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Saturday, May 31, 2008

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DPP on the Wu-Hu Lovefest

Xuenfang Battery in Tainan, on Guanghua Street, now enclosed in the grounds of a Buddhist nunnery.

The DPP came out with a statement on Saturday morning saying that the Wu-Hu talks had inflicted "five major wounds" on Taiwan:

  • Harming Taiwan's democracy by regressing the pattern of cross-strait negotiations back before even the October 1992 semi-public SEF-ARATS talks to the party to party talks called for in the "Nine Points" issued in 1981 by Ye Jianying and by returning to an era of "the party leads the government." The negotiations are "private negotiations" and the KMT neither has to report to the Legislative Yuan nor be subject to any monitoring.

  • Harming Taiwan's sovereignty as Wu did not even dare to mention "one China, separate expressions," turning Taiwan`s President Ma into Taipei's Mister Ma. Thus did not just set aside disputes, it set aside Taiwan's sovereignty. Wu`s request for Beijing's help in arranging Taiwan`s international space also reduced Taiwan`s sovereignty into a bargaining chip with China so that even before negotiations have begun, Taiwan has already made a serious concession by Wu`s agreement to "hollow out" Taiwan`s sovereignty.

  • Harming Taiwan's negotiation process by placing the KMT-CCP platform ahead of the SEF - ARATS channel and even implying with the timing that only because of the party-to-party talks and has allowed China to portray the June 11-14 talks as the product of party-to-party negotiations and has thus created confusion between the KMT-CCP "Track Two" and the SEF-ARATS "Track One."

  • Harming Taiwan's security as, while proclaiming that the people on both sides of the strait belonged to the same Chinese nation had shared the love of compatriots, Hu has not done anything to eliminate the threat to the 23 million Taiwan people by 1,400 missiles aimed at Taiwan or to cease oppressing Taiwan`s international space or blocking Taiwan's entry into the
    WHO. The only result of the Wu-Hu talks has been the depreciation of Taiwan's sovereignty.

  • Harming Taiwan's economic interests by focusing solely on the opening of the Taiwan market to Chinese tourists and the initiation of direct weekend passenger charter flights, both of which are more favorable to the PRC`s interests, and failing to discuss the question of direct charter cargo flights, which is more in Taiwan's interest and would facilitate the retention of R&D and precision component production in Taiwan and locating assembly operations in China.

  • The DPP statement said it did not oppose contact between political parties in the PRC and Taiwan on the basis of upholding Taiwan`s national interests, promoting cross-strait peace, publicizing Taiwan`s democracy and assisting China`s democratization.

    However, the DPP maintained that such interaction should not involve matters of public authority or national interest and noted that if such contacts did do so, they would be violating the statute on cross-strait relations, which specifically bans any individuals or organizations from engaging in negotiations with mainland organizations or government on matters that involve public authority or interest.

    Some incisive commentary from the DPP. Wu has granted the PRC everything it wants and gotten nothing from the PRC. As a perceptive commentator pointed out to me, it looks like the public elected the KMT to fix the economy by moving closer to China, but the KMT is moving closer to China regardless, and the economy is just an excuse. In a society with a robust and fair-minded media, the disjunct between the goals of the KMT and the people might cause serious problems, but with the way the media serves the Blues....

    Labels: ,

    5 Comments:

    At 10:07 AM, Blogger Dan Evensen said...

    Nice blog. Some thoughts from someone who has studied this issue intensively:

    1) These talks don't harm Taiwan's democracy at all. Nothing that took place during the 湖吴会 has anything to do with the state of Democracy within Taiwan. They are talks concerning Taiwan's foreign relations with China, and should be treated as such.

    2) Taiwan's sovereignty was only harmed insofar as reunification is concerned. Nothing was said regarding reunification during these talks. Taiwan is every bit as sovereign and democratic today as it was in 2001, despite the fact that it currently has more open communication with China. Indeed, the greatest harm to Taiwan's sovereignty would be a independence declaration, as it would surely lead to an invasion.

