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Oct 2, 2008

Self-defeating nature of calling Taiwan a "region"

First, the Ma administration position...

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not denigrate the country’s sovereignty or move toward de-Taiwanization by describing Taiwan as a region, Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said on Monday.

Wang was referring to Ma’s redefinition of the cross-strait status quo as “a special relationship, but not a relationship between states” in an interview with a Mexican newspaper last month.

Wang said Ma did not create the term “Taiwan region” to blur the country’s sovereignty, saying that Ma’s new characterization of the cross-strait relationship as one between the “Taiwan region” and the “mainland region” was in accordance with the Republic of China (Taiwan) Constitution.

Based on the constitutional framework, both regions are part of the Republic of China’s (ROC) territory, but only the “Taiwan region” is under the rule of the ROC, Wang said.

The ROC is an independent sovereign state, the spokesman said. Both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ruled separately and should treat each other equally as defined in the ROC Constitution, which was amended in 1991, Wang said.
OK, let's edit that down to the only two points raised in the argument.
Based on the constitutional framework, both regions are part of the Republic of China’s (ROC) territory, but only the “Taiwan region” is under the rule of the ROC, Wang said....

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ruled separately and should treat each other equally as defined in the ROC Constitution, which was amended in 1991, Wang said.
The first argument is basically true; the constitution for all intents and purposes defines all of China and Taiwan to both be part of the ROC's territory. The second is just a wish. So the Ma government's position is:
  1. There is only China in the world, and one legal government of China.
  2. That legal government is the ROC government.
  3. The PRC exists only as an illegal, rogue regime>
  4. The legal government, the ROC, and the illegal rogue regime calling itself the PRC ought to treat each other equally but not on government-to-government terms.
Now there are a few obvious and stark problems with this formulation.
  1. Going only on national titles, there is clearly not one China in the world.
  2. If there is, the legitimate government is certainly not the Republic of China, neither in terms of international law nor simple common sense.
  3. The PRC administration may be illegitimate (on democratic grounds), but arguing it is an illegal or rogue entity is impossible.
  4. Since when does a legal government ever treat an illegal rival on its own territory "equally?" Only when it already lost the battle and must assent to the rebels' or seperatists' demands.
On its face, this policy is an implicit admission that the ROC has no way to ever control the territory administered by the PRC, but does not wish to continue the battle, so is willing to discuss things on "equal," non-government-to-government terms.

The reality is that Ma is a "One China" adherent, ardently opposed to Taiwan even having a choice of de jure independence, who has formulated this position purely to please China, make this an "internal Chinese" issue and hopefully get some favors out of it in return. Favors still forthcoming. No sign of them yet.

And the darker reality is that, if you are China, and Taiwan is playing the hand Ma is playing, you would adopt the mirror image of Ma's first through third points while treating Taiwan any way you'd like.

If you're China, does it make sense today to treat Taiwan "equally?" Sure, as long as that doesn't involve recognizing or even dealing with Taiwan's non-governmental, illegal rogue regime. But what about tomorrow? Probably not so appealing.

The Ma government has retreated dramatically from the policies of Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. He is repudiating any claims that there are two legitimate governments on China and Taiwan respectively, thus guaranteeing the international community will eventually accept the PRC stance that this is an "internal Chinese problem" (after all, if Taiwan does, who else wouldn't?). Ma is cutting off any hope Taiwan will have of de jure independence by undermining the reality of de facto independence (by arguing that one of the Cs [PRC/ROC] is just a rogue regime).

And worst of all, China sits quietly on the sidelines, waits to see how much Ma will give away for free over his first couple years, and will then use that as the starting point of any negotiations, forcing Taiwan to concede even further.

==============

I wish someone would expose Ma as the king with no clothes using the following yes-no questions during a press conference or interview:
  1. Does the People's Republic of China exist?
  2. Since the Communist Party is illegal in the ROC, will you arrest communists visiting Taiwan?
  3. Are problems between Taiwan and the "mainland" an internal Chinese problem?
  4. Are Taiwanese people Chinese? (wow, would that one ever blow up on him).
  5. Do you hope to see the ROC govern Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang and Beijing again one day?
  6. Do you personally hope for unification?
  7. Do you wish to move the ROC capital back to Nanjing some day?

2 comments:

N.J said...

Your questions are good but cannot be answered but we all know the answers questions.

The truth is - Republic of China is Taiwan. Their destiny are linked together since 1949. Without a Republic of China, there will be no independent / self-ruling Taiwan. Without a independent Taiwan, there will be no Republic of China too.

so ROC / Free Taiwan will continue to / only exist with the existence of the other as in today circumstances.

Why peoples keep on asking the same questions again when they already knew the answer?

阿牛 said...

N.J,
I agree Ma would never answer the questions because we do all know the real answers, and they are the opposite of Ma's policy.