The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday accused former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of “acting like a concubine to Japan” after he reportedly said that sending military vessels to protect Taiwanese fishing boats amounts to declaring war on the US and Japan.
Hsieh, who is to be the next representative to Japan, on Wednesday said that he did not approve of sending military vessels to protect Taiwanese boats because it means that the nation “sees waging war as a viable option if necessary.”
He reportedly added that since Japan has a treaty of mutual cooperation and security with the US, the so-called “Anpo Treaty,” waging war with Japan would also mean waging a war against the US.
Peaceful means and negotiations should be employed to protect the interests of Taiwan’s fishermen, he said.
KMT spokeswoman Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) said she could not understand how Hsieh could have made such “remarks that were none other than surrender of [Taiwan’s] rights and humiliation of his country.”
She called into question the “closed-door meeting” on Thursday between president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Nobuo Kishi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s younger brother and a Japanese House of Councilors member, who is visiting Taipei with a group of Japanese lawmakers.
“Kishi said [Japan] hopes the issue of fishing rights can be solved in a low-key way. Tsai should make public the discussion she and Kishi had behind closed doors and be clear on the question of whether she will protect fishermen and their rights after she is sworn in,” Wang said.
Former KMT legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said that Hsieh’s attitude “can be compared to that of a concubine. [What Hsieh has done] was acting like a concubine to Japan, currying favor with it; it was geisha diplomacy.’”
The former lawmaker said that sending military vessels constitutes “military diplomacy,” according to which “the end is diplomacy, while the military is the means.”
He said Hsieh’s comments were “ridiculous,” and asked whether the US was also declaring war against China when it sent military vessels into international waters in the South China Sea.
“During the eight years of Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] rule, a fisheries agreement between Taiwan and Japan was not signed precisely because the DPP did not stand up to [Japan’s claims]. President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration was able to achieve it because it changed its stance [toward Japan] after Ma took over and sent Coast Guard Administration vessels to protect the fishing boats” in the face of Japan’s intimidation on the sea, Lin said.
Japan “bullies those who are nice and is afraid only of the strong and mean,” he said, adding that Japan is “not a country that talks sense,” but is treating Taiwan “in a colonial way.”
Philip Yang (楊永明), an international relations academic and one of KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) spokespeople during the presidential campaign, said the navy “keeping alert within a certain distance from coast guard vessels when the latter are protecting the fishing boats” is “standard operating procedure.”
“Hsieh’s comments show that he is not qualified to be a representative of the Republic of China,” Yang said.
Hsieh later yesterday rebutted the KMT’s criticism on Facebook, saying that it took his remarks out of context.
He also denied that he said sending naval ships to the Okinotori atoll amounts to “declaring war against the US.”
Hsieh said that he firmly believes the government must protect Taiwanese fishermen, and that while the government might show its determination to do so through a show of force, the dispute can only be solved through negotiations.
“What I said was that it is inappropriate to dispatch naval ships for the action, because the presence of naval ships would hint that [we] might be prepared to take military action,” Hsieh said. “If any unexpected situation occurs, there would be military or civilian casualties, while the stock market would crash and the economy could fall apart.”
Hsieh said that he then said that since it is not an option for Taiwan to declare war on Japan or on the US, there is no need to send naval ships to the disputed waters.
“So what I actually said was that it is not something we would do — I did not say that sending naval ships was tantamount to declaring war on the US,” Hsieh said.
Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) yesterday morning said that Ma should “stop these childish actions,” questioning Ma’s “sudden fearlessness” in the past two weeks of his presidency, after being weak for the past eight years.
Premier Simon Chang (張善政) said that navy vessels would be sent “just in case” and urged the lawmaker to ask Tsai what she meant by “making full efforts to defend” the nation’s fishermen when asked about Japan’s seizure of a Taiwanese fishing boat last week.
Separately yesterday, Kishi and his entourage visited the Legislative Yuan for the establishment of the Taiwan-Japan (Congressional) Exchange Club, at which Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said the two countries are intimate partners that should solve disputes and conflicts with wisdom.
Kishi said Taiwan and Japan are important to each other and the recent problems could be overcome.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly