Friday, July 06, 2012

Foreign Relations Irritant Watch =UPDATED X 2=

Waiting for the bus in Hoping Village in the hills north of Dongshih.

Will the ractobeef irritant in Taiwan-US relations soon pass into history? The Codex Alimentarius Commission surprisingly voted to establish minimum residue levels for ractopamine in meat.
Last night, the Executive Yuan learned that the draft MRLs proposed by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which serves as a scientific advisory body to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the WHO and the Codex Alimentarius Commission — the international food standards body — were ratified at the 35th Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting in Rome this week.

In 2004, the JECFA recommended MRLs of ractopamine of 10 parts per billion (ppb) in muscle and fatty tissues, 40ppb in livers and 90ppb in kidneys of cattle and pigs.

The government learned that the US called for a vote on the adoption, deviating from normal practice, in which food-safety standards are decided by consensus.
Opposition parties, including the DPP, had been calling for the government to wait on the decision of the CAC. Now everyone has the face-saving decision they need to change their positions. What new irritant will be manufactured for US-Taiwan relations? No need, for as an analysis article in the TT notes:
Several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers have privately expressed their reluctance to vote on the amendment and are hoping that in the wake of his falling poll figures Ma will now change his mind about pushing it through the legislature, Chen said.

In addition, Ma’s low approval ratings mean that he lacks the necessary popular mandate relax the ban on ractopamine by an executive order, Chen added.
Yes, if Ma too politically weak to issue an executive order, and the KMT is too shell-shocked by the Lin scandal to move on the ractobeef issue. What a coincidence that, once again, nothing can be done for another long while. UPDATE: EU slams this decision. In my crystal ball I see more delay and deferral.

Meanwhile, new drama unfolds in the Senkakus, where "activists" from "Taiwan" are out there staking a claim to the islands. The TT says:
Members of the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said they did not see the Chinese flag during a controversial visit to the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) on Wednesday by members of the Chunghua Baodiao Alliance.

The alliance’s executive director, Huang Hsi-lin (黃錫麟), and others on Wednesday set sail for the Diaoyutai Islands in an effort to draw attention to Taiwan’s claim of sovereignty over the archipelago, but allegedly brought along the national flag of China.
First you have to shuffle through the mixed up reportage -- the Senkaku Islands mess does not stem from World War II claims as the TT wrongly reports -- Chinese and ROC maps and texts confirm the Senkakus as uncontroversially Japanese until about 1970 -- but from the potential for oil announced for the area in the late 1960s, and it is the ROC, not "Taiwan" that claims the islands. One would expect that the pro-Taiwan paper would clarify these claims, especially since conflating the ROC with Taiwan is a prime goal of KMT political indoctrination tactics.

Just to make sure this particular burr under the Japanese saddle was properly sharp, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei then re-iterated "Taiwan's" claim to the Senkakus and ignored Japanese protests.
Taipei, July 4 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Taiwan's sovereignty over the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands Wednesday amid reports that Japanese authorities demanded that a Taiwanese boat leave waters around the islands in the East China Sea.

"Taiwan has refused to accept a protest lodged by Japan over the incident," Steve Hsia, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning.

Hsia confirmed that a Taiwanese boat was operating near the Tiaoyutais, which he described as an "inherent" part of Taiwan.
Note the use of the term "Taiwan" there, repeated to make sure that locals hear that the Senkakus are part of "Taiwan" instead of the "ROC". And note the deliberate insult to Japan. Just keepin' those irritants fresh and painful?

UPDATE: Phoenix TV has film of the PRC flag the Taiwan Coast Guard said it didn't see, as maddog points out. How could they have missed that, especially since the person who waved it convened a press conference to discuss his actions?
UPDATE II: Haha WSJ has the PRC flag wavers' tale of how he grabbed the wrong flag. Yeah right.
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Thoth Harris said...

Ractobeef??? Ech, neologisms! Ractomom!

cephaloless said...

Could have redirected the Senkaku protest at the PRC. After all, the activists dropped a PRC flag.

Tim Maddog said...

Michael, you quoted:
- - -
Members of the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said they did not see the Chinese flag […]
- - -

This Phoenix TV video shows the PRC flag being waved around during that provocation (a better word than "incident" to describe this). Other than looking the other way, how could the Coast Guard have not seen it?

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

Is Taiwan bound by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission? I know Taipei is trying to join the WHO which is a very reasonable request. Is Taiwan a WTO member? If it is a WTO member it has signed up to Codex as the body that sets the food standards for trade related goods (like meat) so I'd like to know how that works.