initiatives such as proposing amendment of the ROC constitution at least have a part for triggering the latter.

The Constitution has been amended more than a dozen times in the last 15 years.

I am glad that you are back after recovering from your selective amnesia and you would do good to answer to my earlier post addressed to you.

Missed it. Mea culpa

Michael

March 31, 2008 @ 8:46 pm | Comment

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