Taiwan, China Matters: a MOFA Smokescreen?

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Saturday September 13, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Henry Chen, MOFA spokesman, announced yesterday that MOFA has found fewer cases of Chinese pressure against Taiwan participation in international affairs. "In the first half of the year, there were relatively fewer examples of China's suppression of Taiwan." While this sounds like progress, Chen did not elaborate as to why and so leaves the whole matter in the vagaries of limbo. Does this mean China is relenting or that a certain strategy is working? Chen's vagueness is as graspable as the morning mist.

If Chen's words are taken at face value, i.e. the first half of the year, then the administration of Chen Shui-bian could take credit for China relenting on its pressure since five of the six months of the first half of the year were under that administration. If on the other hand Chen is trying to make a case for or to salvage some pride for Ma Ying-jeou's self-styled "flexible" approach, he still leaves himself open to criticism.

One could argue that China does not need to exert pressure since Ma is giving the farm away anyway and that Ma, crawfish-like, is backing down from any confrontation. If Ma surrenders Taiwan's sovereignty, China can put its efforts elsewhere on what it considers "other domestic problems."

What we would like to see is that MOFA put out a list of what it claims is progress by listing the actual organizations where Taiwan has gained significant and not token participation and under what name is that participation done. That is, is Taiwan participating in the organization under a denigrating role or title that defines it as a subsidiary, province, region, lackey (you name it) of China or not? No more smokescreens please.