A Taiwanese newspaper reported Thursday that the U.S. will sell the democratic island two warships, a move that would almost certainly anger China and further undermine Beijing's already tense relations with Washington.1. The report says that Beijing will be angered, though this has not occurred yet. In fact that sale is not slated for approval until some time from now, and the systems involved are old and minor. Note that we are told only Beijing's projected response, not the US nor Taiwan positions on this sale. From the beginning Beijing's perspective dominates.
2. The sale "undermines" relations, a viciously negative word that again adopts a pro-Beijing viewpoint. Neutral words for effect abound in English: alter, affect, impact.... Further note that undermine normalizes Beijing's anger as a response. One could have written with equal fairness and greater respect for the truth that Beijing's policy of "being angry" undermines relations between Beijing and Washington.
After describing the proposed sale, the article continues:
Any new sale of U.S. military hardware to Taiwan could be expected to incense China. The mainland and the island split amid civil war in 1949, and Beijing sees third country involvement in the island's defense as interference in its internal affairs.1. The bullshit "split in 1949 amid civil war" formulation again. No need to reiterate.
2. Of course we are told Beijing's perspective again. No perspective from Taiwan on how it might see Beijing. Nor are we ever told in this article why the US might want to sell weapons to Taiwan or why Taiwan might want them. The premise of the article is that the weapons sale occurs in a political and military vacuum which it disturbs.
3. Again we are told Beijing will be incensed. The article does not convey that "being incensed" is a policy decision, not a visceral reaction. The article does not provide any support for this claim, such as a quote from an expert:
A political scientist at National Taiwan University, Professor A. Frank Quisling, argues that Beijing....Nor why Beijing will be "incensed" over the sale of two 40 year old subhunting ships, except for further down it mentions Beijing's "anger" over the last arms sale. The article also nowhere suggests that it might be inappropriate to become angered over such a puny arms sale.
Finally, wouldn't it be a good idea to wait and see what Beijing actually does, rather than propagandizing for its policy of using "anger" to manage its relations with foreign countries and to impact foreign media reporting?
AP then says:
Long dormant tensions between Washington and Beijing resurfaced last month when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an Asian forum in Hanoi, Vietnam, that the U.S. regarded settlement of a series of territorial disputes between China and several Asian countries in the South China Sea as being in America's national interest.Again we are given the Chinese perspective. No context is given for Sec of State Clinton's announcement, because of course such a context would reflect negatively on Beijing. Imagine if that paragraph had begun In response to recent aggressive moves by Beijing.... I'll bet the editors of AP wonder why people read blogs... Although the last sentence, which hints that maybe Beijing might be a bit of a bully, moves in the right direction.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry described those comments - and Clinton's demand that the disputes be resolved through multilateral negotiations - as "an attack." China prefers to address the disputes bilaterally because it believes that approach works to its advantage.
Finally, the laugher:
Washington transferred recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but is legally committed to helping Taiwan defend itself against possible Chinese attack.Dear AP: it is now 2010. The text of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) has been publicly available for thirty-one years. Maybe someone in the AP editor's office should read it, because nowhere in it does it require the US "to help Taiwan defend itself against possible Chinese attack." But just in case anyone is confused, please read this post, also written in response to the same AP eff-up three freaking years ago. Time to stop writing that shit, really.
Meanwhile AFP, always ready to step up to the plate and hit one out of the ballpark for Beijing, spewed:
A Chinese envoy who was shoved to the ground by a pro-independence politician on his last visit to Taiwan shrugged off the incident as he returned to the island Sunday.Nowhere does this article report that it is likely he only fell (see my long post with many links including videos) or even that there is an alternative story, or that the video is ambiguous, or that Zhang is a thug who has many times threatened to murder everyone in Taiwan who does not agree with his political stance. A totally slanted piece. Compare this with Taiwan News more balanced approach which takes in all sides and reports Zhang's actual role:
"I respected Taiwan's judicial ruling" on the attack, Zhang Mingqing, the vice president of China's quasi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, said after flying into Taoyuan airport.
The incident occurred in October 2008 when Wang Ting-yu, a councillor in Tainan, and a group of his supporters pushed Zhang over as the Chinese envoy was touring the southern Taiwanese city, a hotbed of anti-China feeling.
The fracas was caught on camera and triggered fury in China, with the Beijing government calling for "severe punishment" of the attackers.
Wang was convicted of assault in September last year and sentenced to a four-month jail term. On appeal, that was reduced to a fine of 122,000 Taiwan dollars (3,800 US).
Zhang Mingqing, a vice chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, visited a park near a Confucian temple in Tainan when he was surrounded by opponents of China’s claims of sovereignty over Taiwan and landed on the ground.I don't actually expect AFP to improve; I merely place this here as additional data.
Zhang accused his opponents of pushing and shoving him, but the accused said he had fallen over a tree root.
Zhang first gained prominence in Taiwan as a spokesman on Taiwanese affairs in the years when China regularly issued threats against the island to underline its claims of sovereignty.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!