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
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