    3) This is nothing more than a partisan complaint. The DPP is upset because their agenda is no longer at the forefront. Sure, it's a valid complaint, but it only hurts the Progressive Party, and does not harm Taiwan in any way.

    4) It is true that Hu has not yet removed the missiles. However, I honestly doubt Hu would remove them if a Progressive candidate were in office, and I especially doubt he would remove them if Taiwan hadn't taken steps to thaw out relations. You can't blame the fact that these missiles exist on the policies of Wu Baoxiong or Ma Yingjiu; rather, they were set up as a response to pro-independence movements on the island. If anything, Wu's meeting with Hu was a step toward a peaceful agreement, not away from one.

    5) Are you assuming that Taiwan's economy would be better off without open trade with mainland China? Classical economics argue against such restrictions on trade, as I am sure you are aware. Is Taiwan in an economic position to restrict trade with mainland China? I suppose this question is very politically charged, but it seems to me that the majority of people in Taiwan would rather see more open trade relations with the mainland, especially considering Taiwan's current economic state.

    Also, I sincerely doubt that the Taiwanese media is merely pushing the blue agenda as much as possible. You know as well as I do that there are several pro-Green media outlets in Taiwan, and you also ought to realize that most foreign presses report cross-strait relations with a green slant (particularly the influential New York Times). We're not in the 1950s anymore, the white terror is over, and it's time to leave all the clamoring about censorship aside.

    You do have a point about China not giving in to any of Taiwan's demands (especially the missile situation). My only question: does allowing travelers from China to visit Taiwan work more to China's benefit, or to Taiwan's? It seems to me that such a development would give Taiwan's economy added revenue, especially considering the fact that Taiwanese can currently visit mainland China without many problems. Free trade and free travel are not zero-sum games.

    Having said all that, I doubt we'll see much improvement in cross-strait relations during Ma Yingjiu's tenure. The further he pushes a 去台湾化 strategy, the less popular he will become domestically, and the stronger the DPP's position will become. I don't think the average Taiwanese voter is necessarily pro-independence, but I am sure that s/he is against reunification. By coming to power, Ma is not going to damn Taiwan to a horrible existence in the chains of communist servitude; however, he is also not going to allow Taiwan to be blown off the face of the earth in a mad rush towards nominal independence.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. Nothing personal -- I really like your blog, though I disagree politically. Cheers!

     
    At 9:55 PM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

    1) These talks don't harm Taiwan's democracy at all. Nothing that took place during the 湖吴会 has anything to do with the state of Democracy within Taiwan. They are talks concerning Taiwan's foreign relations with China, and should be treated as such.

    I see a future undersecretaryship in the state department for you, so divorced from reality is your presentation. Onward and upward!

    2) Taiwan's sovereignty was only harmed insofar as reunification is concerned. Nothing was said regarding reunification during these talks.

    Two issues. First, there is no such thing as "RE-unification" since Taiwan has never been part of China. The idea of Taiwan as China's "sacred national territory" is strictly a post-WWII phenomenon.

    Second, you have no idea what was actually said during the talks -- and your responses (1) & (2) ignore the backchannel chats between the two longtime anti-democracy parties, where the real negotiations are going on (the Wu-Hu Lovefest is a typical bit of Chinese insider/outsider theatre). I'm curious as to why you didn't mention that real talks...

    Finally, Ma's treatment of Taiwan's sovereignty as a local Chinese issue, his refusal to engage in a positive diplomatic initiative, and his reconstruction of Taiwan as a territory of the ROC are all downgrades of the island's democracy and its sovereignty. Not mention the KMT's resolute opposition to the purchase of much-needed F-16s.

    Democracy, Dan, IS self-determination.

    Taiwan is every bit as sovereign and democratic today as it was in 2001, despite the fact that it currently has more open communication with China.

