Tuesday, October 02, 2012

US sends signal of displeasure over Diaoyutai/Senkaku Mess? Probably not...

My friend Steve Fenton took me up to this interesting little temple in the hills outside Taichung city, where inside reside statues of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, and a Taoist deity. Apparently the Michael Jordan statue is still under construction... 

The local papers of all political stripes were abuzz with the fact that senior US officials skipped the annual US-Taiwan defense industry meet up, an act into which they read deep political content. The Taipei Times described...
Senior US defense and diplomatic officials will not attend this year’s Taiwan-US Defense Industry Conference, organizers said on Sunday, an unexpected absence that has given rise to speculation about the reason why, ranging from a dispute over aggressive efforts to secure the sale of F-16 aircraft to Taiwan’s role in the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) dispute.
But this report came from both the pro-KMT UDN and the pro-DPP Liberty Times. The KMT news organ had a gossipy article about the issues:
An informed source pointed out, on condition of anonymity, that Washington was discontent with the fact that a few days ago, Taiwanese fishermen, escorted by ROC Coast Guard cutters, sailed into the waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islands under the slogan of the “defending our livelihood, safeguarding our fishing rights,” giving rise to a bitter confrontation between the Japan and ROC Coast Guard, and both sides even used water cannons against each other. The same source indicated that Washington was reluctant to see an increasingly strained dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands; however, “Taiwan’s actions may even aggravate the Diaoyutai Islands dispute, so Washington found it quite inappropriate.”

The same source pointed out that the US and Japan had signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and Washington had repeatedly emphasized that “the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyutai Islands) were included within the scope of the Mutual Security Treaty between the US and Japan.” He added that if the territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands became increasingly tense, US would likely become embroiled in the dispute.
That's one theory. The second theory was that Washington was peeved about the F-16 mess....KMT again....
With regard to the grounds on which the US senior officials were said to boycott the conference, US government had not publicly made any response at press time. A figure who previously attended the conference several times disclosed that the US-Taiwan Business Council, the organizer of the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, had probably annoyed the ruling Democratic administration by repeatedly urging Washington to sell F-16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan.
According to the Taipei Times report, Taiwan representative office officials in the US gave the second explanation: annoyance with the US-Taiwan Business Council, which had pressured the Administration to sell F-16s, and had aligned itself with Sen. Coryn's holdup of Obama Administration appointments over the sale, which would have benefited his home state of Texas. The China Post noted that the event is "dominated by Republicans" and the US is in the midst of a presidential election campaign. US officialdom said the problem was scheduling difficulties (State Dept statement).
Daily Links:
  • I blogged over at DKOS on the Senkakus/Diaoyutai Mess, a mashup of two previous blogposts this week. I hope to find time this week to try and crack the editorial pages of WSJ or WaPo. 
  • Some urging the hiring of more foreign laborers
  • Taiwanese to get visa-free entry into the US for one month. And US ractobeef now hitting shelves in Taiwan. Just a coincidence, I'm sure. 
  • Great pic collection on Facebook: Lumber camps 1910-40
  • DPP heavyweight Frank Hsieh to visit China. Jaw-jaw beats war-war any day. Who knows? Perhaps the Chinese might grow up. Or the horse learn to sing. 
  • SPECIAL: My friend Greg McCann's new book is reviewed in the Taipei Times today. Greg works on national parks and tigers in Southeast Asia, tromping to the remotest areas, at a time when journalists and environmentalists are being attacked and even killed in defense of the looting and pillaging of Southeast Asia's paper parks. I admire Greg very much; he not only can talk the talk, but he walks the walk too. Buy his book and support his work. The Amazon link is here, and for some background, here is his interview on Mongabay.
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! Delenda est, baby.


Anonymous said...

...Or could it be that the US is aware that current TW military is underfunded and practically moribund, with drafted recruits doing military service by cleaning up after typhoons and sitting around playing video games?

I mean, what would the meeting be about? Which recruit has the best score in Diablo III?

Anonymous said...

Michael, where is this temple?! I must go there! Do you know anything else about it? I can't quite make out the name...something Yuan Dao...? And...did you get a photo of M (pbuh)? Thanks for whatever you can remember.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, that was fast:

Lockheed Martin Awarded Upgrade Contract For 145 F-16s Of The Republic Of China Air Force

The 90 day no visa issue pisses me off to no end. If the tw.gov doesn't offer a reciprocity agreement immediately, I will do my best to fuck over Taiwan for the rest of my life. I am infuriated with this decision.

Michael Turton said...

Anon at 7:12, the temple is....I don't know. I was too busy trying to get up these roads that Steve had me on. "We'll just turn up here," he would say and there I was staring at a road whose slope was parallel to my nose. I think this might be it:


Michael Turton said...

