The Diaoyutais Incident: Ma Ying-jeou Fails the Action Test Once More

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Friday June 13, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The Diaoyutais Islands are just a bunch of rocks and as such they would not be worth fighting over. What makes them valuable of course is the possibility that there may be oil below them; that plus the fact ownership would allow Taiwan, Japan or China (three claimants to the islands) to extend their territorial waters. So the collision on Tuesday of a Taiwanese fishing boat with a Japanese patrol vessel at that location has all the makings of an international incident. Now it is Friday, three days later and we still have yet to hear from Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou. Do we have a president? His silence is deafening.

What is happening is typical and continues to reveal what those have observed Ma over the years know to be true. When it comes time for action, when it comes time to stop passing the buck, when it comes time to take responsibility, Ma, the man who glories in talking out of both sides of his mouth without acting is speechless.

China isn't helping Ma. China is denying Taiwan's sovereignty over the islands in saying that Japan should not have harassed a "China Taiwan" boat. China is using the incident to say Taiwan belongs to China.

Japan isn't helping Ma. By sending its patrol boat there, it is staking its claim to sovereignty. Japan's presence is a challenge. No, no one is helping Ma and Ma does not know what to do.

Ma already has someone to take the fall for him like he did in the crime of his misuse of state funds. Peter Tsai has shouldered the responsibility of telling the Taiwan coast guard ship to stand down. But this incident needs more than someone to take the fall for that. More is needed; action and a responsible decision needs to be made and Ma who tries to please everyone and ends up pleasing none, is no where to be seen.

It is time for Ma to stand up for Taiwan against both China and Japan and Ma can't do it. It is time for Ma to stand up for Taiwan and Taiwan alone and Ma can't do it. It is time for Ma to stand for Taiwan's sovereignty against all comers including China and Japan and Ma continues to search desperately to see which way the wind is blowing. Ma finds that it is blowing in from all quarters and he is helpless. So with no one to please, Ma flounders. Such is our great leader.