This time, however, the response from Taiwanese authorities was restrained, leading many observers to wonder whether warming ties to China have to led to a new conciliatory tone on the subject between the mainland and the island it considers a breakaway province.Clearly an off-base post -- the response wasn't muted compared to the past -- it was exactly the same or arguably, increased. Taiwan isn't "bowing out". In this case the international media was more interested in Beijing's whining and growling and peeing on the floor over the arrested fishing boat captain -- when Beijing was similarly holding Vietnamese fishermen and boats in disputes in the South China Sea (!) -- hence the Taiwan response was lost in the media glare that focused on the Tokyo-Beijing ruckus.
Although it’s unclear just how much improving relations with China have affected Taiwan’s stance, Taiwan’s response has been less forceful than in years past. After the dispute, President Ma Ying-jeou waited until Oct. 5 to issue a formal statement, while current Premier Wu Den-yih stressed not only Taiwan’s sovereignty over the islands and the safety of its fisherman, but also restraint to avoid inciting any controversy. On Sept. 24, John Chiang, vice chairman of the ruling Kuomintang party, claimed while attending a trade fair on the mainland that the Diaoyutais belonged to all Chinese people — to much fanfare there, and great scandal in Taiwan.
In the official statement released by the island’s president last week, the government stated its continued claim to the islands and clarified it has no quarrel with China over the islands, since by Taiwan’s constitution the two continue to be part of a united China, and that both Taiwan’s and China’s disputes are with Japan, not with each other. But it goes on to clearly set Taiwan off from China as separate entities that will not join together to oppose Japan.
What was the Taiwan response? Let's see.... in the 2009 incident Taiwan sent 5 Coast Guard vessels to confront an equal number of Japanese vessels when a Taiwanese fishing boat captain was arrested. Similarly, in 2008, when a Taiwanese fishing vessel "collided" with a Japanese fishing boat, the Coast Guard sent 5 ships to confront Japanese vessels. In this year's incident, however, there was escalation -- 12 vessels were sent. That's right -- how did the The China Post, the KMT's English-language cheerleader, describe the situation: "unprecedented"...
When Huang and Yin's “Kan En No.99” fishing boat was blocked by seven ships from Japan, which claims the islets as its exclusive economic zone, an unprecedented number of 12 CGA ships provided protection and shielded the protest boat from being attacked.That exact word was also used by Premier Wu in describing Taiwan's response: unprecedented.
Wu yesterday said the government had taken an “unprecedented” hard-line stance to deal with the matter by dispatching 12 coast guard vessels to protect the fishing boat.As I said, I could not find a single piece in the international media that mentioned this provocation, as The Foreigner rightly identified it. I think the WSJ blog has seriously misread the situation. Taiwan is not 'bowing' out. Rather, the governing party declared solidarity with China in a situation that puts it at odds with Japan, not bowing out but re-aligning. This is, at best, a new kind of status quo, but putting Taiwan ships in harm's way for the ultimate benefit of Beijing sure looks a lot like escalation to me. Taiwan News said it the last time around, but it is still true....
Wu said the government’s resolution to protect Taiwanese fishermen and the nation’s territory would remain unchanged, adding that the government will continue to take a “hard-line” stance on the issue.(Taipei Times)
We have difficulty in understanding why Ma is so eager to "set aside the sovereignty dispute" with a PRC regime that threatens Taiwan's existence but is unwilling to "set aside" a dispute over the Tiaoyutai islets with a friendly northern neighbor._______________________
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