Sunday, October 28, 2007

UN/Hu Offer Round up

The Yomiuri Shimbun published an article on the "peace offer" from Hu, written by a Japanese reporter, that totally follows the Chinese line. Although discussion of economic growth is thick, there is no mention of the military threats....

During the Congress, Hu revealed China's policy on Taiwan, which took a relatively soft line, as symbolized by his use of the phrase "peaceful development" during his speech. Hu did not repeat a phrase pertaining to China's possible use of military force against Taiwan used by then General Secretary Jiang Zemin in his speech at the Congress five years ago. Instead, Hu urged Taiwan "on the basis of the one-China principle" to join talks on "a formal end to the state of hostility" and "reach a peace agreement."

However, Hu's call was not directed at Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, who flatly rejected China's one-China policy. Rather, Hu was eyeing Chen's successor, who will be elected in the coming presidential election in March 2008.

This is the usual uninformed and unimaginative interpretation of Beijing's offer. In case, if anyone was thinking that Hu's position indicated a softening of China's drive to annex the island, the week after the Party Congress the local Taiwan policy thinktank held a meeting to dispel any doubts, as reported by the China Daily, a Chinese media organ:

"The mainland will never allow anyone to make Taiwan secede from China in any name or by any means," said Zheng Lizhong, executive deputy director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee.

He said the Chinese mainland would continue to promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and peaceful reunification.

"We will sincerely rally the Taiwan compatriots to strive together for the prosperity of the Chinese nation," he said.

Zheng made the remarks when attending the meeting held by the Cross-Straits Relations Research Center on studying Chinese President Hu Jintao's report to the 17th CPC National Congress.

More than 50 researchers on cross-Straits relations attended the symposium.

Chinese Presidents Hu Jintao said in the report that the forces for "Taiwan independence" were stepping up their secessionist activities, seriously jeopardizing the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

"The mainland side is 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," he said.

He also proposed, on the basis of the one-China principle, to discuss with the Taiwan authorities on the formal ending to the state of hostility between the two sides, signing of a peace agreement and constructing a framework for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

"We will make every effort to achieve anything that serves the interests of our Taiwan compatriots, contributes to the maintenance of peace in the Taiwan Straits region and facilitates peaceful national reunification," he said.

Note the claim -- "one and the same China." This appears to specifically exclude a two-China solution to the issue that might enable them to take advantage of the existence of the ROC to obtain wiggle room for concessions from both sides. Nope -- Hu's position is that the PRC and China are one and the same. This is exactly the same position China has come out with year after year, and will continue to come out with until they grow up on the Taiwan issue or end up killing a lot of innocent people. Further, what is Hu's comment against the regular flow of vitriolic hate of Taiwan from Chinese officials such as Jia Qinglin? Hu's remarks don't stand by themselves, but represent a pattern common in Chinese politics, where the Great Man offers beneficence and conciliation --while at the same time, the underlings make the vicious threats that represent the real position of the Great Man.

A Zogby poll commissioned by the GIO found levels of support for UN entry in Japan similar to those of the US (Zogby US results):

In response to a question about whether they would support the nation's entry into the UN under the name "Taiwan" if the campaign is supported via a referendum, the positive figure jumped to 81.2 percent, with 12.6 percent disapproving.

Asked whether Japan should respect a decision made by a majority of voters in a democratic way, 89.2 percent said yes, while 7.7 percent said no.

However, in response to a question that specifically mentioned China's opposition to Taiwan's UN membership, 63.5 percent of respondents said they were in favor of Japan helping Taiwan to gain UN membership, while 29.5 percent opposed such help from Japan.

EU top diplomant Solana once again expressed concern that maybe the Referendum would upset peace and prosperity in East Asia. Apparently military buildups don't have that effect, at least for diplomats in the EU. Xinhua gleefully reports:

Javier Solana, European Union top diplomat, expressed here on Thursday his concern over Taiwanese leaders' comments on the Chinese province's application for UN membership.

"I have noted with concern the comments made by Taiwan's leadership on October 24 concerning Taiwan's application for UN membership under the name of Taiwan," Solana said in a statement.

"The EU has a substantial interest in peace and stability in East Asia. It has a particular interest in the continued prosperity and security of Taiwan and in the maintenance of peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait," he said.

The fundamental position of the EU is that the Taiwan question must be solved peacefully through cross-Strait negotiations between all concerned parties.

On the plus side, the Taipei Times reports on EU parlimentarians who support Taiwan:

In related news, 84 members of the European Parliament released a joint statement on Thursday to express their support for the nation's UN bid.

The members representing various political groups, who have gathered in Strasbourg, France, for the European Parliament's plenary session, said in their statement that Taiwan is a sovereign state that has never been governed by the People's Republic of China and that it is wrong and unfair for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to claim that Taiwan was part of China and deny the nation eligibility for membership.

They said that, in a report on China issued last September, the European Parliament had called for representation for Taiwan's 23 million people in international organizations, but that Taiwan still remained excluded from most of these organizations.

Calling Taiwan a full-fledged democracy with a highly developed economy that could make valuable contributions to the international community, the group urged the EU and other UN members to seriously consider Taiwan's application for UN membership.

The UN entry referendum proceeds apace, with the Central Election Commission assigning to the same day as the election...


Tommy said...

Unfortunately, it is way too hard for any referendum to pass in Taiwan, thanks to that 50 percent voting population threshold. I am kind of pessimistic about the whole thing.

As for the lovely meeting of China's Taiwan specialists, you have got to love the hypocrisy.

"The mainland will never allow anyone to make Taiwan secede from China in any name or by any means... the Chinese mainland would continue to promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and peaceful reunification."

Where is the other Thomas to tell us all that this actually is a foundation for peace?

Michael Turton said...

I don't know. The last referendum was vaguely worded and got massive support from those who didn't get turned away by the KMT shenanigans in that election.

Besides, what if the DPP doesn't actually want it to pass.


Raj said...

Michael is right. The referedum on arms purchases was never going to resonate with the public, yet got 45% turnout. As he said, the second was vague and also still got 45% turnout.

On the other hand, both the DPP referenda are something that people will care more about (KMT assets and UN membership drive). There's a good chance that both could be approved, even if the KMT try not to hand out the ballot papers at the same time.

Anonymous said...

"The mainland will never allow anyone to make Taiwan secede from China in any name or by any means," said Zheng Lizhong, executive deputy director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee.

You have to wonder, what your daily job in Beijing could possibly consist of if you worked at the 'Taiwan Work Office'......????