ECFA, NAFTA nothing alike
Martin Phipps’ letter (Letters, Aug. 6, page 8) requires a strong rebuttal. Phipps does not understand the basics of the issues he discussed.
Phipps refers to the US’ NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico. That was a trade agreement between states that recognize each other’s sovereignty. He should be reminded that China does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty and is expanding its military with the intention of coercing Taiwan into submission.
Beijing sees in the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) a tool to smother Taiwan’s de facto independence.
The debate in Taiwan, pitting the Democratic Progressive Party against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), has nothing to do with “protectionism” as Phipps claims. On the contrary, the position put forward by the DPP has to do with protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty and future as a free and democratic nation.
The KMT, on the other hand, is cuddling up to a repressive — and still very communist — China.
The policies of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his administration seem designed to push Taiwan into an ever tighter economic embrace with China at the expense of its hard-won freedom and democracy.
Phipps claims that: “By signing the ECFA with China, Taiwan would be free to negotiate trade deals with other Asian countries.”
This is wishful thinking: If this were the case, it would be part of the ECFA negotiations. However, China has only indicated that after the ECFA is signed, it could consider it. History shows it would be naive to trust China based on this.
GERRIT VAN DER WEES
Martin Phipps is apparently not familiar with the history of Taiwan and China. The two sides have basically been hostile until now. Any agreement between them is fragile.
The example Phipps cited — NAFTA — concerned independent countries with friendly ties. His argument in favor of an ECFA is not logical as it ignores the fact that China claims Taiwan belongs to it.
For Beijing, the precondition of any agreement is that Taiwan is part of China. After signing an ECFA, Taiwan would be part of China economically. Would Taiwan be able to sign free trade agreements with other countries in Asia? Of course not — China would object.
Martin Phipps ignores the history of aggression between Taiwan and China, and China’s threat to use military force against Taiwan. He should be ashamed.
Stop choking Kaohsiung
The environmental impact assessment (EIA) hearing on whether Taipower’s Dalin Plant in Kaohsiung should have two or four coal-fired generators was an eye-opener.
Perhaps most shocking was the fact that the life expectancy of Kaohsiung residents is four years less than that of Taipei residents.
If this is true, the corporate leaders of Taipower should be fired for even considering expanding the plant. If air pollution in Taiwan’s second-largest city is causing such a disparity in life expectancy, then the government should be doing everything in its power to reduce pollution, not increase it.
Coal is a leading cause of global warming, which is already affecting and will continue to affect Taiwan.
If Taipower wants to diversify its power sources from natural gas — which is “cleaner” and used by most of the generators in the north — then maybe it should consider building another 5,000 wind generators rather than the mere 50 it is building now.
At the EIA hearing, Taipower officials said they were prepared to trade carbon credits or plant trees overseas to maintain the same carbon emission level.
What they are not factoring into their equation, however, is the health of the children, elderly and other residents of Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County. What Taipower needs more than new coal-fired generators in Kaohsiung is new leadership.
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