Cross-strait affairs are matters of great sensitivity and warrant the careful assessment of those in power, as they relate to Taiwan’s security, sovereignty and national dignity.
As such, it is dumbfounding that Taiwanese had to find out via a media scoop that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in just a few days.
An exclusive on Tuesday night on the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) Web site broke the story.
How long was the Presidential Office planning to keep the meeting a secret?
Since winning re-election in 2012, Ma has not been shy about his ambition to leave a legacy. He has also on several occasions openly expressed his wish to meet with Xi.
Under normal circumstances, there would be nothing wrong with the nation’s president meeting the leader of China; it could reasonably be construed as the extension of an olive branch. However, it is a different matter when the design of the meeting has been carried out in an underhand manner, with decisions taken behind closed doors, in open defiance of the legislature and the public.
The Ma-Xi meeting directly contradicts a promise Ma made during his re-election campaign. In case he needs a reminder, on Nov. 18, 2011, Ma said: “I absolutely will not meet with the Chinese leader if I am re-elected.”
Ma also promised that a meeting between him and Xi would only occur “when the nation needs it, the public supports it and the legislature supervises the process.”
Therefore, it must be asked: Has he won the consent of Taiwanese for this meeting with Xi? That is to say nothing of Ma’s pledge to gain legislative supervision: Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said he only learned about the meeting on Tuesday evening when he received calls from media outlets requesting a response.
The nation is in a dire economic situation, with soaring housing prices, a deteriorating labor market, weakening household incomes and plunging exports. Ministry of Labor statistics show the number of furloughed workers last month was at its highest level since February last year, and Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics data show that the unemployment rate climbed from 3.82 percent in July to 3.9 percent in August.
Central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南) on Monday said it would be hard for the nation to record GDP growth of more than 1 percent this year.
Rather than finding remedies to tackle the sluggish economy and declining competitiveness, Ma is focusing on fulfilling his desire to leave a legacy — by having a chance to shake hands with Xi.
It is cringeworthy — not to mention frightening — that the president seems to be more interested in leaving his personal mark on history than improving the lives of his people.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said the Ma-Xi meeting would be a significant step forward in the cross-strait relationship and that it would help the development of cross-strait ties.
However, rather than earning the esteem of the public, the opaque decisionmaking process and underhanded way in which Ma has gone about arranging his tete a tete has only inspired the contempt and repulsion of the public.
Local media reported earlier this month that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) criticized President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for referring to China as a “neighboring country,” saying that this is no different from a “two-state” model and that it amounts to changing the cross-strait “status quo.” I find it quite impossible to understand why civilized Taiwan continues to tolerate the existence of such a deceitful group that believes its own lies. The relationship between Taiwan and China is the relationship between two countries, and neither has any jurisdiction over the other — this is the undeniable “status quo.” Those who believe in the
On Thursday, China applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) — a regional economic organization whose 11 member countries have a combined GDP of US$11 trillion. That is less than China’s 2019 GDP of US$14.34 trillion, so why is China so eager to join? China says there are two main reasons: To consolidate its foreign trade and foreign investment base, and to fast-track economic and trade relations between China and member countries of the CPTPP free-trade area. China’s bilateral trade with these countries grew from US$78 billion in 2003 to US$685.1 billion last year, mostly because of China’s 2005
US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) talked on the telephone on Thursday last week, the first time the two leaders have done so since Biden assumed the presidency. While each side sought to put their own gloss on the content of the conversation, some common ground did emerge. Biden reportedly said that both sides have a joint responsibility to ensure that competition between the US and China does not spiral into conflict and that there is no reason that the two nations are destined to fall into this trap. The day after the phone call, the Financial Times reported
WASHINGTON [Special Commentary]: It is just a teensy-weensy change, a change of one little syllable. It is barely noticeable unless you’re watching really carefully: The Tai-“pei” Representative Office in Washington, D.C. (TECRO) could soon change its name — just ever so very slightly — to Tai-“wan” Representative Office. The office’s “TECRO” initials would remain the same. It will be only a symbolic change. London’s Financial Times reported last week that such a change may soon be coming. The timing was a bit awkward, though. The FT’s report came out on the very same day that Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮)