Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ma Mends Fences With Japan

Last week the Japanese representative in Taiwan committed a fox paws, mentioning aloud the fact that Japan's position is that Taiwan's status is undetermined. The KMT whipped up a diplomatic incident, which made for neat leverage in making Japan feel bad, even as President Ma moved to mend fences with Japan...
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou commemorated Friday a Japanese colonial engineer who in 1930 built one of Taiwan’s most effective reservoirs, at a ceremony meant to underscore the island’s friendship with Japan but which also hinted at fresh tensions. Ma honored Yoichi Hatta with bows, flowers and a speech at the engineer’s burial site near the Wusantou Reservoir in southern Tainan County, where the reservoir has tamed waters and kept cropland fertile for nearly 80 years.

Ma called the reservoir the foundation for the modernization of Taiwan’s agricultural industry. Although Mr Hatta’s work came amid Japan’s colonial rule over Taiwan, we should recognize the contributions some colonial officials made to the island,’’ he said, adding, ‘‘Although Taiwan and Japan broke off official relations in 1972, in the past 30 years our exchanges have nonetheless flourished.’’
A key irritant is the Senkaku Islands, which both China and Taiwan discovered they owned in 1969 after Japanese scientists mentioned the possibility of oil beneath and around them.
The island claims the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, referred to in Taiwan as the Tiaoyutai, where the Japanese patrol boat rammed and sank the fishing vessel. Taiwanese Premier Liu Chao-shiuan threatened Japan with war over the uninhabited islets, which boast abundant fishery resources and, possibly, oil and natural gas deposits under the seabed.

Since the collision, however, Ma has tended to shift the debate from that of sovereignty issues involving the Senkakus and surrounding waters to fishing access rights, while strengthening air, tourism and cultural links with Japan.

Last week, Ma’s top security adviser Su Chi met with protesters and boat owners who had planned to sail to the Senkakus in a protest trip to persuade them to cancel the voyage.

Su told the protesters the trip would cause unnecessary friction with Japan as Ma seeks to boost relations with Tokyo, a trip organizer told Kyodo News.

Behind-the-scenes lobbying to scupper the trip and Ma’s commemoration of Hatta point to Taipei’s continued desire to improve relations with Tokyo despite Saito’s falling out of favor with the Ma administration.
If you read carefully the pattern of threat/trouble followed by conciliation followed by threat/trouble dominates. Su Chi's scuppering of the flotilla's protest in the Senkakus is Taipei's way of letting Tokyo know it could be rambunctious, but chose not to, so Japan really ought to turn up nice now. Note also that by making trouble in the Senkakus, the KMT is doing Beijing's dirty work for it -- just as it caused trouble in the overseas Tibetan independence movement to preserve Tibet for China. This is an old pattern.

Japan has to be conciliated if the sell-out is to take place, because, as a recent poll shows, Japanese hold a lot of affection for Taiwan, sending it thousands of tourists each year, and buying our upscale fruit and agricultural products. Japan has also been slowly coming to view Taiwan as important for its security. Hence Ma's approach to Japan, like the adulterous husband who must reassure the wife that all is well in the marriage....
Daily Links
  • The Establishment loves the idea of selling Taiwan to China via a "Peace Treaty." I'll take a look at this in more detail tomorrow. Read the footnotes to see who helped out, and you will understand why the piece is void of both understanding and moral scruple.
  • Awesome post on Taiwan's SAM network, with plenty of pics, at great blog.
  • Economist on "peace" breaking out here.

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!


Dixteel said...

Once again CCP and KMT look more and more alike. CCP had the similar policy toward Japan and Taiwan. Some people call it "2 hands strategy," and Ma is now learning to use it.

Remember during Chen Yun-Ling's visit, the police suppress protests heavy handedly and during the same time Ma said "carrying flag should be allowed...etc etc."

Same with the students got beat up in Tainan incident.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that Economist piece is really good! Talking about the civil war between the KMT and CCP without implying Taiwan had been part of it, the frog slowly being boiled analogy, calling out the KMT for what it really is and a good, accurate description of the current politicaly situation:

"The sanctimony of the KMT, once one of the world’s most thuggish and corrupt political parties, but largely spared by the present judicial system, is grotesque. Yet Mr Chen and his approach are discredited, the DPP in tatters."The author is good; his Chinese is decent or he reads good translations. The terms that are common in Chinese but don't necessarily make sense in English he uses quotes: international space, diplomatic truce (waijiaoxiubing)...

Though it is somewhat unfortunate he keeps saying "mainland", a term used by the KMT to reinforce their "one China" brainwashing.

The Taiwanese democrats have an ally in the Economist, telling things like they really are.

here comes the fart flying along said...

Well. After East Asian Union as a oposition to PRC was dead right after the idea was born, everyone in Asia knows that after Taiwan will became yellow race motherland chinese will claim their country too. so why to rush into the monkeys yap?

Unknown said...

surely it's faux pas?

Anonymous said...

There is a concerted, below-the-radar effort by Ma Ying-jeou and his administration to cause friction between Taiwan and Japan. They want to blow up any little issue as big as they can. They hate Japan ideologically, and there's the added bonus that it pushes Taiwan towards greater reliance on China.

Besides the incidents you have nicely recalled for us, now the health ministry has issued a travel advisory for Japan and blamed them for not releasing information to Taiwan in time. At the same time, in Taiwan, they have ads on TV telling people not to worry at all; the swine flu has a death rate the same as regular flu.

Michael, you may be interested in looking for more information, but the KMT central and local governments have increased the pace at which they are tearing down historical buildings, namely, anything from the Japanese era.

It's pretty gross what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

--They hate Japan ideologically, ---

seriously. noone likes Japan idiologicaly. to much shinto-millitarism and blue blood empireism.. But how much are chinese ocupants in Taiwan conected to the Nanjing bashing? Do KMT celebrate this massacre like holy kill the japs day or is it just "dont talk about. Chiankaishek let them root there"?

sorry for complicated dumbglish.

Anonymous said...

Here's yet another example of what appears to be a pattern of anti-Japan efforts by the current administration:

Fiji apples rejected for having pesticide residueThis is interesting because the amount found is actually very low. Apples would pass if the standard for other vegetables/fruit were used. But there is no standard for apples in Taiwan because Taiwan doesn't grow apples. The executive in Taiwan could have made a reasonable decision to set a standard and allow them in (since it's the apparent standard for other fruits), but they chose to simply send them back to Japan, causing who knows how big of a loss.

The stuff out of China smuggled illegally into Taiwan is like a hundred times worse with real health dangers, but our government is picking on these apples because they are from Japan and they hate Japan. Great.