President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) recently visited Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼), which lies about 140km off the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), and proclaimed that he will protect the Republic of China’s (ROC) sovereignty. However, in Japan, a country that also lays claim to the Diaoyutais and calls it the Senkakus, the mainstream media did not even feature a 30-second report of the event.
Japan feels that the biggest crisis it faces and its biggest potential opponent is not Taiwan, but South Korea. Likewise, South Korea has made Japan a target that it must overtake. At this time and with all that is going on, it would do us some good to ask what we are thinking about and doing here in Taiwan.
Lately a bunch of people have been saying crazy things, including that if Taiwanese did not buy South Korean products for six months, half of South Korea’s businesses would collapse. Others have been carrying on about how Taiwan donated so much money to Japan after the earthquake last year and yet now Japan is repaying us by stealing the Diaoyutais. The people saying these things are led by our so-called “president,” whose administration once said that it is prepared to “go to war” to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutais while promising, in the midst of election fervor, that Taiwan would experience a “golden decade” if the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) were elected.
The fact is South Korea’s extensive markets cover the US, Japan and the wider world in general. The country will not be affected in the slightest if it loses the Taiwanese market. The Japanese government that was scolded by Ma for “illegally occupying the ROC’s national territory” has bought three of the five major islets in the Diaoyutai chain from Japanese nationals who own the land, with the purpose of nationalizing them. If a Taiwanese boycott is capable of bringing down South Korean companies, that would surely make Taiwan the third-largest economy in the world, right? Wrong.
Moreover, if the land that Japan wants to reclaim really is ROC territory “illegally occupied” by Japan, then this would mean that the ROC must have been collecting land value taxes for decades from these Japanese nationals with land rights to the Senkakus, right? Wrong. The public would do well to remember that this is the same government that told the organizer of an international golf tournament “to beware of the consequences” if he hung the ROC national flag at the event.
Despite all its talk about being cosmopolitan and protecting the ROC’s sovereignty, this is the true face of the KMT government. Unfortunately, because it professes to love Taiwan so dearly, sometimes even members of the pan-green camp jump on the bandwagon and express anti-Korean and anti-Japanese sentiment, all the while forgetting just how serious the crises Taiwan now faces are.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is not the reason for Taiwan’s troubles, but the symbol of them as well as being the result of them. Taiwan did not end up with a leader like him because of the pan-green or pan-blue divide, but because of the shortsightedness, arrogance and passiveness often displayed by most Taiwanese.
Taiwanese have to stand up against this type of stupidity, not because Ma belongs to the pan-blue camp, but rather because if Taiwanese do not change their attitude and national character, Taiwan will increasingly be reduced to an insignificant clown in the East Asian region — the same sort of insignificant clown that our current president is.