Tue, Jul 28, 2009 - Page 3 News List

ANALYSIS: Japanese envoy’s remarks still reverberate

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Criticizing the government for acting on an impulse, Hawang said she was nonetheless not surprised at the administration’s reaction because Ma has never been close to Japan.

She agreed with Chen, saying that Saito merely cited an academic theory to express his personal opinion, and that Saito might not have expected his comments would create such a controversy.

Frank Liu (劉正山), an associate professor at National Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute of Political Science, said Su’s meeting with Saito would be a token of goodwill.

FRIENDS OF JAPAN?

As Ma now doubles as KMT chairman, Liu said it would be to his advantage to be friendly with all countries.

Ma is tougher toward Japan than his predecessors were because he believes he no longer needs to form an alliance with Tokyo to counter Beijing, Liu said.

While what Saito said was not new, Liu said he did not believe a seasoned diplomat would express an opinion on a sensitive issue at a non-academic discussion.

If a diplomat did so, Liu said he was either conveying an official message or testing the water.

Liu said he did not think the Ma administration overreacted because it was not surprising to see the KMT bothered by Saito’s remarks

If the KMT was irritated by similar comments made Taiwanese, it was bound to feel more offended if the comment was made by an outsider, he said.

“For a government, the legitimacy of its rule is very important,” he said. “I believe the Ma administration knows very well about Taiwan’s status, but chooses to deny it.”

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