“It takes two to tango.” So said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in an interview last Thursday with the Chinese-language Global View magazine when asked if his administration had wishful thinking on thawing relations with China.
After reading the latest statement by Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya (王光亞), it is all too clear that Beijing has no desire to tango with Taiwan on terms that deviate in any way from Chinese demands.
In the letter dated Aug. 18 to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Wang noted that the UN and its specialized agencies are intergovernmental organizations composed only of sovereign states.
He then said: “As a part of China, Taiwan is not a sovereign State. The claim by a very few countries that specialized agencies should allow the Taiwan region to ‘participate’ in their activities under the ‘principle of universality’ is unfounded.”
“The mainland and the Taiwan region are not yet reunited,” Wang continued, “but the fact that the two sides belong to one and the same China has never changed.”
He then asked Taiwan’s allies to observe “the principle of respecting State sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”
Wang’s remarks came as a hard, cold slap in the Ma administration’s face. Even more pathetically, Ma and his team took the hit without protest.
The Presidential Office yesterday declined to comment on Wang’s statement, leaving the incompetent Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a pallid statement asking for more negotiations.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government has touted its UN strategy this year as moderate and pragmatic, forgoing the campaign for full UN membership and instead pitching for Taiwan to be allowed “meaningful participation” in the world body’s affiliates.
A top official at the National Security Council told reporters last week that the Ma administration, in dropping the push for UN entry, was hoping that Taiwan could secure an observer seat at the World Health Assembly (WHA) next year.
The official added that he was optimistic at the possibility of success.
Judging from Wang’s words, the chances are bleak: “On the basis of the one China principle, the Chinese Government reaches with the secretariat of the WHO a MOU, which provides facilitation to medical experts of the Taiwan region in their participation in WHO technical conferences and activities. The Taiwan region has unfettered access to health and medical information of the WHO.”
In other words, China is likely to use the same old excuse to shut Taiwan out of the WHA next year.
Ma has said on many occasions that his preferred kind of diplomacy focuses on practicality and flexibility, all the while maintaining Taiwan’s interests and dignity.
But having been slapped around by China after bending over backwards to look, sound and be cooperative, it is hard to find evidence of this.
At some point Ma and his government will have to start showing China — and the rest of the world, for that matter — that they have the guts to stand up to Beijing if it has no interest in cultivating mutual goodwill.
Up to half of the foreigners residing in China have departed over the past few years. The decline is particularly evident among US students, with their numbers plummeting by 98 percent, dwindling from 11,639 in the 2018-2019 academic year to a mere 211 in 2021-2022. Despite Beijing attributing the exodus to COVID-19 lockdowns, a closer examination of the data reveals that a significant portion left just before and after the lockdowns. Some foreigners who weathered the never-ending lockdowns finally decided to leave, as they were afraid that Beijing could reimpose lockdowns. However, COVID-19 is just one of many reasons that China’s
Due to enduring the Kafkaesque situation of having two accidents in 30 minutes, one involving an accident with an ambulance, I would like to share my personal experience. Both cases show the loopholes of Taiwanese law, which is a driving factor for the terrible traffic conditions in the nation. I was driving my scooter on the main road in Taoyuan’s Yangmei District (楊梅). Despite there being no cars behind me, a young man in an old car made a sudden left turn and I bumped into his vehicle. At first, the man tried to run away, but was blocked by other
The pre-eminent authority on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), last month issued an update to one of its entries, adding the term “Chinese dragon” to its lexicon for the first time. The Chinese word long (龍) has for a long time been translated simply as “dragon,” but many commentators opposed this, believing that the traditional Western concept of a dragon is represented by the embodiment of a fearsome, wicked monster that must be killed. It was deemed unsuitable to use a wicked and inauspicious Western dragon to refer to an auspicious Chinese dragon, so it was recommended that a
My recent trip to Taiwan to vote in the presidential and legislative elections was a simple civil duty. Yet, it was still an eye-opening experience for a long-time US resident, given the similarity in political divisions of the two-party system in both countries. As the Washington Post said: “This isn’t just an election year. It’s the year of elections.” Taiwan’s election was to choose between pro-democracy and pro-China. To a good extent, the US election in November would also be the decision time for defending democracy. The strength of a democratic society lies in the quality of its people, who