On this lovely day here in Taichung, Taiwan Today gave the UDN report that, once again, the Ma Administration said there would be no peace talks with China "at this time":
Now is not the time for Taipei and Beijing to enter into negotiations over a peace treaty, according to Premier Wu Den-yih Nov. 20."It's not the time" is actually like a theme song of the Ma Administration -- whenever the Administration wants to avoid discussion, it reverts to "it's not the time." Can Taiwanese businessmen serve in local Chinese Communist offices? "Not the time." Can the Dalai Lama come? "It's not the time." Ma, Sept 2008: "It's not the time" to have peace negotiations with China. It's not likely that unification talks will be held "in our lifetimes," says Ma.
“Cross-strait peace talks cannot be conducted until a consensus has been reached in Taiwan,” Wu said, adding that such negotiations were impossible without stronger public support. “A win-win solution is only in the offing if Beijing faces the reality of divided rule in the strait and treats Taiwan with parity and dignity.”
Wu said Beijing must do more to back Taipei’s efforts at seeking greater international space and dismantle its missiles targeting Taiwan. “The mainland has to make an important gesture such as scaling back its escalating military threat against Taiwan,” he said. “This will help promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.”
But now is that time, for at the press conference Wu was asked by local reporters "but isn't Lien negotiating just such an agreement?" and would not answer. The Ma Administration isn't the only entity attempting to deal with China -- the KMT Old Guard led by Honorary Chairman Lien has its own agenda. Ma appointed Lien Chan the island's rep to the APEC talks, which speaks volumes about how much China likes Lien, and how little Ma can do about it, and Hu went with the public line that the two nations were putting aside political issues to focus on economic ones. But it is hard to imagine that they didn't have a long discussion in private about how best to annex Taiwan to China, and more importantly, who will get the concrete rewards.
Wu also called for the removal of missiles facing Taiwan. This message has now been sent to China many times by both US Establishment writers and by the Ma Administration, so far falling on deaf ears. I can see the set-up now: China "reduces" or "removes" missiles in response to entreaties, the world swoons at the greatness of China, peace prizes handed out like candy. Fortunately the coming Obama surge in Afghanistan will do great damage to the prestige of the peace prize -- people always complain that the US arrogantly doesn't understand the world, but the Nobel for Obama shows that the compliment is returned: the world doesn't understand the US either. Feeling a strong Chinese cultural moment coming on here: Foreigners can never understand our nation. I guess I've assimilated....
Either way, China wins -- the missiles go and the world admires, the missiles stay and Taiwan perspires. Still, they are so useful to China it is hard to imagine Beijing deciding to do away with them.
As Stocks and Politics points out, Ma is fading in the polls: Global Views has him at 29%. He isn't showing up on campaign ads although he is stumping for local KMT politicos. What kind of leverage does he have in his own party at the moment?
Anyone catch this: although Taiwan is not engaging in peace talks, and the government has sworn it will never waver even one inch on sovereignty, the government announced that it concedes the waters around Kinmen and Matsu to China. The KMT cultural policy relentlessly continues too: the Vice Premier today touted Taiwan as the "heartland" of Chinese culture:
"Taiwan is the geographic heartland of Chinese culture and the hub for the use of traditional Chinese characters. It should therefore make the best use of these advantages to promote Minnan (southern Fujian) and Hakka cultures in a market of two billion Chinese people," said Chu.This was at an international exhibition where he was commenting on Mandarin -- the international language of the 21st century -- another long-cherished dream of Chinese. The Ma Administration has been pushing its "Chineseness with Taiwanese characteristics" as an avowedly assimilationist answer to the problem of the rising Taiwan identity: by repositioning it as a Chinese identity. Here Chu says: it ain't Taiwanese, it's Minnan, and it's Chinese. As Taiwan moves closer to China, many in the Taiwanese mainlander camp are going to discover the contradiction at the heart of their Chinese identity: it is a Taiwan-based Chinese identity, and it contains a separate and not-Chinese Taiwan within. Will they be as confused about how to reconcile Taiwan and China as the KMT appears to be? Only time will tell.
- Luby on a new book by Chinese dissident that urges Taiwanese to defend their freedoms.
- It is incredible that anyone as stupid as David Brooks is paid to write by a publication as prestigious as the New York Times. It's not that Brooks' work is crap, useful as fertilizer at least; rather, his work is like toxic waste, fit only for burying at the greatest possible distance from civilized humanity.
- Global Voices with collection of Taiwan bloggers on the Central Taiwan Science Park dispute.
- Export orders see first rise in 14 months. Our jobless rate fell too.
- AIT head says that Obama wanted to mention Taiwan Relations Act, and that the US has never wavered in its non-recognition of China's claim to own Taiwan.
- Greenpeace says the Taiwan government tolerates illegal tuna overfishing.
- A Methodist whitewash of Mrs. Chiang Kai-Shek in American Spectator.
- A foreigner sells Feng Shui artifacts on his blog.
- Video: Mordeth13, big bikes, police, foreign media.
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