Monday, October 07, 2013

AP: Pressure Mounts on Ma.... Really?

In a temple procession, a ji tong possessed by the spirit of the god talks to a young man.

AP reports on President Xi of China's remarks that the political issues between China and Taiwan must be resolved and talks could not be indefinitely put off:
Xi’s comments Sunday on the sidelines of the APEC summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia. represented his strongest statement so far on the Taiwan unification issue, which remains a fundamental cause of instability in the western Pacific. China insists that the democratic island be brought under its control, and has threatened force to achieve that goal. The two sides split after a civil war in 1949.
 AP read this as increased pressure on Ma. I don't. Unless it is accompanied by concrete measures, it's just the usual noise that Chinese officials are always making. It sucks that AP reported this as "pressure mounts". So much of the swirling perceptions of China's desire to annex Taiwan are shaped by the media's (selective) hyping and studious neglect. As Jonathon Sullivan of the U of Nottingham pointed out a couple of years ago in a paper on Chen Shui-bian's speeches, Chen basically said all things to all audiences like any seasoned politician, but the international media focused only on a narrow slice of his words. Can we wait and see whether Xi's rhetoric is accompanied by concrete gestures or a sustained campaign of rhetoric before we decide whether the pressure is really mounting?

Meanwhile in both international and local news reports Ma is seen to have been weakened by his astounding attack on the Speaker of his own Party. The KMT did not file an appeal to continue its case against Speaker Wang, as if they knew they would lose again. But many people I know are saying privately: the MaWangMess ain't over yet.
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!

No comments: