Japan and Russia have diplomatic relations, but never signed a peace treaty after World War II and have similar measures in place. Several Japanese police cars are parked outside the Russian embassy in Tokyo at any given time. Whenever a Russian vehicle carrying important passengers leaves the embassy, Japanese police will tail it for its entire journey.
In 1999, the US Congress published the Cox Report, officially titled the Report of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/ Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China, concerning China’s espionage activities in the US during the 1980s and 1990s. According to the report, China has modeled its operations on those of the former Soviet Union, employing an extensive and pervasive intelligence-gathering network.
China now feels that the time is right for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to exchange representative offices. The battle lines are being drawn, but is Taiwan going to tolerate its officials being subjected to restrictions in China, while Chinese officials in Taiwan are allowed to go wherever they want?
Recently, a Taiwanese businessman in China complained that Ma “looks in the mirror for his appointees.” It should be added that Ma also prefers to conduct business behind closed doors. When Ma worked for the Mainland Affairs Council, he tended to be overcautious and lacked courage and insight.
Now, one can only hope that he will again take a cautious approach and set up a representative office in China that will uphold Taiwan’s dignity and safeguard its interests.
Chen Rong-jye is a legal expert and a former Straits Exchange Foundation secretary-general
Translated by Paul Cooper