Wed, Apr 18, 2012 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial : Ma’s diplomacy needs to grow up

Even though Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添), who traveled with Ma during the visit, knew that it was not a breakthrough, he still praised it as being the result of Ma’s “flexible diplomacy.” Please! After four years of this “flexible diplomacy,” Ma has only managed to gain a bit of formal encouragement in the form of a refueling stopover, which he had to be secretive about and make diversions before doing.

Prior to Ma’s “flexible diplomacy,” Taiwanese presidents traveled to Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, the US, Libya, and entered Italy to visit the Vatican. Judging from a purely diplomatic perspective, which are the greater achievements? It feels as if the Ma administration is actually taking several steps backward.

Late at night on April 8, Ma said in a post on his Facebook page that the Mumbai stopover was based on mutual trust, carried out in a low-key manner with absolutely no surprises, and that the whole process was smooth and free of any interference. If Ma lives in his own fantasy world, his staff have a duty to wake him up: given the status of the stopover, the president should not continue to dwell on the issue, it’s certainly not something that can be used for propaganda purposes.

A president represents his country on overseas visits. At Mumbai airport, he was met only by local protocol officers and security guards. If, after having humiliated himself like this, after abasing himself, he goes on to emphasize the point that China did not exert any pressure, he will only be further denigrating the country and himself.

Efforts by Ma to focus on constitutionally required issues such as the strengthening of national defense and expansion of Taiwan’s diplomacy should be supported. Over the past four years, these two areas have been weakened to the point that they threaten the country’s foundations, and urgently need strengthening. In doing so, however, Ma must not ignore past experience, nor can he continue to act like an “intern” who lacks understanding of the future. If a president in his second term continues to play childish games, he will bring shame and humiliation on the country.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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