Taiwan Rejects Most of U.S. Arms Package Offered in 2001

June 16, 2007 at 9:20 am | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments

Jane Rickards in Taipei, June 16 2007 Washington Post

After six years of hesitation, Taiwan’s legislature voted Friday night to approve only a small portion of an $18 billion arms package suggested by the Bush administration as the best way to gird the self-ruled island against any attack by China.

The negotiated decision, which passed on a vote of 176 to 20, called for Taiwan to spend $300 million on military purchases from the United States. Legislators approved the purchase of P-3 Orion anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft but declined to equip the island with the advanced PAC-3 antimissile systems encouraged by the Bush administration, opting instead to update existing Patriot missile batteries.

Legislators also declined to purchase diesel-electric submarines as suggested by Washington but promised to study the issue further.

The approved purchases fall far short of the arms package proposed by the Bush administration in 2001 as the best way to meet the challenge of China’s military buildup. The legislature’s decision seemed likely to intensify complaints in Washington that Taiwan is unwilling to shoulder the expenses necessary to maintain a level of military preparedness.

Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy here, had repeatedly called on Taiwan’s government and legislature to come up with funds for the arms package suggested by Washington. But despite his appeals, and those of other officials in the Bush administration, the issue had long been bogged down in Taiwan’s partisan politics.

President Chen Shui-bian and his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party battled long and hard to get the arms package funded, calling it vital for Taiwan’s defense. But the opposition Nationalist Party, which controls the Legislative Yuan, refused to endorse it, saying the suggested purchases were too expensive, inappropriate for Taiwan’s needs and likely to fuel an arms race with the mainland.

Philip Yang, a political science professor at National Taiwan University, said the Nationalists decided to endorse at least the Orion aircraft purchase under the influence of Ma Yingjeou, the Nationalist candidate in the 2008 presidential election, who is eager to show he can deliver better relations with the United States than the often-contentious Chen.

Analysts said the approval of even a small part of the arms package might persuade Washington to approve a Taiwanese request for purchase of advanced F-16 aircraft. The budget called for buying the F-16s if Washington agreed to sell them, according to Su Chi, a Nationalist lawmaker.

The Bush administration had been unwilling to entertain the Taiwanese request for F-16s, saying the languishing 2001 arms package proposal had to be dealt with first.

There’s an arms “race” no matter what Taiwan decides to do. It’s not as if China slowed down its military buildup and modernization process over the past six years. It’s true that Taiwan cannot afford to engage China head on, but the island must possess enough of a deterrent to make the PLA think twice before attempting to “liberate” Taiwan.

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China’s Choice for Taiwan’s Next Leader

June 14, 2007 at 10:12 am | Posted in China, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

John Copper, June 14 2007 Taipei Times

Now that Frank Hsieh has won the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination and Ma Ying-jeou the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT), one has to wonder what preference China has for one or the other.

China’s pick would seem obvious. The DPP is the party of independence, anathema to Beijing’s leaders. Ma calls for unification — China’s declared policy. Chinese officials have applauded Ma’s positions on a host of issues. China has even published a complimentary biography of Ma.

But talk in some quarters in Washington has it that, strangely, Chinese leaders would rather Hsieh win next year’s election and become Taiwan’s next president.

At first glance this seems ridiculous, but it is not.

China has been very successful at isolating Taiwan under President Chen Shui-bian’s rule. Taiwan has fewer and fewer diplomatic friends and diminishing global support for anything it wants to do, including highly sensible efforts to participate in the WHO and other international bodies.

Even in Asia Taiwan has few backers. China is dominating regional economic and other organizations and has demanded that Taiwan be excluded. Taiwan’s status in the region has declined fast.

Meanwhile, under the DPP, Taiwan has become dependent upon China economically. More of its exports go to China than anywhere else. More than a million Taiwanese have gone to China, almost all to do business. Chen has overseen Taiwan’s integration with China commercially.

Taiwan’s relations with the US under Chen’s governance have deteriorated markedly. US officials have questioned whether the US should defend Taiwan. They have even denied Taiwan’s sovereignty (though that was no doubt to send a signal to Chen to stop provoking China, which the US needs to maintain stability in East Asia and for other reasons).

Beijing’s leaders thus feel time is on their side and they would like to continue with what they are doing — since they have been so successful at it.

If Ma were to become president next year Chinese leaders would have some compunctions about continuing their isolation of Taiwan and other hostile, but highly productive, policies.

Hsieh is known to be a moderate and will probably try to foster better cross-strait relations. He also is known to dislike Chen, Beijing’s supposed nemesis. But will his policies be different?

Hsieh needs Chen’s help to win the election. He must also use the issue of Taiwan’s national identity and even independence to win votes. How can he, in view of that, pursue better relations with China? Beijing knows this. Also, Ma is not as good a choice as he may seem. He has been more critical of China’s human-rights abuses (which Chinese leaders don’t like to hear about). He is even known to have some sympathy for the Falun Gong, seen by Beijing as a conspiratorial and dangerous reactionary sect.

