Monday, October 15, 2007

Taiwan Rejects China "Peace" Offer

Reuters and AP offer articles on the "peace offer" coming out of the Party Congress in China. Reuters says:

"We would like to make a solemn appeal: on the basis of the one-China principle let us discuss a formal end to the state of hostility between the two sides (and) reach a peace agreement," Hu said, reading from a prepared statement.

China has offered in the past to resume talks with Taiwan, frozen since 1999 when then-Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui insisted that bilateral relations be described as "special state to state" which would imply that Taiwan was a separate country.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their split in 1949 when Mao Zedong's Communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Nationalists fled to the island.

"We are ready to conduct exchanges, dialogue, consultations and negotiations with any political party in Taiwan on any issue as long as it recognizes that both sides of the Straits belong to one and the same China," Hu said, referring to Taiwan's ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

In Taipei, the government's Mainland Affairs Council said it was willing to meet but not if Hu insists that Taiwan is part of China or continues to govern China under one-party rule.

"We hope to meet with China at an early date to discuss democratic development," the council said in a statement. "But (Hu's) political report lacks any real democratic reform, and the whole country's power is grasped in the hands of Communist Party dictators."

The China point man with Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party China cautiously welcomed the overture.

"We would like to talk about everything. Our consistent position is to talk without any preconditions ... We want to wait to see more. (Hu's) actions speak louder than words," Lai I-Chung, the DPP's director of China affairs, told Reuters.

In case you missed the import of that, Hu said "You can negotiate with us as long as you concede that all the main points to us." As AP reported, Taiwan gave this the one-finger salute:

In Taiwan's first official reaction to Hu's comments, Shieh said that the Chinese leader's invitation "was devoid of any significance whatsoever."

"We will not discuss peace, unification, or any other issues with a regime that has suppressed the Tibetans, killed its own people and supported the military junta of Myanmar," he said.
The Reuters article observes that China says "the civil war" has not ended, a comment that shows China's vested interest in the ROC as a "China." As long as that virtual state known as the ROC exists, Taiwan is still connected to China. That is why China has never taken back the islands of Qemoy and Matsu right there off its coast, which it easily could, and whose ownership is not in dispute. Nor, despite what pundits might say, will China permit "the ROC" to lose its diplomatic existence -- whatever noises it makes, China is quite happy that 24 nations recognize the ROC, since when recognition ceases, the ROC will shrivel away and only Taiwan will be left, effectively independent of any connection to China.

Taiwan's strong response -- we're willing to talk, but none of this 'we own you' crap -- played to its strength as the banner carrier of democracy in the Chinese world. Hu's mild tone was in stark contrast to Jiang Zemin's bellicose verbosity at the 2002 Congress.

What does this "peace offer" mean? Well, it reminds me of a certain Nazi dictator who made peace offers to Poland before invading and dismembering that nation. China has now established its wish for "peace." What's next in the script?


Adam said...

As usual, most of the articles have headlines proclaiming China as the peace giver and Taiwan as the peace rejector. Only a line or two in the articles mention China's precondition that the outcome of the talks be decided before the talks actually take place.

Michael Turton said...

I know. Couldn't "peace offer" have been put in quotes? By using Beijing's own term for its action, the media simply reproduces Beijing's propaganda. Beijing is becoming fairly adept at managing the foreign media.


Tommy said...

On the subject of the media attention to this speech (since the "I will discuss peace with you if you kindly surrender on my terms" subject is too laughable...although Ma might try to bite for it if he were safely elected), I have seen an interesting article in Xinhua. It says that Hu mentioned Democracy over 60 times in his speech:

"How many times did the president say X?" is the same track used after state of the union addresses by media who are trying to discern the US president's new direction.

Of course, this is not the US, and Xinhua is not allowed to print anything that the party has not approved of... meaning the party has approved this "democracy" talk. And since the party has rejected any democracy that does not have the CCP as its guiding light, and in any sense that causes the CCP to lose its top spot, and since there can be no real democracy without votes based on differing personal opinions by somebody, then this can only be hogwash, and can only come across as media spin, no doubt approved by someone from above. So a newly democratic Hu can look like he is offering peace to Taiwan. How cute.

