Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Military Round Up

Lately proposals and counterproposals have flickered across the Strait regarding the Median Line that separates the island from those who would annex it. The SCMP post reports:
Taiwan intends to ask the mainland to open air space over the East China Sea for civilian flights as a counter to Beijing's proposal to scrap the median line in the Taiwan Strait to ease air traffic congestion. A senior official with the Straits Exchange Foundation was quoted by the Taipei-based China Times as saying that the island's top negotiating organisation was considering such a request of mainland authorities as a response to what Wang Yi, the director of the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, proposed earlier this month.

Mr Wang suggested Taipei should consider abolishing the median line to clear the way for increasing commercial air transport. The senior official, who declined to be named, said the opening of air space over the East China Sea, rather than abolishing the median line in the Taiwan Strait, was the key to addressing the air traffic congestion problem between the mainland and Taiwan that has developed since direct air links were established last year.

According to the report, commercial flights between Taipei and Shanghai are now detouring via the Liu Qiu Islands, or Ryukyu Islands, northeast of Taiwan, to avoid militarily sensitive regions on the mainland. The report also quoted mainland officials as saying that the chances of opening air space over the East China Sea to civilian airlines were slim. One of them added that such a move might violate areas used for training exercises by the People's Liberation Army.
One longtime observed opined that China might have severe problems with airspace issues. After South Korea recognized China, it was years before Korean commercial flights could stop a circuitous detour that took them over Taiwan to get around Chinese airspace.

Of interest is that the "direct" flights are still not direct -- China insists that they detour NE of Taiwan. When Taiwan insisted on detours through Hong Kong for security, that was all bad and much lecturing spewed from the business community. When China insists on it....well, never mind. No need to complete that thought.

Of course, the obvious point is that if China erases the median line, it is one more way of making Taiwan into a domestic route. Note that for years the US had agitated on behalf of its airlines for a piece of the cross-straight action, even up until two years ago, but now that direct flights are occurring, the US is conspicuously silent on what, to Beijing, are operated as "domestic" flights.

Meanwhile, Kyodo News reports that World Games snubs are not the only snubs China is handing out...
Chinese military officers have pulled out of planned, U.S.-brokered exchanges with their Taiwanese counterparts in an apparent snub of the island despite warming relations, the island's Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday.

Military officers from Taiwan and China were to meet next month at the U.S.-based Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), a U.S. military-affiliated think tank in Honolulu, Hawaii, that offers academic courses for military officers from various countries, according to the ministry.

Officers from Taiwan and China were scheduled to participate together in a weeklong course on leadership at the think tank in what would have been the first formal exchange between the rival militaries since 1949, the ministry said in May.

However, ''China saw that Taiwanese officers had signed up for the course and declined to enroll,'' said ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Yu Sy-tue at a Taipei press briefing for foreign media.
Hilarious. I love the way that "despite warming relations" is part and parcel of all announcements of negative news, as if there is no indicator that could ever point to cooling relations, and the public needs to be reminded that relations are warming, lest they get all objective and start paying attention to the facts. One almost expects to read....
"China dropped a nuclear weapon on the southern Taiwan city of Tainan today, despite warming relations. The Ma Administration immediately moved to reassure local citizens, pointing out that Taiwan still had a number of cities with populations in excess of 200,000 remaining."
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Anonymous said...

Very funny. It's amazing how people can continue to view all the evidence as exceptional in order to maintain their ideological point of view.

Haitien said...

Heh, looks like The Onion really outdid themselves this time:

Chinese Taipei Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang: Should He Be Killed?

Anonymous said...

The Onion:
.....As of press time, the brute and inexpressive English language could not convey the full magnificence of China, nor its excellence in every arena, ......
Hahaha, that's too funny!!