EDITORIAL: Whitewashing China’s ambitions

Thu, Sep 13, 2012 - Page 8

All was cheerful and merry as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday lauded former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) recent meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on the sidelines of the APEC leaders’ summit in Vladivostok, Russia. Praising Lien’s trip as fruitful, Ma commended his APEC envoy for not only winning a promise from Hu to “seriously study” the possibility of “helping” Taiwan participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), but for striking an agreement with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to begin exploratory work for resumption of the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks.

Focusing on how Lien conveyed Ma’s appreciation to Hu for the “great contributions” he has made to cross-strait ties, and how Hu, for his part, said China would continue to promote peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait, it might appear to the public that China has reduced its hostility toward Taiwan.

If only everything were as rosy as pictured by the Ma government.

The truth is that the Ma administration has a long-term problem of telling only half-truths, for example creating the false impression that cross-strait relations are all clear sailing under Ma’s governance.

Rather than praising Lien for obtaining Hu’s “promise” to “help” Taiwan take part in the ICAO, why does Ma not condemn Beijing obstructing Taiwan’s joining the organization in the first place? Let us not forget that Hu actually said China would study the possibility of letting Taiwan participate in the ICAO in “an appropriate way.”

As Hu reiterated Beijing’s “one China” principle in his talk of expanding cross-strait ties and deepening the development of cross-strait peace, how proud can Taiwan really be if it only obtains ICAO observer status on the grounds that it is part of China?

As for Lien expressing appreciation to Hu for the “great contributions” he has made to cross-strait ties, did it even for a nanosecond occur to either Ma or Lien how ironic it was to be thanking Hu, when it is China’s blatant obstructionism that has prevented Ma (and his predecessors) from attending the APEC leaders’ summit as a leader duly elected by the people of Taiwan?

It certainly is a good thing for the government to share good news with its people, but it is totally despicable for a government to play down an oppressor’s ambition to annex the country. This show of goodwill toward Taiwan is nothing but a poisoned chalice.

According to the Ministry of National Defense’s China Military Power Report 2012 recently delivered to the legislature, the number of Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles aimed at Taiwan has increased from 1,400 last year to more than 1,600 this year.

If China were truly sincere in extending goodwill to the Taiwanese, then it should remove all its missiles targeting Taiwan and stop obstructing Taiwan’s participation in international organizations. Attaching the condition of the “one China” principle to its willingness to help Taiwan take part in international bodies is no goodwill at all.

All the whitewash in the world cannot help Ma and his government disguise China’s goals, no matter how much they praise its cross-strait contributions.