Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Taipei Times Editorial says America IS taking sides

A Taipei Times editorial argues that the US timed the announcement of the possibility of a visa waiver for Taiwan to support the KMT in the election. The editorial also points out that the KMT in its usual despicable manner, failed to tell the public that the initiative for the program began with the DPP:
What was left unmentioned was the fact that it was the DPP that got the ball rolling on the visa-waiver program, with former envoy to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and his staff at Taiwan’s representative office in Washington doing the groundwork in 2007. A few more years were required before Taiwan could meet all the requirements for the nomination and admittedly some of the necessary adjustments were made under the Ma administration. However, in the end, the nomination is as much a victory for the DPP as it is for the KMT — in fact, it represents a victory for all Taiwanese.

However, by failing to take the necessary precautions against the inevitable politicization of the announcement, Washington has played into the KMT’s hands, or possibly cooperated with it.

In its press conference on Thursday, the AIT said an agreement on tightening immigration controls against felons and terrorists was the final step before the US could put Taiwan on the list. That agreement, we were told, had been signed the previous day.

Maybe the timing is just a coincidence — and coincidences do happen — but it is very convenient for the KMT that all this happened when it did. The US government could have waited until after the Jan. 14 election to make the announcement, a postponement that in no way would have hurt the KMT or helped the DPP.

One really wonders why, within 24 hours of Taipei signing the document on terrorists and felons, the AIT would rush into making the announcement on the visa-waiver program, especially as Taiwan’s adhesion to the program remains contingent on months of careful evaluation by the US Department of Homeland Security. There simply was no justification for making the announcement at such a highly charged juncture in the presidential election.

Despite the nomination being the result of hard work by both the DPP and KMT administrations, the timing of the announcement now allows the Ma camp to silence some of its detractors, who had accused it of failing to secure anything of substance from the US over the past three-and-a-half years, despite relations between the two allies allegedly being their “closest” in years.

Not anymore, and the KMT has appropriated this success as if the DPP had nothing to do with it. Fool-hardy or malicious, inadvertent or by design, the US has taken sides in next month’s elections.
AIT officials had to know what they were doing when they made the announcement in the middle of a hotly -contested election. On the other hand, perhaps they were afraid if they waited until after the election they'd be accused of helping the DPP. Or if they waited a week, of being accused of timing the announcement even more closely to the end of the election to help the KMT. Or they knew the KMT would make the announcement and wanted to pre-empt an even more partisan announcement on the KMT part. The AIT announcement did note that AIT did not favor either party.

What it really shows is how pathetic the Ma Administration is -- the best it can do to show its good relationship with the US is lay claim to a program initiated by the DPP.

If the best AIT can do to influence the election is announce a visa waiver program early, then the US hand in the election isn't very useful to the KMT. At the moment.
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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Taipeh Times is a stranger to American culture and values.

It's naive albeit a little paranoid for the paper to accuse AIT of taking sides in the election.

The USA values fair and honest elections not only in America but everywhere .

Can the Taipeh Times dare make such a claim?

Josh Halloway

Michael Turton said...

AM troll, you can post here, but evidence will be necessary.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite excited at the prospect of Visa waver. There are many of us Taiwanese-Americans who would love to take advantage if this in order to explore the country.

Only few Americans know about Taiwan and I feel that this would increase tourism if Taiwan is savvy enough to sell itself as a destination spot in Asia. Most Americans who study Mandarin go to China when studying abroad. I live in San Francisco, and there's actually a sizable number of non-Chinese Americans who either speak a Chinese dialect or follow news affecting Chinese diaspora. From speaking to some, it's my personal experience that the more Democratic in party affiliation the more likely the person is to voice support for One China paradigm. I don't know why that is exactly, as I don't even know if KMT is the "Dem" party and DPP is the "Rep" party of Taiwan or reverse is true, but just that invariably I can guess with high accuracy whether a person is pro Taiwan as independent nation or not based upon their political affiliation here.

I find this all to be fascinating. I subscribe to CTI channel from my cable tv provider, and it seems like Taiwanese media favor Ma over Tsai. Is that correct? Or is CTI a somewhat biased outlet?

Jenny

Michael Turton said...

I find this all to be fascinating.

Thanks for this great comment. The exception to your rule is that almost everyone who cares about Taiwan who actually lives here, whether Dem or Rep, don't support the One China and are generally pro-TI.

I subscribe to CTI channel from my cable tv provider, and it seems like Taiwanese media favor Ma over Tsai. Is that correct? Or is CTI a somewhat biased outlet?

Both are correct -- the media outlets largely favor Ma and CTI is heavily biased in favor of Ma.

Michael

FOARP said...

This editorial is bonkers. When it comes right down to it, AIT may or may not have a preference in the election, but they wouldn't time the announcement of a visa-waiver arrangement to support the KMT.

"The exception to your rule is that almost everyone who cares about Taiwan who actually lives here, whether Dem or Rep, don't support the One China and are generally pro-TI."

I guess by "everyone" you mean all Americans. For what it's worth, at least in my experience, foreigners resident in Taiwan of all nationalities slant pro-pan-green.

Partly this is because the KMT is the former party of dictatorship. Partly also this is because the core of unificationist opinion is belief in a unitary Chinese identity and culture which is bound to leave foreigners cold. Partly, though, this is because the English-language commentary in Taiwan overwhelmingly slants pan green - TT is ultra-green, Taiwan News is medium green, and China Post is a very pale blue.

Me personally, I've never understood how anyone could believe in "one China" when it clearly has not been the case since the 1920's at least.

Michael Turton said...

I guess by "everyone" you mean all Americans. For what it's worth, at least in my experience, foreigners resident in Taiwan of all nationalities slant pro-pan-green.

That's basically my experience, but I don't like to say that :)

This editorial is bonkers. When it comes right down to it, AIT may or may not have a preference in the election, but they wouldn't time the announcement of a visa-waiver arrangement to support the KMT.

I don't think AIT has a preference at all (or if they do it has the same slant as most foreigners resident here), but I think Washington does. But to put it kindly, I did not agree with the content of that editorial either.

Michael