According to a document obtained by the Taipei Times, the government’s basic position, in the context of the ROC’s relations to China, is that the ROC has a territorial claim over the Diaoyutais and believes that the territorial dispute should be resolved through peaceful means, and not in concert with the Chinese. It also holds that fishermen’s rights are the priority.It's hard to believe that Ma himself did not approve of this, since the discussions have been held at the highest level and the Senkakus is an area Ma takes a personal interest in. Think about what it implies:
Second, the government does not dispute China’s territorial claims to the islands because China is still part of the ROC as Article 4 of the ROC Constitution states: “The territory of the Republic of China, according to its existing national boundaries, shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly.”
In addition, as the islands are effectively under the control of Japan, the incidents so far have involved Japanese patrols either expelling or detaining Taiwanese or Chinese fishing vessels involved in incidents within the territorial waters of the Diaoyutais. The disputes exist between Japan and Taiwan, or Japan and China, and do not directly involve both Taiwan and China. Therefore, there is no cause for China and Taiwan to protest against each other, but aim solely at Japan, the document says.
The document also noted that there is no dispute over territorial claims to the Diaoyutais with China under the (so-called) “1992 consensus.”
The governance of the Diaoyutais comes under the administrative jurisdiction of the Dasi (大溪) administrative unit in Toucheng Township (頭城), Yilan County, so the ROC government reserves the right to expel or detain any -Chinese fishing vessels found to be operating in commercial fishing grounds surrounding the islands jointly claimed by Taiwan and Japan, the document added.
Sources said some Cabinet members have privately expressed reservations about the interpretation expressed in the document, concerned about the implications regarding Taiwan’s position vis-a-vis the “one China” policy.
1 -- a de facto alliance between the KMT government of Taiwan and Beijing against Japan in the Senkakus. Thus the joint KMT-CCP united front is aimed at Japan. At present. Japan is probably viewed as a good target -- it is a leading exporter to China, and an important US ally, and abusing Japan stokes domestic nationalism in China. But this is an important test of the US. It should also signal to policymakers in Washington where the KMT will go if the US does not apply the brakes somewhere. Hello Washington: we told you where Ma would go. This is only the beginning, the equivalent of the KMT-CCP axis clearing its throat in front of the microphone. As Taiwan falls further into China's orbit, Beijing will only become more aggressive.
Ask yourself: despite the mad claims of some, there was never any threat of war between Taiwan and China during the Chen Administration. And even if there had been a war, the US could plausibly have abstained from participation. But the US is bound by treaty to defend Japan and the Senkakus. China will continue to test Japan with its seaborne militia, its fishing boat fleet. But more aggressive military actions are likely as well, with all the potential for stupidity igniting conflict that such moves imply. Now imagine if (Japan-educated) DPP politician Frank Hsieh were President. What would this conflict look like? Would there be one? Would Beijing have an ally in Taipei?
Yea, verily, beware the law of unintended consequences.
2 -- The ROC government "reserves the right" to expel Chinese fishing vessels. But note that it does not affirm that it will do so. Indeed, it implies that it will let such vessels carry out fishing there since both Chinas agree the Senkakus are Chinese and fishing vessels from China have just as much a right to be there as those from Taiwan.
3 -- the ROC claims it is the government of China, not merely as a kind of ideological formality, but as an active component of its foreign policy that can bring it into clashes with other nations. Welcome to the 1950s, folks.
4 -- Disagreements between Taipei and Beijing in these matters are being handled under the 1992 Consensus which does not exist and which China has indicated that it does not recognize.
4 -- what does the KMT-CCP united front aim at next? If China claims something, the ROC also claims something. Does this work in reverse? Remember the ROC still has an ambiguous claim to Mongolia, but China appears to have given up all claims. What if China decided to work this game in some other area based on an ROC claim?
5 -- On the horizon: watch for the burgeoning claim to Okinawa to begin to rear its ugly head. It's a natural concommitant of the claim to the Senkakus. No doubt claims to other islands in that area such as the Yoniguni -- the Senkakus are closer to the Yonigunis than to Taiwan -- will follow as well. At present the yearning to annex Okinawa is seldom publicly mentioned. Yet a friend of mine posted to his Facebook account the other day that in Okinawa people are already talking about China claiming Okinawa. And rabid nationalists of Chinese extraction feel that Okinawa is a "stolen territory." Just as the 20th century was spent dealing with the consequences of German unification in the 19th, so the 21st will be spent dealing with the consequences of Chinese expansion in the 20th.
6 -- domestic ramifications. It will be interesting to see what happens when a document like this makes its way into the domestic political arena amidst hard-fought battles in the November elections. The public was unhappy enough with Ma's China policies as it is.
I was sent what the sender purported was a copy of the document last night. Links are posted below in the refs. Judge for yourself.
UPDATE: Taiwan to monitor US-Japan exercises simulating retaking the Senkakus.
Taiwan's representative office in Tokyo has launched a probe into a report published Sunday by the Sankei Simbun newspaper that the United States and Japan are slated to hold a joint military exercise in November as a mock operation to retake the Tiaoyutai Islands if China occupies them, Foreign Ministry spokesman James Chang said that day.Refs: Document page 1, document page 2
Chang said the Republic of China's sovereignty claim over the islands is unquestionable and that the government of Taiwan will closely monitor the situation.
[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!