President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) statement that cross-strait relations are “not international relations” during his Double Ten National Day speech has further weakened Taiwan’s sovereignty and was meant as a hint for the US and Japan not to interfere in cross-strait issues, a local academic said.
“If by including such words in the National Day address Ma intends to make the cross-strait issue an internal matter and not open to international interference, it would cause serious repercussions in the days to come,” said Wong Ming-hsien (翁明賢), director of Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies.
Pointing to the fact that Taiwan is not a part of the UN, and the Ma administration’s inclination to make the cross-strait issue an internal issue rather than international, Wong said that in the event of a military conflict over the Taiwan Strait, neither Japan nor the US would have grounds to intervene.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
Ma’s National Day address reflects his policy directions in the two years left of his term, and Ma has to explain to the international community what he means by “cross-strait relations are not international relations,” Wong said.
“Is it like the Basic Treaty signed in 1972 by the two Germanies, in which both agreed that neither would have the right to represent the other in international affairs, and that both would be able to participate in the UN, or is it an attempt to clarify the relation of ‘on the island’ and ‘on the mainland,’ or is it a shift away from his ‘no unification, no independence, no use of force’ policy and a nod toward unification, maybe even ‘to be unified?’” Wong asked, adding that Ma has to make his intentions clear, both to Taiwanese and to the international community.
That Ma would make such a declaration at a time when his approval ratings had sunk as low as 9.2 percent perhaps shows his intention to pave the way for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Wong said, adding that Ma’s rhetoric coincides with Xi’s comments during a meeting with former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) in June that both sides of the Strait are Chinese by ethnicity (zhonghua minzu, 中華民族).
Wong said he believed Ma was attempting to trumpet his cross-strait policies to draw attention from his lack of domestic accomplishments.
However, Ma’s “diplomatic accomplishments” in recent years, while superficially creating the image of Taiwan being more active in international efforts, only damaged Taiwan’s status as a sovereign nation, he said.
Diplomacy is an extension of a nation’s sovereignty, but the Ma administration has set a bad example by asking for China’s agreement before applying to participate in the World Health Assembly or the International Civil Aviation Organization, Wong said, adding that the administration has caused Taiwan to become a “diplomatic sub-entity” in the international community.
If non-governmental organizations in Taiwan were to follow such a precedent, then “Taiwan would have no diplomacy to speak of,” Wong said, adding that with the Ma administration’s weakening of national defense, Taiwan may not be far from becoming the second Hong Kong or Macau.
Wong concluded with a warning that the Ma administration’s overtly pro-China policies have already worried the US, adding that the stall in US-Taiwan arms sales clearly shows that the US is standing back and observing.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
BALANCED DEVELOPMENT: TSMC chairman Mark Liu said the firm is committed to local investment: a third in the north, a third in the center, a third in the south Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday said that, based on its strategy of balancing capacity, it plans to make northern Taiwan its manufacturing hub for advanced technologies that go beyond 2 nanometers. “As the company is committed to investing in Taiwan, we try to deploy one-third [of our total production capacity] in the north and have one-third each in the center and south” of the nation, TSMC chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) told reporters on the sidelines of Semicon Taiwan’s Master Forum in Taipei. TSMC last year reached its goal of deploying capacity equally across those parts