Saturday, November 03, 2012

Saturday Short Shorts: E and S China Sea, DPP attacks Ma

Wonderful day today, 160 kms from Taichung to Jhunan and back along the coast. Even with headwind coming back, avg 22 kph, excellent time for my slow self. Very happy.

M. Trevor Fravel has another good piece in The Diplomat this week. China has altered the status quo in the Senkakus. Ominous:
....Most of the time, these [Chinese] boats remained beyond Japan’s 12 nautical mile territorial waters around the Senkakus or crossed this line only briefly. China in practical terms continued to accept Japanese de facto control of the islands and their associated territorial waters (over which a state enjoys sovereignty rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea).

After the purchase of the islands last month, however, China has abandoned this approach. China first issued baselines to claim its own territorial waters around the islands and then began to conduct almost daily patrols within its newly-claimed waters – directly challenging the Japanese control that it had largely accepted before. The purpose of the patrols is two-fold: to demonstrate that the purchase of the islands will not affect China’s sovereignty claims and to challenge Japan’s position that there is no dispute over the sovereignty of the islands.

Although China does not control the waters around the Senkakus (unlike the situation at Scarborough), it no longer accepts de facto Japanese control. On October 31, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman asserted that a new status quo had been created. After describing China’s new patrols as “routine,” Hong Lai stated that “the Japanese side should face squarely the reality that a fundamental change has already occurred in the Diaoyu Islands.”
China has altered the status quo and will continue to put pressure on Japan. You can see where this is some point Japan will have to make a decision to contest this space, or China will alter the status quo again in its favor. But Fravel makes another excellent point that shouldn't be lost. Remember the standoff with Manila over the Scarborough Shoal?
In early June, the Philippines announced that an agreement had been reached with China for a mutual withdrawal of ships. Although China never publicly confirmed the existence of such an agreement, ships from both sides left in mid June as a typhoon approached the area. Later, however, Chinese ships returned and appear have maintained a permanent presence in the waters around the shoal since then. In mid July 2012, for example, an intrepid news crew from Al Jazeera videotaped an attempt to visit the shoal, only to be turned away by a combination of CMS and fisheries administration vessels. China has also roped off the sole entrance to the lagoon inside the shoal to control access to it.
China did not confirm the agreement, and Manila's bombast is hard to decipher. But it seems unlikely that Manila would not have made such a claim unless some agreement had been hammered out. What this suggests is that Beijing is simply going to ignore any agreements regarding the territories it covets if it can get away with it. What does that tell you about the future?

The China Times argued that Taiwan should strengthen its voice on the Senkakus issue. Effectively, the Ma government is coordinating, if not cooperating, with Beijing on this. This suggests that at least one function of this idiotic campaign is that it aligns Taiwan with Beijing without actually conceding anything to Beijing on any sovereignty issue -- meaning that it allows the Ma government to play a double game of non-aligned aligning, looking like something is happening without anything actually happening. No doubt this pleases Beijing, yet does not actually threaten Taiwan's own sovereignty in any greatly meaningful way, so it fails to arouse the public which might punish the Ma Administration even more than it already has. Ok, that's one possible interpretation..... think President Ma will be on local campaign posters in 2013-4? LOL.

In one of my favorite fantasy series, Saberhagen's Empire of the East, the good guys have to find where the demon has hidden his life, his soul, perhaps in hair, or sea-foam, or similar. Once they get the demon's life, they can control or kill him. Similarly, the DPP is searching for the magic life of Ma Ying-jeou, hoping to kill him via accusations of corruption. The latest attempt to pin some kind of corruption scandal on Ma concerns his donations to charity....
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has donated more than NT$75 million (US$2.56 million) to charities over the years, exceeding the salary he has earned since he came to office in May 2008, Premier Sean Chen said yesterday.
DPP legislators, without the slightest shred of evidence, opined that the money had come from the State Affairs Fund. That's the fund that former DPP President Chen Shui-bian was alleged to have pillaged, and eventually found innocent of stealing from. This kind of ham-handed attempt at irony would have a certain low humor were it not so stupid. President Ma was found innocent of corruption despite the fact that he was caught downloading state funds to his own account. The public voted him in as Preznit, twice, despite this. The public obviously doesn't give a damn about corruption allegations about President Ma. This is not a fruitful route. Stop trying.

As recent public opinion polls show, the Ma Administration's inept handling of the economic crisis and various other matters has resulted in a massive plummet in public satisfaction with President Ma. This is what the DPP should be hammering Ma on, constantly. Frank Hsieh's China trip provided a nice distraction from the economic attack and niftly split the DPP.

Anyone notice how the idea of raising the assessed value of real estate, which hasn't changed since 1987, has simply vanished from the political discourse? Heh.
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Anonymous said...

Thornberry has a blog:

yankdownunder said...

China in practical terms continued to accept ...

What does that mean, "in practical terms"?

In practical terms, Japan continues to accept China/Taiwan claims to the islands.

1. Japan refuses to let Japanese use the islands for fishing or any other use.

2. Japan was/is in talks with Taiwan about fishing rights. What rights does Taiwan have if it's not their island. Traditional Taiwan fishing grounds is pure bs.

If Japan does not use/develop the islands they will lose them. Any action China takes to interfere with Japanese use of Japanese land/waters would/should be stopped by USFJ and SDFJ forcs.

Randy said...

Taylor Fravel is currently a professor at MIT and is also a graduate of Taipei American School.