Sunday, April 05, 2009

Corrections: No mil-mil contacts between Taiwan and China

A Defense News piece by veteran Asian military affairs reporter Wendell Minnick notes that there is no Taiwan-China military to military contact; the previous report was incorrect:

Media reports that the U.S. Pacific Command (PaCom) is sponsoring a military-to-military dialogue between China and Taiwan for this summer appear to be incorrect.

Over the past week, media reports here have indicated China and Taiwan would conduct military discussions in Hawaii sponsored by PaCom. These reports are erroneous, sources here and in Washington say.

China and Taiwan will send senior military officers to attend the Transnational Security Cooperation Course provided by the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), a U.S. Department of Defense-funded think tank based in Hawaii. This has been exaggerated as a formal military-to-military meeting by the local press, a Taiwan defense official said.

"Yes, this is an old issue," a former U.S. military official said. "The Chinese had sent guys to the APCSS course, but withdrew once an invitation was sent to the Taiwan military to send students. It settled into a one year Taiwan, next year China, next year Taiwan, etc. I don't recall them both going at the same time, but I could be wrong. In general, it's just not a big deal."
In other corrections, my man Ben Goren wrote in to correct Peter Williams' correction of Michael Wise's letter on Taiwan as a province. Ben noted:
Thus, whilst Williams is correct to assert that Taiwan was a prefecture of Fujian Province and a declared province in its own right for 10 years, it was nevertheless not a part of “China” nor the “Republic of China” (ROC) at any time before 1945. If anything, only a small section of the country was part of the Qing Dynasty for 212 years — a short period of time in Taiwan’s history.

Because the birth of the ROC in 1912 marked the first time that “China” became a modern, “unified” nation, at a time when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, it is again inaccurate to claim that Taiwan has ever been a part of “China.”

By downplaying or ignoring the “ownership” of Taiwan by Aborigines before 1624, scholars contrive a “Chinese” historical narrative that is both very recent in nature and a convenient fudge born of a political agenda. It is more accurate to state that only a part of Taiwan was briefly a prefecture and then a province of the Qing Dynasty.
This kind of historical construction that creates a "Taiwan" that is a province of "China" is actually recapitulating Chinese propagandistic construction of history that are designed to facilitate Chinese claims over Taiwan. It's high time westerners stopped using them.

Corrections of another kind failed this week when the wife of one of the most corrupt public officials in Taiwan history, the legendary Chu An-hsiung, who bought the entire Kaohsiung City Council so he could be elected speaker, and then fled to China, also failed to turn herself in to begin a jail sentence.

Kaohsiung prosecutors yesterday said former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Wu Der-mei (吳德美) failed to report to prosecutors on Friday to start her eight-and-a-half-year prison term.

Chung Chung-hsiao (鍾忠孝), spokesman for the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office, told reporters that Wu should have appeared at the district prosecutors’ office at 3pm on Friday, but that her son, accompanied by lawyers, had paid the office a visit on Friday morning to apply for a delay to Wu’s prison time, claiming that Wu suffered a bone fracture and was in no condition to be jailed.

Wu was confined to a wheelchair, Chung quoted Wu’s son as saying.

Chung said that while prosecutors were considering the application, they remained alert to the possibility that she might attempt to escape.

Wu received her final sentence earlier this year for embezzling about NT$2 billion (US$58.8 million) from her company, An Feng Group.
Former KMT officials embezzle zillions and then flee to China so regularly there is probably a dedicated ferry service for them. This case is especially odious: Wu is the wife of a famously corrupt public official (who himself jumped bail) from a party where one could name dozens of politicians who jumped bail, or simply fled to China ahead of the law, but she isn't treated as a flight risk and is not denied bail. Chen Shui-bian, however, who is not a flight risk, can't be let out of jail, and no one is allowed to see him.

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David said...

Michael, you were too modest to mention that you also had a letter on the same topic as Ben. Both letters were excellent.

Robert R. said...

I'm glad to hear that an officer of the court, or even a media member went to verify Mrs. Wu's condition... or to get her passport, or even give her a lift to the hospital.

Ah wait, I must've imagined that. never mind

Michael Turton said...

Thanks David, Ben's letter was quite good.

Ben Goren said...

Thanks to both for your nice reviews ... actually I thought it was a left followed by an up cut tko - I hit the historical record and you mike hit the logic of the argument.

Anonymous said...

And the idea of the nation-state with highly controlled and defined borders is also a very modern idea.

What it looks like empires used to do is that they would make declarations about what other empires could or could not do. So Taiwan, as it was the case in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, was declared to be the Qing Empire's little playground to colonize and exploit. Then, it was given to Japan to be its little sandbox. So regardless of any actual control, what the people in Taiwan think, these empire-states engage in something like trading "drilling rights" on different territories whether or not they are capable of and do "drill".

There are really interesting parallels with the way China tries to talk about Taiwan today. Ignoring the actuality of Taiwan being a functioning multi-ethnic democracy with control of its borders, military and police, judicial system... China just unilaterally declares that Taiwan is a "holy, inseparable part of China's territory". Isn't that just repeating history with big powers making outlandish claims and asking other big powers to go along?

Anonymous said...

So, she was ill and confined to a wheelchair? Let's see...... When was that ever an acceptable excuse for A-Bian's wife - even though she did miss court dates because of it...