As the world eyes the vast Chinese market, Taiwan should be concerned about whether it has missed its chance to pick which basket it wants to put its eggs in, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said on Tuesday.
Chu, who is widely seen as a potential presidential candidate for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 2016, issued the warning on Facebook.
In the post, titled “Turn into a blue magpie or a ring-necked pheasant,” the mayor said that although everyone knows the old adage warning people not to put all their eggs into one basket, few are thinking seriously about what choice of baskets Taiwan has.
“When the world is eyeing the China basket, what Taiwan should fear most is that it has missed its chance to select its baskets,” he said.
Chu said the nation has had time to choose, citing as an example of Taiwan’s nearsightedness the lessons learned from his interactions with new immigrants over the years.
He said that these experiences showed him that society expects new immigrants from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines who have married locals to integrate quickly, but it has never accepted their languages and cultures.
Chu said that in addition to learning English and Chinese, the children of new immigrants should be encouraged to speak their mother tongues so they can be an edge Taiwan can use in its dealings with ASEAN members.
“When you only see China and can’t see Indonesia, with its 300 million-strong population, what kind of a world perspective is that?” he asked. “When you have only Taiwan in your heart, is that caring for Taiwan? Or is it behaving like a mama’s boy that can’t reach out to the world?”
“When Taiwanese are busy embracing or hating China, it becomes the whole world in their eyes, overshadowing everything else,” the mayor added.
The activists protesting the cross-strait service trade pact have now heard many experts talk about the agreement, Chu said, adding that he hopes this makes them realize that the key issue is determining whether Taiwan still has the option of joining regional free-trade blocs.