Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ma Raises Tensions: Just ask the State Dept!

East coast

From the Daily Press Briefing of the State Department:

QUESTION: Yeah. The president of Taiwan, the President Ma, is going to travel to Taiping Island. And what’s the U.S. comment on it?

MR TONER: Sure. Hold on one second, please.


MR TONER: You’re talking about – yeah, President Ma Ying-jeou’s plans to travel to Taiping Island, I think. Frankly, we’re disappointed. We view such an action as unhelpful, and it does not contribute to the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea. We urge Taiwan and all claimants to lower tensions and de-escalate tensions rather than taking actions that could possibly raise them.

QUESTION: Follow-up.

QUESTION: But even during the China build the rock, the U.S. don’t even use the wording like “disappointed” and “unhelpful.” Why this time the U.S. pick up these two wording on Taiwan? Is it fair enough for all the claimant? [MT: Love this reporter. May he have a long life with no back pain]

MR TONER: Well, look. I’m not going to – we’ve been very clear that we disagree with China’s actions in terms of manmade structures on the islands. We view them also as unhelpful and that they don’t lead to a peaceful resolution of the disputes over the South China Sea. We want to see a halt among all claimants to further land reclamation, construction of new facilities, militarization of outposts. All of that would help lower tensions and create space for a peaceful resolution.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Will it further U.S.-Taiwan’s relation?

MR TONER: I’m not aware that we had a conversation with them. I just don’t know.

QUESTION: Will it affect the U.S. and Taiwan’s relation?

MR TONER: Will affect our --

QUESTION: Yeah. How will it affect --

QUESTION: We have very strong relations with Taiwan. Sometimes we disagree on their actions. We’re committed to a “one China” policy. [MT: recall this does not include Taiwan. Note use of "a" not "the" ] We look forward to the incoming president and building stronger relations with Taiwan. But we disagree on this particular act.


QUESTION: Yeah, Mark, the – you used some of the harsh words on President Ma’s trip to the Taiping Island. But Taiping is the largest natural island in the South China Sea the Republican of China has claimed since 1946 and has occupied since 1956. Why can’t he do that? Taiwan is probably the last party to want to raise tension in the South China Sea. But it has a voice that it wants the international community to hear. When you have – when you consult on the South China Sea, when you discuss the disputes in the South China Sea, Taiwan is never a party to be invited to the table. For instance, Secretary Kerry talked about a diplomatic approach to the disputes in the South China Sea in Beijing today. Would the United States make sure that Taiwan would be invited to the table as a party to the diplomatic approach? Thank you.

MR TONER: So – sure. I can’t speak to whether we would invite Taiwan to take part in any diplomatic conversations, except to say that – and to address your first part of your question, which is why not have its voice be heard by traveling to Taiping Island. Taiwan is – or rather, President Ma Ying-jeou has every right to make his position clear on the South China Sea. We just disagree with this particular action. We view it as – frankly, as raising tensions rather than what we want to see, which is de-escalation. We do want to see dialogue. We welcome all voices in the region weighing in in that dialogue. And it’s only through, as we’ve said many times, a diplomatic mechanism that we can successfully resolve the South China Sea.

Taiwan is a valued partner. We do have a strong dialogue with them and we’re going to continue to listen to their concerns and reflect their concerns in the various fora that address this issue.

QUESTION: Follow-up?

MR TONER: Please, follow up. Let’s finish this and then --

QUESTION: Last one.

MR TONER: Are you on this too?

QUESTION: In the region.

MR TONER: Okay. Cool.

QUESTION: Thanks. I mean, the point is Taiwan has long been excluded from the dialogue among the claimant of the South China Sea, and since the United States discourage President Ma from visiting the island, what would you encourage the Government of Taiwan to do as a claimant of the South China Sea?

MR TONER: Well again, I mean, I’m not going to list the steps that Taiwan or the Taiwanese Government should take and dictate to it in any way, shape, or form. I’m just saying that this particular action, we view as unhelpful.

Obviously it was wise of the DPP not to participate in this mission of Ma's, which he has been nagging about for months now.

I'll be commenting elsewhere tomorrow... look for it.
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Anonymous said...

A few months ago, you or someone else commented that the KMT might lose one of its "most important assets - namely, the perception that it is the more powerful party in Taiwan and always will be." With the DPP now a mile ahead in mayorships, legislative seats, and the presidency, it looks like that perception is now well and truly dashed. Another defeat in 2018 and 2020 could be the nail in the coffin.

Shauming said...