    No, actually it is far more sovereign and democratic than it was in 2001, thanks to eight years of having the pro-democracy party running the government.

    Indeed, the greatest harm to Taiwan's sovereignty would be a independence declaration, as it would surely lead to an invasion.

    What this sentence is doing here is a mystery, since no one seriously advocates that. In other words, you state that the greatest harm to Taiwan's sovereignty is something that hasn't happened and that no one advocates.

    3) This is nothing more than a partisan complaint.

    It is also nothing less than a partisan complaint -- from the pro-Taiwan side. Think about it.

    The DPP is upset because their agenda is no longer at the forefront. Sure, it's a valid complaint, but it only hurts the Progressive Party, and does not harm Taiwan in any way.

    Right -- the DPP is motivated solely by their own partisanship. They don't love Taiwan, and the reason so many of them went to jail during the martial law years was for the free room and board.

    Complaining about Ma selling out Taiwan -- which, as was revealed today in congressional hearings, is all too true -- is not "partisanship" but trying to stop something terrible from happening. We all know what Ma wants, and what Lien and the real KMT power elites want.

    You can't blame the fact that these missiles exist on the policies of Wu Baoxiong or Ma Yingjiu; rather, they were set up as a response to pro-independence movements on the island.

    Dan, for someone who has studied the issue intensely, you sure are uninformed about it. The missiles are there because China wants to annex the island, not to "stop the independence movement." Installation of the missiles began in 1991 and planning for them prior to that. That was long before the independence movement acquired any formal political power.

    Are you assuming that Taiwan's economy would be better off without open trade with mainland China? Classical economics argue against such restrictions on trade, as I am sure you are aware.

    Dan, are you aware of the assumptions underlying Ricardian comparative advantage? Classical economics does in fact say the opposite of what you believe. It says that open trade will only work when the factors of production -- land, labor, capital, entrepreneurship, -- not mobile between nations, and when factor prices are set in markets. Do any of those conditions apply in the real world? The current "free trade" religion bears the same relationship to actual economics as social darwinism bore to darwin.

    The fact is -- you only have to look -- no nation on earth has unrestricted trade with China, because they all know that is suicide.

    BTW, if Taiwan's economy will be so wonderful with China, why was the high growth rate period in the past during the time when we had no trade with China?

    Is Taiwan in an economic position to restrict trade with mainland China? I suppose this question is very politically charged, but it seems to me that the majority of people in Taiwan would rather see more open trade relations with the mainland, especially considering Taiwan's current economic state.

    What economic state? 5.7% growth last year? <4% unemployment? Taiwan now has $200 billion in investments in China and yet people argue that economy is bad. Ok, I accept that provisionally. Our economy sucks. Now please explain why after sending investments worth 2/3 our GDP to China without a massive boost, our economy can expect to jump by sending more that way.

    However, the reality is that economy is doing great, it is the income distribution that is bad. You might brood a little on whether increasing the size of the service industry as a proportion of GDP is really a good idea from the income distribution standpoint.

    I agree that many people would like to see closer links to China -- though what they actually want is not closer links but Chinese money to flow here.

    Finally, our economy and stock market DO suck right now. The latter has plunged since Ma took over.

    Also, I sincerely doubt that the Taiwanese media is merely pushing the blue agenda as much as possible. You know as well as I do that there are several pro-Green media outlets in Taiwan,

    LOL, almost every media outlet in Taiwan is pro-Blue, except the Liberty Times group and a couple of the TV stations, and Taiwan News. Do you really get what goes on here, media-wise? "Sincerely doubt" is not an argument but an admission of ignorance....

    and you also ought to realize that most foreign presses report cross-strait relations with a green slant (particularly the influential New York Times).

