The violence that began to rip through southern Vietnam May 13 spread north the following day into Ha Tinh Province, where attacks that left one person dead and 90 injured broke out at a steel mill belonging to Formosa Plastics Group.It's nice to take a moment to reflect on how far we've come: the mouthpiece of a government that insists that everyone in Taiwan is Chinese differentiates the two here.
The protests were triggered by China's deployment of an oil rig in what Vietnam considers to be its exclusive economic zone near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The rioters targeted factories bearing Chinese-language signs, with little or no regard for whether they were Chinese or Taiwanese.
But feel-good moments aside, the official story here doesn't add up for me. Are you seriously suggesting that the Vietnamese don't know that the factories are owned by Taiwanese? Some have been there two decades. And the rioting broke out at Formosa Plastics, a huge concern whose origin had to have been known.
My man maddog was darkly speculating on Twitter that Chinese agents may have been behind the burning of Taiwanese factories in China. But I wonder whether the factories got burned because someone decided to hide a labor protest over the treatment of workers in Taiwanese factories within the riots.
Reuters points out that the industrial zones got hit hard, and also that China is behaving in Vietnam the same way that it behaves in Taiwan: resources flow into China but no return investment comes out.
The ROC on Taiwan rushed in to remind everyone that it owns the South China Sea. In fact the true-blue Chinese Nationalists first promulgated the famous "cow's tongue" map that stakes China's claim to the South China Sea, back in 1947, which the PRC also included in its Communist utopia. The reminder from Taipei was a classic "irritant" move of the Ma Administration, meant to increase the distance between Taipei and its natural allies to the south and west around the South China Sea, maintain the island's isolation, and convince locals that their only hope lies with China and China's victory over Taiwan is inevitable.
Note also that the ROC claim makes it more difficult for the inevitable regional coalition against China to emerge and complicates US attempts to encourage it and draw the area's nations closer together. Ma is protecting Beijing to the extent that he can. This irritant shows how completely stupid and shortsighted Washington's policy of supporting the KMT is -- a DPP president would be a helluva lot more accommodating to Washington's goal of encouraging the emergence of a South China Sea regional alliance. While some in Washington supported Ma because they support Beijing, others thought that there would be less tension if they supported the KMT.
Congratulations, folks: you got your tension anyway. By supporting Ma, you enabled the PRC to displace its tension inducing moves to elsewhere in Asia. Two things should be obvious:
1 - the cause of tension in Asia is Beijing. Beijing will create tension no matter what happens in Taipei.
2 - supporting the KMT = supporting China. You can't follow a policy of opposition to Beijing elsewhere but support for the KMT in Taiwan. One conflicts with the other.
Let's hope Washington wises up and finally supports the DPP as a way to help integrate Taiwan into its SE Asian strategy.
- Ketagalen Media rounds up....
- Is academic freedom under assault?
- Low salaries in Taiwan under fire after an offhand remark by Terry Gou. Companies quickly explain that low salaries are due to low national competitiveness.
Glad they cleared that up.
- Bananas: as I wrote last year, export bananas may well be wiped out by a disease
- Cole: KMT simply ignores Wang's agreements with students on the services pact
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