Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) over the weekend said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was “extending” domestic politics abroad by sending a delegation headed by King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), executive director of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign, to the US just days ahead of her long-planned trip.
While Tsai’s assessment of King’s visit was likely right on target, it nevertheless came across as somewhat childish. Yes, as the party in power, the KMT could send delegations to the US any time of the year, and yes, the timing of King’s visit is conspicuous. That being said, there is no rule that says the KMT cannot send a delegation abroad whenever DPP officials embark on a foreign trip.
Both Tsai and King, certainly not by coincidence, are scheduled to give speeches at Harvard University on Thursday. Rather than engage in recriminations and conspiracy theories, the DPP presidential candidate should instead use King’s presence to contrast her policies with those of Ma.
Her main task while in the US should not be to disparage the KMT for trying to “undermine” her visit — rhetoric that is certain to have little appeal with Taiwanese-Americans and potential supporters in academia — but rather to prove to an audience that may be a little skeptical that a new DPP administration would be one that Washington could work with.
There is no doubt that Tsai’s party has an image handicap overseas, mostly the result of the previous DPP administration’s less-than-stellar track record and, even more importantly, a sustained propaganda campaign in the media — both in Taiwan and abroad — that tends to favor the KMT.
Tsai now has a golden opportunity to allay fears that an “irrational” DPP would spark armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait and show the world that under her guidance, the party would not only avoid past mistakes, but is in fact better equipped to protect the rights and interests of Taiwanese.
Of course, such convincing is easier said than done, and Tsai will need to summon all her oratorical skills to present a platform that consists of more than sloganeering. There is a desire among many US officials and academics to work with Tsai for the benefit of a free Taiwan, but that will is oftentimes constrained by the great uncertainty surrounding her policies.
Defense — a key aspect of the US-Taiwan relationship — is an area where Tsai’s camp has yet to provide clear and reassuring leadership. Here is a chance for her, while in the US, to show that she would be a strong commander-in-chief where her predecessor, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), was perceived as weak by the armed forces, and suffered as a result.
Tsai should use this opportunity to demonstrate that her party has a “Plan B” for Oct. 2, the day after US President Barack Obama’s administration announces its final decision on the proposed F-16 sale to Taiwan. While the Ma administration, the KMT and the Ministry of National Defense have all failed to come up with alternatives should the F-16C/D sale be denied — a likely scenario — Tsai should be heading to the US with a list of alternatives and prescriptions.
Whether she has those remains to be seen, but one thing is sure: Engaging in mudslinging with King on US soil, and thereby extending domestic politics abroad, will not win her points — not at home and certainly not in the US.
Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr in a letter to an unnamed US senator on Feb. 9 said that China has offered to “fill every hotel room,” in Palau, “and more if more are built” if the small island nation were to break ties with Taiwan. The letter further claims that China offered US$20 million per year for the creation of a “call center” in Palau, a nation whose economy relies heavily on tourism. It is more evidence that for China, tourism is an economic tool for its political gain. Cleo Paskal, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, posted
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
It has been a year since China relaxed the “zero COVID-19” measures that had been stifling economic activity, but the country has yet to experience the rebound that policymakers and pundits anticipated. Instead, economic indicators from last year have painted a disheartening picture. The fallout from the massive property developer Evergrande’s 2021 collapse is far from over, and the sector continues to struggle, even after the Chinese government relaxed purchasing restrictions in cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai. China’s financial health has also declined as local government debt has snowballed, leading Moody’s to downgrade the country’s credit outlook in December last year.
Amid the intensifying Sino-US strategic rivalry, Beijing has become more vocal about its coercive “wolf warrior” diplomacy. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) condemned the US-led “containment, encirclement and suppression of China” at last year’s annual National People’s Congress in Beijing. Xi went on to say that China must “have the courage to fight” in the face of complicated changes at home and abroad. Taiwan is still a very sensitive subject for US-China relations. Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Wang Yi (王毅) emphasized that Taiwan was “China’s internal affair” and reiterated that “Taiwan is part of China” during his talk last month with