One can guess that election time is around the corner when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians start to warn that Taiwan could risk losing its diplomatic allies if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) becomes the governing party.
Such was the case in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential election, when then-KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledged to adopt “flexible diplomacy” to end the nation’s diplomatic isolation and what he termed “pointless ‘scorched-earth diplomacy’ employed by the DPP,” which he described as “amateurish, capricious, dogmatic and based on brinkmanship.”
Similar rhetoric was sounded during Ma’s re-election campaign for the 2012 presidential election as he trumpeted his foreign policy of “modus vivendi” having promoted cross-strait peace and Beijing not stealing Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.
In a case of deja vu, earlier this week, Presidential Office spokesperson Charles Chen (陳以信) warned against the resurgence of diplomatic war with China, saying that a resumption of the DPP’s “scorched-earth diplomacy” would pose “an enormous risk to the ties across the Taiwan Strait and to our international relations and seriously undermine the peace and prosperity that has developed in the Taiwan Strait over the past seven-and-a-half years.”
Echoing Chen’s remarks, KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) — worrying that a victory for DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in next month’s presidential election could destabilize cross-strait ties — on Monday claimed that 18 of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies have been lining up outside Beijing’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish diplomatic ties
Stepping up the rhetoric, Ma on Tuesday said that Taiwan lost six diplomatic allies under the previous DPP administration, whereas he consolidated diplomatic ties with allies since taking office in 2008, with the exception of losing the Gambia to China in 2013.
However, one has to ask: Has China really dropped its aggression and malice toward Taiwan while the KMT has been the governing party?
The answer is obvious: No.
The truth is that Ma’s so-called “cross-strait peace” is superficial, because Beijing has never renounced the use of force to achieve its goal of annexing Taiwan.
China’s enacting of the “Anti-Secession” Law shows nothing but malice and threatens peace.
China’s intentions are evidenced by the more than 1,600 ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan along its eastern seaboard.
China’s ill intentions are made obvious by footage of its war games that showed drills featuring People’s Liberation Army troops maneuvering toward a five-story building with a tower resembling Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building.
In other words, what Ma has been touting as his diplomatic achievements are really more to Beijing’s credit than his.
No saber-rattling remarks have been necessary from China because the KMT has seemingly taken it upon itself to work on Beijing’s behalf, intimidating Taiwanese with talk, such as Alex Tsai’s.
Playing the “resurgence-of-diplomatic-war-with-China card” to frighten the public might have worked for the KMT before, but do Ma and Alex Tsai really take Taiwanese for fools and think they would fall for the same tricks again?
Rather than engaging in its old habit of intimidating people, the KMT would be well advised to put its resources toward the presentation of a concrete platform to convince voters that it deserves another four years in the Presidential Office.