First anon, yes, I agree. The mil is underfunded, and probably there is some idea of sending a message of displeasure. But then lots of stuff always going on, perhaps State is telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

>>The 90 day no visa issue pisses me off to no end. If the tw.gov doesn't offer a reciprocity agreement immediately, I will do my best to fuck over Taiwan for the rest of my life. I am infuriated with this decision.

Don't know where you get the idea from that US Citizens don't already enjoy such a privilege. Better check your info again.

Taiwan has since long (since over 10 years) granted USA citizens the landing visa. It is the USA that has been late with reciprocation.

Anonymous said...


There is a big, big, big difference. US citizens only receive a measly 30 day landing permit for Taiwan.

The Taiwanese get 90 day permits for the USA according to this TaipeiTimes article.

Big Big Big Big difference.

Especially if you do long term business here. Do you know how much of a hassle it is to go to HK every 30 days? Not only is it a waste of $NT$7000+ it is a wasted business day. And worse, if you miss the exit date by even one day, you are blacklisted from entering Taiwan for one year.

And another thing, how many Americans come to Taiwan every year? I can tell you it is miniscule compared to the hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese that travel to the USA. Big difference again.

Taiwan should have long ago given Americans 90 day permits, like Hong Kong has given most westerns for the past 20+ years. That is two extra months American visitors would spend money in Taiwan + contribute to building a better Taiwan.

Actually, I am glad the Taiwanese get this privilege, it is just that I am ABSOLUTELY PISSED OFF MAD THAT TAIWAN DOES NOT RECIPROCATE.

Andrew S. said...

@Anonymous 12:12:

Only loser teachers and backpackers need to go to HK every 30 days to get visa extensions, real businessman will apply for business visa. Apparently you belong to he first group.

Karl said...

That is a 天德教 temple.

Legal said...

@Anon 12.12

If you're doing visa runs every 30 days then you're not doing business legally in Taiwan. If you truly are doing long term business here, then do it properly and get the necessary visas or permits required.

Anonymous said...

To Anon (October 3, 2012 12:12 PM):

I wasn't aware of the 30-90 difference. So, your frustration may be justified. To be fair, Taiwan should reciprocate by changing the landing visa for US citizens to be good for 90 days, I agree.

However, if you can get so angry at a thing that's just announced and won't take effect until Nov 1, 2012, imagine how "pissed" the Taiwanese must have been in the past 10 or 12 years at having to wait (for one month, on average), line up and get interviewed to get a visa to the US while the US citizens enjoyed landing visa in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese have not decided to "do their best to fuck over the US for the rest of their life" as you wrote you would do to Taiwan.

The Taiwanese are the gentle souls.

Anonymous said...

The peanut gallery on this site seems to be a bunch of children with no clue as to what goes on in the world.

And not all Taiwanese are gentle souls. We will see, when the economy breaks down further, how quickly racism enters the dynamics of life in Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

"The Taiwanese are the gentle souls" was a gentleman's way of telling Anon (October 3, 2012 12:12 PM) what s/he is (not).

A smart reader should be able to read within context.

Anonymous said...

Alright, I will apologize for my f/o comment, it was not necessary, but my point still stands.

If no reciprocity agreement is in place by November when this ruling takes effect, I will give up all of my business in Taiwan. And, btw, no I am not doing anything illegal, I actually employee several Taiwanese who will lose their jobs.

I am not here to explain what I do, but I will say there are many westerners in Taiwan that do business all over Asia. Getting business visas all the time to enter Taiwan for more than 30 days is just not practical nor are they easy to get. Sometimes when I need to come here, my trip extends to more than 30 days due to some unforeseen issue. It is a hassle to have to leave in 30 days. If you are not in this position, you just don't understand.

Legal said...

And, btw, no I am not doing anything illegal, I actually employee several Taiwanese who will lose their jobs.

You can own a business here and employ Taiwanese staff without having the legal status to work here yourself. If you had a work permit and were legally allowed to work here, you wouldn't need to leave after 30 days. If you have been needing to leave, then you are not legally allowed to work here and you have been breaking the law all this time. You have only yourself to blame. Any landing visa Taiwan offers, whether for 30 days or 90 days is not a visa that allows you to work here.

Anonymous said...

legal, the point of my comment is that it is only fair that the Taiwan government matches the 90 day visa.

What I do in my time here is none of your business.

Anonymous said...

"You can own a business here and employ Taiwanese staff without having the legal status to work here yourself."

But if you come to manage your investment, suddenly you are "working."

And for a work permit, you have to have specific number of days in the country. That doesn't work well with modern business where you travel a lot.

StefanMuc said...

@Irrate Anon:

Taiwan will reciprocate starting November 1st. See here:


So, really you have nothing to worry about ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the link ~

It's strange that something so important has not been in the news.

from link:

[i]In response to the US government’s decision to grant the ROC(Taiwanese) passport holders visa-free entry into the US for a stay up to 90 days starting from November 1st, 2012, the ROC government has decided to extend visa-free stay for US passport holders in the ROC from the current 30 days to 90 days starting from the same date. 2012/10/8[/i]