Continuing his second day of a visit to Japan, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
The Nikkakon is a council made up of senior Japanese Diet members across party lines that has acted as a channel between Taiwan and Japan since the severance of official ties in 1972. In an attempt at humor, Ma told the group that he chose to visit Japan now because, if elected next year, he wouldn't be able to visit as the president of Taiwan.
Ma reportedly drew a round of laughter from his dutifully courteous audience, but it is pathetic to see someone who hopes to become Taiwan's leader make light of such a serious issue.
This wasn't the first time Ma has made such a remark. In a visit to India earlier this June, Ma tried the same joke on politicians there.
True, given Taiwan's dire diplomatic problems, the Taiwanese president is unable to make state visits to countries that do not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
But with Ma alluding to this sad state of affairs in a jovial way, how can he convince Taiwanese that voting for him means bringing Taiwan a better future? How can he be a leader that fosters national pride?
Ma cannot ask Taiwanese to place confidence in him -- domestically or internationally -- if he can so casually downplay the country's current diplomatic state.
It was Chiang Kai-shek (
If the KMT's word could be trusted, Taiwan would have long ago gained greater international space following the so-called five-point "vision for cross-strait peace" agreement reached between former KMT chairman Lien Chan (
As for signing a peace treaty with China, Ma would be well advised to look at China's diplomatic record before he buries Taiwan's future in his own wishful thinking. The record shows that China is not good at keeping promises.
Based on this evidence, Ma will need to sharpen his rhetoric before he can convince Taiwanese that he would be a better statesman than his Democratic Progressive Party counterpart.