In recent weeks the media has been filled with commentators in the US warning that the US is losing patience with Taiwan, as the arms purchase bill has now been tabled more than 30 times in the legislature. Only a minority of these commentators manifest any awareness of local political divisions, and none have remarked on the most important shift in local politics: the fact that the pan-blue Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) have become pro-China parties. As a consequence of this, they are focusing on the wrong target.
This change is manifest most publicly in the visits by important pan-blue camp politicians to Beijing. It can also be seen in the recent trial balloons floated by the KMT, in which it would accept the purchase of submarines and P-3C anti-submarine aircraft, but turn down the Patriot missile batteries. Of those three the subs are useless and the aircraft can operate only if Taiwan controls the air, which, given the massive disparities in air power, is unlikely. Only the Patriots represent an effective weapon. Readers may draw their own conclusions as to why the KMT opposes the one really effective weapon in the package.
Recall further that the weapons package is one of a score of bills that needs passing, all stalled by the pan-blues. The US needs more than just an armed Taiwan; it needs a well-run government with a stable economy if Taiwan is to support the US policy of containing China. Any US response to the arms package should also focus on the fact that it is just one aspect, albeit the most public, of a multi-pronged campaign by the two pro-China parties to bring the nation's government to a halt. Effective governance, after all, furthers Taiwan's autonomy.
The failure to fully grasp that the blues have become pro-China parties has three major effects. First, US analysts who keep warning "Taiwan" to mend its ways are hitting the wrong target. The problem is not "Taiwan," but blue legislators who routinely prevent the arms purchase bill from reaching the legislature. US policymakers who want the bill to pass need to come here and thump KMT and PFP heads, not sit in Washington and grumble that "Taiwan" doesn't listen.
Second, one of the long-term goals of the blues is to embarrass the locals, to make it seem that the Taiwanese cannot run their own affairs, and to present Taiwan as a problem that can be made to go away through annexing the country to China. Each time an analyst in Washington complains about "Taiwan" rather than fingering the KMT and PFP, this strategy is rewarded.
Finally, another long-term goal of the blues is to drive a spike between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the US. The pro-China parties know that the DPP shares the ideals of democracy and independence with the US. They also know foreigners strongly sympathize with the DPP (indeed, in the 2000 election the Soong campaign actually ran ads showing that some foreigners did support Soong). The blues' strategy is to prevent the arrival of the day when the US stops viewing the DPP as a problem, and starts seeing it as an opportunity. Thus, each time a US decisionmaker criticizes "Taiwan," they reward that blue strategy by putting more distance between the US and Taiwan. In sum, as diplospeak puts it, pressure from the US is "not entirely helpful."
Until the US attacks the problem by sending someone with credibility over here to speak frankly to the KMT and the PFP about their obstructive, pro-China behavior, nothing will change.
Liberal democracy and communist autocracy are at the initial stages of a historic battle. Taipei has chosen its side in this fight and has sought to frame “cross-strait relations” as an international issue, while Beijing says that Taiwan is an “internal issue” and a hangover from the Chinese Civil War. Taiwan’s status as a nation has new clarity and the international community is beginning to defend Taiwan’s democracy. The Washington Post has praised Taiwan’s diplomatic achievements and Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has said that it would be inconceivable for Australia not to join Taiwan and the US in a conflict with
At a time when China continues its assertive policy toward its neighboring countries, the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Bhutan last month to resolve a longstanding border dispute. However, this is not the first time China and Bhutan have taken such efforts on this issue. Over the years, China has expanded its claim over territory in Bhutan. China claims over 764km2 of Bhutan’s territory, which includes Doklam, Sinchulung, Dramana and Shakhatoe in the northwestern region and the Pasamlung and Jakarlung Valleys in the central part of Bhutan. Although the two sides held
Among the voices expressing concern for Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai (彭帥) over the past two weeks, one was barely audible — that of her long-time former doubles partner Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇). Following their defeat in the WTA Finals championship match in Mexico on Nov. 18, Taiwan’s Hsieh and her Belgian partner Elise Mertens fielded questions via a Zoom call. Chinese state media had just released an incredibly suspicious e-mail, purportedly from Peng, and Canadian tennis Web site Open Court broached the issue. With the entire tennis world chiming in, seeking Hsieh’s opinion seemed obvious. However, the Web site’s reporter prefaced her question
At the Sixth Plenary Session of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th Central Committee, held earlier this month, attendees passed the “Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party Over the Past Century.” The resolution divides the CCP’s rule of China into three historical phases. The first phase was led by Mao Zedong (毛澤東), who enabled Chinese to “stand up.” The second phase occurred during the tenure of Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), who enabled China to “become rich.” The third phase began with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who