The confusion bred by the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) administration of President Ma Ying-jeou on Taiwan's relationship with the Chinese Communist Party-ruled People's Republic of China reached a new peak of absurdity last week when the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum (TCF) Deputy Secretary General Hsieh Ming-hui declared it was unnecessary for the Chinese military to dismantle over 1,000 missiles aimed at our country before the initiation of cross-strait peace talks.
Previously, Ma himself has moderated his past demand for a dismantling of the offensive weapons before talks on a cross-strait peace agreement could begin to a meaningless call for the "withdrawal" of the medium-range missiles, most of which are loaded on mobile launching platforms that can be easily "withdrawn" from coastal provinces and just as easily redeployed when desired.
Ma's position may well have moderated due to Beijing's refusal to consider any concessions on removing missiles or abandoning its claimed "right" to use force to compel Taiwan to unify with the PRC.
Speaking for the pro-KMT TCF in a news conference December 24 calling for Ma to accelerate peace talks with Beijing, Hsieh turned a possible necessity into an absurd virtue by urging Ma to drop the precondition since the People's Liberation Army missiles could protect Taiwan in a possible conflict with Japan over the competing claims over the Tiaoyutai or Senkaku islets.
Hsieh said that without such "protection" from the Chinese military, Taiwan would be at a great disadvantage since Japan, which can rely on assistance from the United States under the terms of the U.S. - Japan Security Agreement.
There are naturally a host of logical and substantive fallacies in the TCF's position, not the least of which is that it should be obvious that PLA willingness to use its missiles to "defend" Taiwan from an improbable attack by Japan would constitute a military alliance not in keeping with the purpose of a "peace" pact.
Hsieh's statement is also historically false as it is well known that the PLA began to deploy medium - range missiles and other offensive military forces across the Taiwan Strait in the early 1990s (and continues to do so) and conducted numerous military exercises based on scenarios to attack Taiwan in preparation of military action against Taiwan and against the U.S. and Japan if they assisted Taiwan.
Even pro-KMT military analysts, such as current KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang, incessantly emphasized in the 1990s that the PLA deployments were aimed at "preventing Taiwan independence" and made no mention of the notion that PRC military forces could be used to "protect" Taiwan.
Hsieh also apparently believes that most Taiwan citizens have forgotten that the PLA actually "test fired" missiles at targets near our major international ports of Kaohsiung and Keelung and over Taiwan in March 1996 as part of Beijing's rhetorical and military "intimidation" campaign against Taiwan's first democratic election and that the PRC regime has yet to retract its threat of force against Taiwan embodied in the March 2005 Anti-Secession Law.
Besides implying that Ma should make even more political concessions to Beijing, the TCA's position clearly aims to ease international pressure on the PRC, which has been expanding its military budget by double digits for nearly the past two decades, to dismantle its forward offensive deployments in the Taiwan Strait.
The floating of the possibility that the KMT government might drop even this feeble precondition reveals both the effectiveness of the "peaceful development" propaganda adopted by PRC State Chairman and CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao and the unseemly and short-sighted haste by the KMT camp to throw away all of Taiwan's bargaining chips and even international alliances in their impatience to strike a political deal with Beijing.
In the past seven months since Ma took office, the president and his KMT government have made a seemingly unending series of political concessions to the PRC beginning with openly accepting Beijing's "one China principle" in the guise of the so-called "Consensus of 1992," self-denigrating Taiwan itself from a "state" into "region," accepting the PRC's primacy on "party - to - party" negotiations and avoiding legislative oversight over cross-strait talks and, most recently, accepting Hu's "gift" of two pandas whose arrival signalled to the world Taiwan's acceptance of a status as part of the PRC.
Indeed, even though Hsieh's trial balloon has yet to be openly backed by Ma or senior KMT government officials, the TCF executive has now openly introduced the grave possibility of an alliance between the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party - ruled PRC and the betrayal of Taiwan's long-term democratic allies of the United States and Japan as the latest sacrificial offering to Beijing.
Whether such slavishness on the KMT camp's part will lead Beijing to respond with "goodwill" or by taking advantage of the apparent weak-kneed ruling KMT to intensify pressure on Taiwan remains to be seen, but the raising of the spectre of a PRC-Taiwan military alliance warns that KMT-CCP reconciliation may not bring "peace" into the Taiwan Strait after all.
++++++++++++++++US policymakers take note: this was the Horse you wanted in office, and it wants to make an alliance with the PRC -- that may not yet be formal policy, but it is clearly in the minds of many in the KMT, and the pressure for it will only grow. Taken together with Ma's "diplomatic truce" which signals that Taiwan is no longer going to take independent initiatives to gain international space, but submit to Beijing's decisions on such issues, and the Party-to-Party negotiations between what a friend of mine calls the two CCPs (Chinese Chauvinist Parties) that even now are sealing Taiwan's fate....well, soon the island will be in Beijing's orbit, and the containment policy that many in the US government think they are supporting will be annulled. Actually, it is already as dead as the Demilitarized Rhineland, only that history has yet to be written. But the first drafts of the script are already at the printer's....
China's been sending signals to Japan it wants to come to some kind of settlement on the Senkaku (Diaoyutai) Islands, which have been Japanese since 1895 but which China began claiming in 1969 after Japanese scientists announced the possibility of oil in the continental shelf around them. The US is committed by treaty to defend Japan and its associated territories, and in fact carried out naval exercises with Japan in the islands a few years ago. At some point, once Taiwan is safely annexed, China will begin to turn its attention to the Senkakus, along with other places, such as the South China Sea, where it is claiming territory no Chinese emperor ever owned.
But don't worry, there will be peace, just like there was peace after Munich (and we're going to get a better deal than the Czechs: 24 nuclear plants!). Because everyone knows that it is not in China's interest to have a war, just as it wasn't in the US interest to invade Iraq, or in the Japanese interest to bomb Pearl Harbor, or... yes, regional peace, too big to fail....
UPDATE 2: Hsieh's organization, the TCF, contains several ranking KMT politicians who serve at the Ministerial level. This should be taken seriously.
REF: Chinese military power projected itself globally this week as Chinese ships arrived to fight pirates off the Somali coast. Jonathon Adams has the call in CSM. Welcome to the future....
UPDATE: What do the people want? Commonwealth Magazine asked...from Slide 18 of its recent public opinion survey:
Who wants to be annexed to China? Less than 7% of the population! The US needs to support a valid, internationally overseen referendum of all the people of the island before there is any change in status.