To Huang Guochang 黃國昌, former legal scholar and newly elected legislator:

1. 中華民國是流亡政府, 台灣不是ROC 的領土。
2. 太平島本為法國領土, 二次大戰後屬於美國的。

請黃委員對主權相關的國際條約和法律, 從事相關研究。
可從 Richard W. Hartzell 何瑞元這篇文章開始。

Questions of Sovereignty -- the Montevideo Convention and Territorial Cession

Legislator Huang gave a very immature and foolish nationalist remark regarding the comment made by the US State Dept objecting Ma's visit to Taiping island.
see here

Anonymous said...

I hope Tsai's words and stance encourage more reporters to be so "normal" i.e. do what journalists should be doing and asking pointed questions.

Anonymous said...

As we see once again, the lovely US State Dept is full of its double standards when dealing with Taiwan (The Republic of China ROC). As witnessed throughout my career with a US government organization (dealing directly with US-Taiwan/US-China policy), I can say the US State Dept is the biggest hypocrite when it comes to Taiwan. I cannot understand why the United States of America does not truly support and protect Taiwan's democracy and freedoms it has achieved. Each administration starting with Nixon has treated Taiwan with such disdain and apathy. This place supported and assisted the US throughout so many issues starting in 1950 (Korean War) all the way thru the Vietnam War, and after Nixon's visit to Beijing saw the writing on the wall, then the final blow coming with Carter in 1978 (December 15 on a Friday evening as Congress recessed for Christmas). How can I call myself an American who stands up to tyranny and supports the values of democracy and freedom? and then watch my country turn its back and a place that strives so hard to be the role model for Asian democracy; and additionally, literally -- watched (watches) Taiwan beg the US to be part of the world. But again, the US State Dept slaps down Taiwan and does not let Taiwan be part of the world. However, you see the US State Dept embrace and beg China (PRC) to be our friend -- yet China plays it so very well, and has the US State Dept dangling from its puppet strings. Just look at the nK missile and nuclear tests, John Kerry acting like a buffoon-clown begging China to have nK stops its testing. Hahaha -- you think China will help -- the answer is a big NO. Thus here we go again, watch China play Kerry and the US State Dept into making concessions regarding Taiwan. I really wonder what Kerry and Wang Yi (and other PRC officials) talked about regarding Taiwan and the secret deals they are making that do NOT benefit Taiwan. I am embarrassed to call myself an American at times, however, the only things that keeps me from going insane, is reading the US Constitution and the US Declaration of Independence and reflecting on the true values of why American became into its own.

Now US State Dept, please do the right thing and stop acting and treating Taiwan with such double standards and hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

According to Ma, the move was in protest to Philippine's motion to demote the island to a rock on the international court three years ago, the decision of which will be made public this June. How is that an effective move I don't understand, unless he is planning to stay there until June, but, should he really be blamed for escalating tension with feeble useless symbolic move when it's a response to the tension raised by Philippines three years ago which is now about to snap on his face?

Unknown said...

anon@jan.29.11.32's "I cannot understand why the United States of America does not truly support and protect Taiwan's democracy and freedoms it has achieved."

During world WWII in the Pacific, there was one instance I know of, of an IJA officer collaborating with his captors and directing US bombers on their target. US Navy officers used him for the intelligence he facilitated. But did they respect him?

Could not it be that the US executive branch remains aware of a long buried truth about Japanese Taiwan that eludes us, contemporaries of Chukka Taihoku (中華台北)?

Just sayin'.

Unknown said...

" How can I call myself an American who stands up to tyranny and supports the values of democracy and freedom?"

The 2012 elections have convinced me that I can no longer make that claim for America. We may at times stand for democracy and freedom, but we are so unreliable as to be worse than useless. It has been claimed (inaccurately I believe) that General Patton said "I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." We have become that mythical French division - so prone to betrayal of our allies that everyone involved is better off if we stay out of the way.

B.BarNavi said...

Wasn't this move basically designed to put a wrench into Tsai's "Southward Outreach" policy? God forbid that Taiwan should have allies outside of China.

B.BarNavi said...

There's this not very bright deep-blue troll on Reddit, who claims that President Chen (the first lame-duck visitor to this island) visited Taiping in 2008 in order to "provoke China". Not one to take any of his spewing seriously, this prompted me thinking: Just what was Chen's real purpose in visiting Taiping, and how is it different from Ma's? My speculation was that Ma's still trying to curry favor with the Dashed Line powers, while at the same time throwing a monkey wrench into his successor's plans for friendlier relations with SE Asian nations. Could someone explain to me what's going on here?