Friday, July 20, 2012

Taiwanese Independence Senkaku Nuttiness

A commentary in the Taipei Times reminds that there are quite a few pro-independence types who think Taiwan owns the Senkaku Islands (called Diaoyutai by the Chinese).
China’s sovereignty claims often refer back to the Ming Dynasty and records of a mission to the Liuqiu (Ryukyu) Islands, something that of course cannot be used by Taiwan today.

Japan’s sovereignty claims, on the other hand, often refer to a Cabinet resolution from January 1895 allowing the governor of Okinawa Prefecture to stake a claim to the islands. Even more important, in 1972, the US finally returned the Diaoyutais and the Ryukyu Islands to Japan. After that, Taiwan’s claims can only be based on geographical factors such as the continental shelf and the Ryukyu Trench.

In short, the Diaoyutais discussion is still too weak from a Taiwanese sovereignty perspective and must be further developed. During the Japanese colonial era, Taiwan belonged to Japan, but what sense would it make to say that the Diaoyutais at that time were made part of Yilan County? If, after World War II, Taiwan belonged to China, then it equally makes no sense to say that the Diaoyutais belong to Taiwan.

Only by first creating an independent Taiwan will we have a foundation on which to join this dispute.
There can be no Taiwan claim to the Senkakus. There has never been an independent Taiwanese state that owned them. Any claim based on administration by the Qing dynasty -- the Qing owned it, so Taiwan owned -- implicitly recognizes that Qing sovereignty = modern sovereignty, which means that China owns Taiwan. TIers are going to have to become sane on the Senkakus, especially since Taiwan will need Japan's support if it wants to become independent.

This kind of thinking shows that....
  1. Locals understand that in Chinese nationalist minds the claim to the Senkakus and to Okinawa are intermingled. See Ma Ying-jeou, arch-nationalist, on the issue.
  2. This clever little poison pill of the claim to the Senkakus shows how intermingling "Taiwan" and "the ROC" drags Taiwan into territorial issues is always to Taiwan's detriment
  3. It also shows how much the DPP and other pro-Taiwan parties need to educate their people. 
  4. In the end, Taiwan cannot win -- either Japan will retain the Senkakus or China will annex them, but either way Taipei can do nothing. If Beijing wins what will Taiwan do? Demand the return of the Senkakus from new Imperial state?
  5. Another sad example of the way in which the rhetorical stances and behavior of Chinese Nationalists are mimicked by their opponents even when the specific claims of Chinese nationalism are being denied.
As I've noted before, an important function of the Senkakus from the PRC standpoint is that they constitute an irritant that prevents smooth Taiwan-Japan relations. TIers need to stop acting like Beijingers and claiming the territories of other nations. This hurts Taiwan independence and helps Beijing.

MEDIA: Speaking of the islands, Far Eastern Sweet Potato rips a poll claiming that majority in Taiwan and China want cooperation on Senkaku issue.
Before Taiwan sets sail for the contested islets and claims its rightful property, let’s take a closer look at the numbers and what they really say. And prior to that, it would be useful to pause for a second and restate a few caveats: The China Times is owned by the Want Want China Times Group, whose chairman — Taiwan’s wealthiest person — Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), made his fortune in China and is a known supporter of Beijing. For its part, the Global Times is affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party and has a long tradition of publishing highly nationalistic, and oftentimes militaristic, propaganda. It cannot be trusted to honestly handle an opinion poll.
Now just google to find of the completely irresponsible and unethical international media stenographic organizations that passed along that poll without warning readers of its background -- it actually should not have been passed along by any news organization. Thanks guys! As long as you simply pass this crap undigested through your system, we bloggers will always be in business.
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1 comment:

Jerome Besson said...

Following up on your comment that "Taipei can do nothing" in regard of the Senkakus, I'd venture that Taihoku could.

Present day Japanese - and that includes both the naichis and the hondos - have too long been inured from the fineprint in that 60 years old treaty