A TV commercial released by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) accusing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of stalling the nation’s development, featuring a woman clad in traditional Korean dress with captions saying that South Korea — which has just reached a consensus with China on a free-trade agreement — is grateful to the opposition party for accelerating its trade deal with China has not only incurred criticism in Taiwan, but has also been frowned upon by foreign media.
The protagonist in the commercial, “Who Made South Korea Smirk [at Taiwan]?” is sitting at a table covered in playing cards decorated with either the Republic of China (ROC) or the South Korean national flag. As she turns them over, the ones with the South Korean flag always turn out to be aces, beating the queens bearing the ROC flag.
The voice-over says: “South Korea says: ‘Thank you, DPP, for blocking the bills in the legislature.’ South Korea says: ‘Thank you Taiwan, please take your time following us.’ Who will say sorry for Taiwan’s lost opportunities? Who will say sorry to the next generation? Who has allowed South Korea to snicker?”
Photo: Newsis Web site
Yang Chien-hao (楊虔豪), an independent reporter stationed in Seoul, said in an article published on the Thinking Taiwan Web site that the government has not made any effort to help the public understand the China-South Korea free-trade agreement, but it has been “blackmailing voters by stirring up anti-Korean sentiment.”
On a Facebook page Yang set up for his report on South Korea, he said that one of South Korea’s three biggest news agencies has reported on the commercial in an article entitled: “Taiwan’s ruling party uses [South] Korea as the material for its negative TV ad as part of its local election campaign.”
According to a translation posted online by a netizen, the report said that the KMT “publicly uses [South] Korea in its negative TV ad to criticize the largest opposition party due to its bleak election prospects.”
Commercials like these are used by the KMT to remind the public of the possible economic impact of a China-South Korea free-trade agreement and to pass the buck to the opposition party, which opposes signing the cross-strait service trade agreement, the report said.
Tokyo Keizai, a Japanese weekly magazine, put it more bluntly: “Swept by anti-Korea commercial! Taiwan’s overheated election campaign: The KMT has pushed anti-Korea sentiment to the fore in Taiwan’s local election.”
Deputy editor Fukuda Keisuke said that it was not the first time that the KMT has attacked the DPP by using anti-Korean sentiment.
“It almost seems like the KMT regards [South] Korea as its cheerleader ... In 2007, the KMT compared [South] Korea’s GDP to Taiwan’s as part of its propaganda against the DPP administration,” he wrote.
Compared with the KMT’s self-pity, South Korea, the “supposed competitor,” has not paid much attention to Taiwan, he wrote, adding that while there might be a lot of self-satisifed reports in South Korea on the signing of the agreement, “you don’t see remarks like: ‘We’re better off than Taiwan.’”
“Nothing productive can be generated by this kind of comparison,” he wrote.
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