That is why the current administration, like previous administrations, is very pleased with what happened in the last two years. And we will continue to reduce the risks so that we will purchases arms from the United States , but we will never ask the Americans to fight for Taiwan . This is something that is very, very clear.These remarks caused a public outcry, but since we all knew which side Ma wants to align himself with, it's more of the same, though a bit more openly than normal. In any case Ma can sidle out of it any time by saying "...not Taiwan, but the ROC should be fought for." Remember always that in Ma's view "Taiwan" is just a region in the Chinese imperium.
Furthermore, Ma must know perfectly well that the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) does not include Taiwan itself in the decision loop about whether to defend the island, and thus, knows that "Taiwan" need not ask. America will do what it wants to, period.
Finally, from a practical standpoint, this is the fourth time Ma has answered a closely related question on the US and defending Taiwan. There may not be any real meaning to this, nothing more to see here than an exasperated overstatement from a non-native English speaker. Here's what she asked:
AMANPOUR: That was US President Barak Obama speaking to students in Shanghai last November. As we continue our discussion with President Ma, we asked him which power is rising in the east. I wanted to carry on this conversation with the US-Taiwan relationship but of course the US-China relationship, many have thought over the past years and decade that this is the issue that would cause a conflict or could cause a conflict between China and the United States. Do you think that that is still a realistic concern?The whole point of all this repetition was to get Ma to say something controversial, which he obliged.
AMAPOUR: Well on that note you were talking before we went to a break with the need to sort of de-escalate any notion of an arms race. And of course, recently it was announced more than 6 billions of arms from the United States to Taiwan and that obviously caused a fairly stiff response in Beijing and I want to play you what the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said about that.
AMANPOUR: And yet many Americans are saying, you know is it really worth given how extended America is in Iraq, in Afghanistan and fighting terrorism. Is it worth the risk of going to war on behalf of Taiwan? So again, the question that I wanted to ask you is, what do you think would happen if the US started to reduce arms sales to Taiwan in order to improve relations with China? And that's your goal too to improve relations with China?
AMANPOUR: Obviously you've spoken about the Chinese missiles pointed towards Taiwan but let me ask you a quick response if you can, to the question that's sometimes posed here, why should Americans risk so much on behalf of Taiwan?
In any case, Ma, who is strongly backed by American global financial firms, is merely mouthing things he thinks his backers in the US want to hear. Note that at the same time he continued to call for arms sales. The cynical among us might recall that years ago Ma promised the US he'd get those weapons sales moving in the legislature, back when he was Chairman of the KMT. Still no sign of new F-16s... After that, President Ma also promises to sell us a bridge....
Meanwhile the real integration continues apace, with Chinese financial services firms now entering Taiwan....
Link to the CNN transcript of the interview
Mainland Chinese banks, insurance companies and securities firms will soon be competing for Taiwan’s financial services market following a Cabinet decision to further ease regulatory controls May 3.
Under the new policy, mainland firms can set up representative offices in Taiwan. Insurance carriers and securities houses from across the strait are also permitted to take stakes in their local counterparts.
As for understanding the impact of the upcoming integration, read Harold Myerson's excellent commentary from last year on the US Congress' vote to send America's industry to China...
Some foresaw the problems that would be unleashed. By nearly a two-to-one margin, House Democrats refused to ratify the agreement when it came to a vote in May 2000, but enough Democrats aligned with Republicans to ensure passage. (In the Senate, both parties favored it overwhelmingly.) Along with union leaders, many House Democrats predicted that the pact would cost American jobs and deepen, rather than lessen, our trade deficit. That they were right while mainstream economists and representatives of economic elites were wrong has not increased their credibility among mainstream economists and economic elites.....alongside Lin Cho-shui's wonderful piece today on Ma's debate with Tsai -- how wrong the man was in each of his claims....
Finally, Ma said that even if restrictions are lifted on the more than 800 Chinese agricultural products currently banned from Taiwan, this would still be less than the 900 items permitted for import by the DPP administration. He also said that an ECFA would have less of an impact on Taiwan than WTO accession.O brave new world....
In fact, the Chinese agricultural products approved for importation by the DPP were those that Taiwan does not produce. In contrast, the 800 Chinese agricultural products that are still barred are sensitive items produced in both Taiwan and China. The same applies to industrial products.
How is it, then, that the impact of ECFA on Taiwan would be less than that of accession to the WTO?
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