Although the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration upheld the nation’s claims to the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and the South China Sea, two areas that have seen escalating disputes recently, there is a “huge” difference between the policies of the DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said in an interview on Thursday.
“Washington assumed that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would promote stable cross-strait relations — until the Diaoyutai dispute took place, when the US realized there has been a great shift in the balance of cross-strait relations,” Su told the Taipei Times.
The DPP claimed sovereignty over the islands during its eight years in power, Su said, but this did not lead to conflict with Japan.
“Fifteen rounds of fisheries talks were held during that time, while only one’s been held during Ma’s five years in office,” Su said.
Ma’s handling of the dispute has dragged China into the equation, as well the US, a stakeholder in the US-Japan Security Treaty, Su said, adding that Beijing could not assert its sovereignty over the Diaoyutais without going through Taiwan.
“His collaboration with China on the issue has also created tensions and unrest. The DPP is very clear on the issue with its four-point statement, including its pledge not to collaborate with China,” he said. “The DPP has always called for resolving the dispute through peaceful negotiations, while Ma sent coast guard vessels [in September] to fire water cannons at Japanese boats [near the Diaoyutais].”
Su said Ma’s handling of Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea also created unnecessary tensions with neighbors.
“Taiwan has had troops stationed on Itu Aba (Taiping Island, 太平島) for decades and claims sovereignty over the region, but it also respects the South China Sea code of conduct, which emphasizes negotiations rather than provocation,” he said, adding that Ma also approved a live-fire drill on Taiping last year.
“This pleased only China and raised tensions with other claimants. The DPP never backed off from its claims, but it did not provoke conflict either,” Su said.
Turning to sovereignty, Su said: “Taiwanese are unhappy with the way Ma has handled sovereignty issues.”
“He did not say a word about China’s inclusion of Taiwan as part of its territory in the new Chinese passports, but blasted the DPP three hours after the DPP issued passport stickers with the inscription ‘Taiwan is my country’ as a countermeasure to Beijing’s provocative move,” he said.
Su also accused Ma of dragging his feet on trade liberalization and efforts to join regional blocs, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Ma said Taiwan could join in eight years, and a possible attempt to accede to ASEAN’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia.
“The DPP supports free trade, period,” Su said, when asked to address protectionism.
“Taiwan should join the TPP as soon as possible, but we have to be ready to deal with the inevitable impact on domestic industries, and that’s what Ma has failed to do. All he has done is talk — there have been no substantial preparations,” He said. “It makes no sense for Ma to talk about joining the TPP in eight years because he will no longer be in office by then. He could have told people what he planned to do in four years.”
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi