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Jun 2, 2009

More confusing still

At the El Salvador presidential inauguration ceremony which President Ma Ying-jeou was attending, he ran into Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and introduced himself as "President of Taiwan." This seemed almost like an intentional contrast to Wu Po-hsiung's mention of daonei while in China.

But, Ma clarified his introduction during a tea session with reporters, whenever he says "President of Taiwan," he means "President of the Republic of China," certainly not "President of the Republic of Taiwan."

Well, fair enough if you think, like A-bian did, that Taiwan = the ROC, a position Ma may or may not have endorsed at some point, depending on how you interpret that famous pre-election statement, 台灣就是中華民國.

So to wrap up what we've learned by carefully watching KMT statements before and after the election last year, the KMT position is:

  1. Taiwan and the Chinese mainland are both parts of the Republic of China, a fact that the constitution mandates -- neither independence or unification are possible without constitutional amendments. So Taiwan is not a country.
  2. Still, thanks to doublethink, "Nobody thinks Taiwan isn't a country."
  3. Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to the ROC, and the ROC's sovereignty belongs to all of the ROC citizens. Therefore Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to the people on both sides of the Taiwan strait.
  4. However, the future of cross-strait relations should be decided "on the Taiwan side" by the Taiwanese people through referendum, but not until a generation from now.
  5. But first, Taiwan and China should sign a peace agreement in Ma's first term. Scratch that, make it the theoretical second term.
What to make of the shifts which one commenter on this blog accurately called a "merry-go-round" of policy statements? I doubt Ma is confused about his position on this -- he's merely trying to pander to both the CCP and the Taiwan electorate, who hold incompatible positions, because he needs both of their support to have a chance at re-election or legacy.

And -- if Taiwan's military becomes an otherwise worthless paycheck factory, if the economy becomes fully dependent on China, if countries like Japan and the US write off Taiwan, all while Beijing refuses to renounce the use of force and openly maintains the goal of unifying under the one country, two systems formula sooner rather than later-- does it matter what the Taiwan government's position is? Would China stop short of simply demanding compliance with their preferred terms for unification? All signs suggest making such a demand wouldn't bother them a bit.

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