I did notice that the Reuters article implied that his speech was politically dull. The BBC was no more impressed, saying: "It was long, but short on specifics. For example, Mr Hu promised to 'expand socialist democracy' but did not explain exactly what that meant."

So it seems, for the time being, that many media outlets outside of China are seeing through the empty words. The BBC doesn't even mention the overture of peace that wasn't (maybe because it wasn't, and because it really isn't different than what the Chinese government has been demanding for years: peace under our terms.) Many still seem far more interested in the Li, Xi succession thing than the speeches of Hu.

One other Xinhua gem that I particularly liked: Xinhua mentions that Hu discussed the separation of powers, which he describes as the separation of government from companies, state assets, public institutions, etc. Am I to assume that Hu just doesn't understand that separation of powers involves empowering other government bodies to ensure one doesn't become all powerful and rule at the expense of the others..... such as the one at which he was the keynote speaker today, not to mention the judiciary? So now Hu is a democracy-loving, peace-loving believer in the equal balance of power among government bodies. Wow! I am sure glad he is the president of China! And China will undoubtedly be a miraculously free place in 5 years. (:-P = My disgusted sarcasm face.)

Yes. Xinhua is trying that crafty media language, even if their words are hollow.

JZ said...

Taiwan should give up independence, then all problems will be solved! If not, Taiwan will lose all. Let's see who will have a longer breath at the end.

TicoExpat said...

Michael wrote:

"As long as that virtual state known as the ROC exists, Taiwan is still connected to China...Nor, despite what pundits might say, will China permit "the ROC" to lose its diplomatic existence -- whatever noises it makes, China is quite happy that 24 nations recognize the ROC, since when recognition ceases, the ROC will shrivel away and only Taiwan will be left, effectively independent of any connection to China."

This is a current point of conflict with allied nations. Conservatives there -pushed by explanations from conservatives here- insist that they have NO relations with taiwan, as Taiwan is not a country, and that their relations are established with teh Republic of China. Hence, they cannot, and as a matter of fact, claim to have no obligation to support Taiwan's bin in the UN or anywhere else as Taiwan does not exist, and they have no links with it.

Hence, even without ROC, Taiwan will be isolated, and teh moment it is left stranded, it goe sup for grabs.

I am quoting high officials from certain "allied" countries and higher circles here.

I was wondering what was up as I have seen lots of bad propaganda against Taiwan in the wires in Spanish. Now I get my answer.

As for China, I cannot help but see that for them, Taiwanese are a bunch of "japoniphiles" and traitors, and they will seek revenge. Is that the peace we want? Yep, it is quite peaceful in a grave.

Tommy said...

Well, I still don't see any glowing tributes to China following this speech, at least by the largest wire services.

On the other hand, SCMP has this headline in large point:

SH: President vows cautious reforms and more balanced and sustainable economic growth

On page A5:


Also on A5:
Beijing does not seek hegemony or expansion

Then a tiny:
Green GDP plan stays on the back burner



Yes there are other articles in there that are kind of critical, but they are all have HLs in small point, and only offer indirect criticism of the event, such as:
-Delegates not clear how they came to represent party masses
-Man on the street unimpressed by Hu's rosy take

But then, on A8, a large-point:
So they reserve the flip side of the original argument for page 8, and attribute the veracity of it to the DPP alone.

Now tell me, where is the bias in that?

channing said...

"Lacking new meaning" is the DPP's opinion alone, so its title is correct.

SCMP is not a Taiwan newspaper, so a Taiwan-based opinion of China should not be on the front page.

I do see a problem with the headline as Michael pointed out, but all the other titles are almost direct quotes of the contents of the congress speeches--if an English newspaper in Taiwan had a KMT article titled "It's the economy, stupid!" I would naturally see it as a comical reference to KMT policy of attempting to leave politics out of governance.