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.”That's one theory. The second theory was that Washington was peeved about the F-16 mess....KMT again....
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.
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).
- 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.
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