Thu, Jun 23, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Who’s in charge of policymaking?

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

Would it remain neutral, side with China against Vietnam or with Hanoi in opposing Beijing?

Only then would we know for sure whether Taiwan has retained its freedom of action, or lost it to Beijing.

Such extremes or war should not be necessary to clear the matter. That they might is symptomatic of the failure of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to take a firm stand over the boundaries of administrative decision-making and to prevent, at every instance, attempts by Beijing to encroach upon those.

It would be a simple matter for the Presidential Office to belie Wang and Yang’s comments and to put the risible TAO in its place. That it does not invites speculation that real decision-making powers regarding how Taiwan administers itself lie not in Taipei, where the power they wield is granted them by the Taiwanese polity, but rather in Beijing, whose officials are in no way accountable to the Taiwanese public.

Whosoever occupies the Presidential Office should make it clear that Taipei and only Taipei has the right to make policy decisions on behalf of Taiwanese and to claim ownership of those decisions.

J. Michael Cole is deputy news editor at the Taipei Times.

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