Saturday, May 13, 2006

Chen Returns to Taiwan, US Congress Makes Sub Purchase Easier Than Ever!

Chen is back from his 9 day trip around the world. You know your diplomatic standing is grim when the highlight of your trip is an MOU with Qaddafi of Libya and the main headline was about getting snubbed by the US.....

The biggest advance of Chen's trip was a surprise visit on Wednesday to Libya. Chen confirmed yesterday that he met with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, and that the two signed a memorandum of understanding to establish mutual representative offices and to expand bilateral commercial relations.

The president yesterday said that Qaddafi had personally given him two reasons why Libya resisted China's opposition and insisted on extending to Chen and his delegation the highest diplomatic courtesy.

First, the Libyan leader said that China itself engaged in a great deal of business activity with Taiwan, and therefore it was implausible for Beijing to try to stop Libya from having contact with Taiwan.

Second, China's military maintains relations with Israel, which is considered an enemy of the Islamic world. This has annoyed Libya and only furthered its determination to engage with Taiwan, Chen said Qaddafi told him.

Addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters outside the airport, Chen yesterday reaffirmed his determination to maximize the opportunities to increase the country's diplomatic space.

"My conclusion is: if Taiwan wants to stand up and step out in the international community, we have to make our own way. Where there is a will, there is a way ... because we are the uncrushable roses," said the president.

"Uncrushable roses?" What next? Headlines that read Chen Avers Colorless Green Ideas Do Sleep Furiously? I think Taiwan needs a better metaphor to express its will to survive.

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UPDATE: cleverClaire corrected me below:

The term "uncrushable roses" ("Ya bu bian de meigui”, 1957) is the title of a famous novel title by Yang Kui, a prominent writer in Japanese colonial period. In the novel he used a lone rose to represent the Taiwanese spirit under Japanese repression. (The book title was sometimes translated as "The Indomitable Rose".) It has since been used as a motto for any Taiwanese fight against foreign forces.
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I'm still absorbing all this drama. Lots of US Congress critters have come out in support of Chen and Taiwan, but as the Nelson Report pointed out, the Taiwan caucus is largely composed of Congresspeople who lack clout in the nation's lawmaking body. Meanwhile Congressman Ron Simmons, in whose district the submarines for Taiwan will probably be built, succeeded in getting the House to make it easier for Taiwan to buy the subs:

The US House of Representatives has given overwhelming approval to a bill intended to make it easier and more cost-effective for Taiwan to buy eight diesel-electric submarines from the US by dividing the design and construction phases and giving Taipei more options in the purchase.

The bill also contains provisions to enhance military ties between the US and Taiwan, and to penalize foreign firms that sell arms to China that could be used to attack Taiwan and engage US forces coming to Taiwan's aid.

The provisions are part of legislation that would authorize Pentagon spending and programs for fiscal 2007, which begins on Oct. 1.

The House approved the bill, 396 to 31, on Thursday after two days of lengthy debate.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where the future of these provisions are uncertain.

The Senate traditionally eliminates such narrowly-focused provisions in its authorization bills, and last year it rejected provisions identical to those in the current bill regarding US-Taiwan military relations and arms sales to China.


As the report notes, such provisions usually don't make it to the final bill. It's a nice gesture, but I did like this bit:

The submarine provision would reaffirm that the US policy is to sell the subs to Taiwan and requires the Pentagon to make available information to Taiwan on various options to help the country make good decisions on the purchase. It also calls on the Legislative Yuan to "make every effort to support the president of Taiwan" by approving funding for the purchases.

Despite positive noises from both Chairman Ma of the KMT, and Legislative Speaker Wang of the KMT, the Blues have not moved any closer to passing the arms bill. Every little bit of encouragement helps.

UPDATE: Reuters thinks it is a modest diplomatic victory for Chen...

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian returns home from a Latin American visit on Friday after surprise stops in Libya and Indonesia that gave him a modest diplomatic victory over China but drew words of caution from the United States.

Whoa!

10 comments:

cleverCLAIRE said...

The term "uncrushable roses" ("Ya bu bian de meigui”, 1957) is the title of a famous novel title by Yang Kui, a prominent writer in Japanese colonial period. In the novel he used a lone rose to represent the Taiwanese spirit under Japanese repression. (The book title was sometimes translated as "The Indomitable Rose".) It has since been used as a motto for any Taiwanese fight against foreign forces.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks Claire! How come I've never heard that phrase before?

Oh well!

Michael

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Turton said...

Iron Jackal, please stop posting here. You're not adding anything to the conversation, and your hateful comments about gays are not welcome.

Michael

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm NOT pro-green, pro-blue, pro-China, or pro-loser!!

I'm pro-USA, pro-Taiwan, and most of all, pro-winner!!!

Those are the only things that matter the most when every else just become irrelevant!!

Go ahead keep deleting. Some things will remain unchange for what they are!

Winners will always get things done and find ways to get things done!

Losers will keep running upstream on the waterfall even though they can go around it to get up there.

I'm not going to sit here tell them, 'You did your best' like the rest of you.

I'm going sit here and tell them, 'That's most goddamn half-assed job I ever have to look at'.

Iron_Jackal_TW

cleverCLAIRE said...

>>Winners will always get things done and find ways to get things done!

hmmm, so what have you accomplished by trolling all over other people's blog?

Michael Turton said...

Ok, Iron Jackal, you win. The KMT and DPP both suck, China is a winner, and all women want to have your baby.

Now, please leave. We've all absorbed your major theses. Find another blog, ok?

Michael

Anonymous said...

Michael, recommend deleting without even commenting. It's not worth your time, and trolling is about instigating a response. I think your readers trust you enough to know that you were just deleting comment spam, not hiding anything controversial.

MJ Klein said...

i would eliminate anonymous posting if i were you, Michael.