    For crying out loud, do you EVER read the news? The NY Times is notorious for its inability to get anything right on Taiwan, we make fun of it all the time on my Taiwan blog, at Rank, and here. The foreign media is on the whole generally pro-KMT. I've been tracking then for years now. Why don't you hop over to the View From Taiwan and start reading all my fun links with the "media" tag and you'll soon see. In fact the media has absorbed Beijing's viewpoints so completely that a few years ago Reuters tried to sue the Taipei Times for removing its routinely pro-Beijing formulaic descriptions (the renegade province crap) and force it to retain them. I've had many conversations with local international media on just this point, and they have all explained the pro-Blue/Beijing slant of the international media is the result of China's rise, and the editors, who are frequently China-focused but really don't get or actively dislike Taiwan.

    Among the major media organs, all the European ones except Reuters are generally pro-Blue -- DPA, AFP (often quite baldly pro-Blue), and BBC (see my dissection of their timeline of Taiwan). In the US only McClatchy is never pro-Blue. Newsweek does a pretty balanced job, but FEER is a joke. SCMP and the Singapore papers are totally pro-Beijing/Blue, I just destroyed an SCMP piece from an alternate reality earlier this week. The NY Times is not pro-Blue in its heart but generally manages to regurgitate pro-Blue positions. Washington Post is either nuetral or pro-Blue, since their Taipei source is a seriously pro-Blue reporter. Bloomberg makes me laugh sometimes, they are so Blue. Ditto for Forbes. AP varies because they source from so many reporters and editors so it is hard to say. Some individual writers are reliably pro-Taiwan, but they are not common and few have steady output. The Asia Times, which relies on the redoubtable Ting Yi Tsai, is always in the middle, but the LA Times is hopelessly pro-Blue because their main go-to reporter is.

    My only question: does allowing travelers from China to visit Taiwan work more to China's benefit, or to Taiwan's? It seems to me that such a development would give Taiwan's economy added revenue, especially considering the fact that Taiwanese can currently visit mainland China without many problems.

    The issue isn't tourism. It is that the thing Taiwan really needs is shipping links -- but those were not on the table. The DPP did a much better job of negotiating with China -- it packaged the cargo and shipping links with the tourism.

    It's not a case of hurting or helping, the tourism. It is a tiny amount in Taiwan's $300 billion economy (just posted an article on it on my blog last week). The issue is that the real need, cargo, wasn't addressed.

    Free trade and free travel are not zero-sum games.

    Yes, they are Dan -- if you are Chinese. In a Chinese thinking transactions always produce a clear winner and loser. The idea of win-win is purely a foreign idea of no relevance to a Chinese negotiating.

    And finally, if free trade is so wonderful, why is it that not a single nation in the world engages in it? Because everyone knows that free trade is a suicide pact.

    The fact is that every nation around China takes steps to limit the impact of China on their economy, just as China does (for example, foreign banks can only own 20% of Chinese banks). Why is it? Did they not go to the university and learn "Classical economics?" Or is it that they know the Free Trade religion is merely the opiate of the masses?

    Ma is not going to damn Taiwan to a horrible existence in the chains of communist servitude; however, he is also not going to allow Taiwan to be blown off the face of the earth in a mad rush towards nominal independence.

    What "mad rush" toward nominal independence? Can you name three or for events that took place in this "mad rush"?

    Ma isn't going to damn us to the chains of CCP servitude, but no one feared that. Exaggerated descriptions like are pointless. Ma instead will do grave damage to the island's sovereignty and democracy, in small steps, of course. He is much too timid to do anything in big revolutionary leaps. And Ma is hardly the decisionmaker, or the only factor in the equation. The party is run by elites who despise Ma and want annexation now....

    Michael

     
    At 10:03 PM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

    My blog is at
    http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/

    For an example of TIME piece containing many usual media tropes, try this one.


    Michael

     
    At 10:15 PM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

    My piece on the Beeb Timeline

    Fun with timelines!".

    Type "Wong" in my search function and look for the article on the NY Times.

    Michael

     
    At 10:50 PM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

    Wait -- here's the Wong piece

    And so the flow of crap begins....

     

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