The US has announced it is going to back Taiwan for observer status at the WHA. Taiwan's foreign policy has grown so pathetic, it is front page news when we can observe an assembly. When this occurs, be prepared for a blizzard of announcements from the foreign policy community about how this demonstrates the great benevolence of China, and what an awesome breakthrough it is. Peace in our time, baby.
Speaking of breakthroughs, the ECFA framework for economic cooperation between
Chairman Tsai of the DPP, speaking at a local forum, observed:
Tsai said it was a pity that Ma did not attend yesterday’s meeting, which focused on various issues related to the signing of an ECFA, and that he had missed a chance to listen to the voice of the people and address concerns about inking an ECFA with China.Lai Shin-yuan, head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), countered that ECFA had nothing to do with sovereignty:
“I will not meet Ma if a real debate on signing an ECFA and other national issues is not possible ... If Ma continues to ignore the voice of the people and continues to push the ECFA, people will be left with only one choice — to shout angrily on May 17 so Ma can hear their voices,” she said, referring to a demonstration scheduled to be held in Taipei by the DPP, pro-localization groups and groups representing traditional industries.
Noting that last week Ma led government officials in paying tribute to the Yen Emperor, Tsai said: “If the president’s mind is always lingering on thoughts of a motherland in a distant place, people have to worry if the president would protect the nation or whether Taiwan’s best interests will be put in jeopardy?”
As an ECFA is purely an economic agreement unrelated to the issue of sovereignty and a referendum was therefore unnecessary, Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said as she debated signing an ECFA with China at the Taiwan Citizen Conference on National Affairs.Note how it follows that since ECFA is unrelated to sovereignty, there need not be any public oversight. The claim that ECFA won't affect sovereignty is meant not only to reassure the public that the sell out isn't really going on, but also to support a further claim that ECFA need not have democratic oversight. The Ma Administration's strategy has been to isolate the KMT-CCP agreements from public, democratic oversight in Taiwan, something the DPP has complained vociferously about.
Lai said an ECFA aimed to establish a fair trade agreement with Beijing and remove certain restrictions that Beijing has in place on Taiwanese goods. She said the agreement was not a free trade agreement (FTA), which in some countries requires a referendum for approval.
“We are clear about China’s intentions on unification, but the government will insist on the Republic of China’s [ROC] freedom, democracy and sovereignty,” Lai said.
Unconvinced by Lai’s remarks, Chinese political analyst Ruan Ming (阮銘) told the forum that signing an ECFA with China would be tantamount to a “trick.”
Ruan also warned that pro-China supporters in the nation were seeking to create a new identity for Taiwanese, which aimed to make Taiwanese accept the idea that there is “one China” in the world and that Taiwan belongs to China.
It's a shame the article couldn't give a taste of who Ruan Ming is: a former CCP official, an assistant to Hu Yaobang....
Why is all this moving so quickly? Well, 2011 is coming up, the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the ROC. Look for something big. Visions of Nobels must be dancing in the heads of Hu and Ma for creating a treaty that will surely lead to peace in our time. One would note that such an award would completely discredit the Nobel Peace Prize, if Kissinger did not already have one.
Born an ROC citizen in 1931, the now -visiting professor at Taiwan's Tamkang University became a member of the communist party and then a citizen of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
The 71-year-old academic from Shanghai was Hu's special assistant between 1977 and 1982.
As one of the most prominent intellectuals in China at the time, Ruan was also one of the people that helped draft documents announced by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (
鄧小平) in the Chinese Communist Party Congress.
Though he served the communist party for years, Ruan, however, has been an advocate of democracy throughout his life.
China is putting pressure on Taiwan in a number of ways. As Jon Adams noted in an article on China's isolation of Taiwan in the CSR recently:
China has made an economic agreement with Taiwan a precondition for any free trade agreements between Taiwan and other nations. In 2004 it blocked a free trade agreement between Taiwan and Singapore, and has also pressured Japan not to sign one. The US has from time to time discussed an FTA with Taiwan, but the Korean FTA comes first, and that one is DOA in the US Congress at the moment. I've also heard that Japan is quietly waiting on a US-Taiwan FTA before it will commit, though the DPP attempted to get one with Japan. A commentator on one of the lists I'm on pointed out that Taiwanese investments in ASEAN countries are of the type that do not much involve local businesses, hence, they do not create constituencies for it in nations like Vietnam. These factors only serve to magnify China's already enormous clout.
Since then, Taiwan has watched fretfully from the wings as Asian neighbors lower tariffs, ink trade pacts, and schmooze at regional conferences.
It was left out of China's trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will create the world's largest free trade area (encompassing some 2 billion people) and eliminate tariffs on most goods by next year.
This weekend, China announced a $10 billion ASEAN-China infrastructure investment cooperation fund, plus another $15 billion in credit to ASEAN nations, designed to help them out of the global economic doldrums – with Taiwan again shut out.Meanwhile, South Korea has signed its own trade pact with ASEAN, and is in talks with the United States and the European Union. Taiwan has tried but failed to interest those parties in trade talks
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