The recent detention of a Taiwanese fishing boat by Japanese authorities has underscored that if Taiwan were to give up the “ace in its sleeve” — improved cross-strait relations — it would be accorded less dignified treatment, a former national security official said on Saturday.
Former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) said that Japan’s attitude toward Taiwan is a warning signal to president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the incoming Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
Su said that a comparison of Japan’s behavior over the recent incident and a similar one eight years ago is an indication of how Taiwan would be treated if cross-strait relations deteriorate.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
He was referring to Japan’s detention on Monday last week of a Taiwanese fishing boat east-southeast of Okinotori, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean that belongs to Japan.
Taiwan maintains that Okinotori is no more than a reef, and that the Taiwanese vessel was operating on the high seas rather than in waters within the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone claimed by Japan — which considers the atoll an island.
This is in stark contrast to a similar incident that occurred eight years ago, Su said, referring to a collision between a recreational fishing boat from Taiwan and a Japanese Coast Guard vessel in disputed waters in the East China Sea in June 2008.
Japan later apologized and offered compensation.
Su said that Japan’s about-face can be attributed to the international community’s assessment that Taiwan wants to give up its biggest advantage — the improvement in cross-strait relations that has taken place during President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) tenure.
If the cross-strait relationship is not in a good state, Taiwan would have to rely on the US and Japan more, even if both countries do not necessarily consider Taiwan to be important, Su said.
China has repeatedly said that the so-called “1992 consensus” is the foundation for cross-strait exchanges, but the DPP has never recognized its existence.
The “1992 consensus” — a term Su admitted making up in 2000 when he was the Mainland Affairs Council chairman — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Su on Saturday said that Tsai’s incoming administration seems to lack communication channels with China, and the situation would become more dangerous after Tsai’s inauguration.
Su said that a decrease in the number of Chinese tourists and the elimination of a cross-strait hotline, as well as the delayed arrival of an invitation letter for Taiwan to attend the World Health Assembly annual conference scheduled to take place from May 23 to May 28, indicated the absence of communication.
He urged Tsai to rethink her cross-strait policies and communicate with China for the sake of Taiwan’s interests.
“If there is no communication [after May 20], it will make for a precarious situation,” Su said, adding that the DPP administration should remember that “wisdom is most important.”
‘FAILED TACTICS’: A lawmaker said Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan’s success at boosting its ties internationally have boosted identification as Taiwanese Self-identification as “Taiwanese and Chinese,” or solely as “Chinese,” has dropped to record lows, while 63.3 percent of the public regard themselves as Taiwanese, a survey released on Tuesday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center showed. Respondents identifying as Taiwanese and Chinese dropped to 31.4 percent, while those identifying solely as Chinese fell to 2.7 percent, the survey showed. The results reflect changes in attitudes since 1994 among Taiwanese toward independence and unification with China, as well as self-identification trends since 1992, commenters said. Support for independence was 25.8 percent, while about 5 percent of respondents said that they want the nation
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected the claim Beijing has been making about Taiwan’s status, while thanking US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for raising concerns about Taiwan during her meeting with Chinese officials. Sherman met with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on a visit to Tianjin on Sunday and Monday, with Wang urging Washington not to infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan is part of China, a fundamental fact that would never change, and China has the right to take any action needed to restrain Taiwanese independence, Wang said, urging Washington to abide