Ma talks as if he favors unification. But he has been at odds with party members who really support that policy. He says it is up to the people, knowing numerous polls show there is very little support for unification among Taiwanese, at least in the short term. This means he is unlikely to do anything about it.

Ma is certainly unlikely to live up to China’s expectations and Chinese leaders would be in the awkward position of dealing with their so-called favorite if he were elected.

Thus, ironically, it makes sense that China wants Hsieh to be Taiwan’s next president.

This article is right on the money. The CCP needs the DPP to continue to push for formal independence in order to have an excuse to villianize and isolate Taiwan. This would in turn generate greater anti-CCP (preferably anti-China) sentiments amongst Taiwanese voters, which would translate into greater support for the DPP and its formal independence cause.

Why is the U.S. Ignoring Taiwan?

June 13, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

Therese Shaheen, June 14 2007 WSJ Commentary

Even as the United States is engaged in a global war against Islamist extremists, it has maintained its focus on other, more traditional security commitments around the world. For example, the six-party talks on North Korea and continued support to the government of Colombia in its struggle against narco-terrorists show that the U.S. has not neglected its other important global obligations.

Except perhaps one.

The commitment we have made to defend Taiwan if the island nation is attacked by China may be floundering, in a growing gap between what we say we are prepared to do to honor that commitment, and what we actually are doing to ensure we understand — and can execute — our commitment.

Simply put, U.S. policy toward Taiwan — a pro-U.S. democracy with an emerging two-party system — appears to be drifting. Formal and informal contacts, already complicated by the absence of diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei, have become less frequent, less high-level and less hospitable. If we are not careful, we may find ourselves in a situation where we would have to extricate ourselves — gracefully or otherwise — from a commitment that will have become increasingly difficult to honor.

The heart of the problem is that there is very little transparency between the U.S. and Taiwan. Neither treaty, statute nor explicit policy stands in the way. Rather, credit bureaucratic policy drift, made possible by otherwise distracted policy makers, combined with over-reliance on wishful thinking with respect to the U.S.-China relationship.

As journalist James Mann has argued, today’s status quo has also developed in part because of the artful application by leaders in Beijing and their more ardent supporters in the U.S. of such terms as “provocative,” and “pushing the envelope” in characterizing Taiwan’s actions with respect to its status and its relations with China. The acceptance of such language makes it difficult for the U.S. to draw closer to Taiwan without risking Beijing’s ire.

The rhetoric-reality gap provokes obvious questions: What preconditions are in place to ensure that military action is a last resort? Under what circumstances would the U.S. intervene? What is the state of the Taiwan military leadership? How ready are Taiwan’s forces to defend themselves? How ready are U.S. forces to work with them, should that be necessary?

Taiwan might be more serious about providing for its own defense and less reliant on U.S. commitments if there were greater clarity into what they mean and how they might be discharged. But the limited interaction imposed by the reality of U.S.-China-Taiwan circumstances has made this goal difficult to achieve. Today, the bureaucracy makes decisions by self-policing an unstated policy of “nothing goes.” One recent example: In May, the U.S. National Press Club hosted a discussion with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian by video link. U.S. officials at the desk-officer level concluded that it would undermine policy to attend this public event, reasoning that Mr. Chen’s appearance was intended as an attempt to circumvent restrictions on senior Taiwan officials visiting Washington, D.C.

But the lack of interaction goes beyond one-off, questionable decisions such as that. Military officers at the one-star level or above, or the civilian equivalent, are not permitted to meet in Taiwan with their counterparts. While there is serious contingency planning at high levels on both sides, senior U.S. planners and decision makers do not interact with their Taiwan counterparts. The dialogue instead is conducted by proxy at lower levels of government.

Even simple meetings are less frequent in recent years. As late as 2003, State and Defense Department officials — albeit at the mid-grade deputy assistant secretary level — were permitted to meet regularly with senior Taiwanese officials including the foreign minister outside of Washington, D.C. That contact no longer takes place. At the highest levels, the U.S.-Taiwan relationship would have to get much closer to even describe it as “arms-length.” No cabinet-level officials have met their Taiwanese counterparts since the Clinton administration.

As for the Taiwan president, he traditionally has been permitted to enter the U.S. only during a “transit” to other countries. In the past, that so-called transit was in practice an opportunity for the Taiwan leader to meet distinguished Americans, make civic addresses, and otherwise be treated as a visiting dignitary. That policy, too, has decayed over the past several years. By 2006, through bureaucratic drift and a desire not to be too “provocative” given warming relations with Beijing, the U.S. offered only a brief stop in Alaska, which Mr. Chen declined. In January 2007, President Chen was permitted a short stop in San Francisco, but social, civic and press interactions were extremely limited.

Is this really the most effective approach toward the leader of a government we may have to shed American blood to defend? Might it not be better simply to acknowledge our unwillingness or inability to do what must be done to sustain our security commitment?

U.S. policy toward Taiwan may itself be provocative, but not because the U.S. seeks to do too much with Taipei. Instead, we appear uninterested in doing much at all to better understand the implications of our own declared policy. Of course, we do not owe Taiwan or any other country certainty about U.S. intentions. Strategic ambiguity is important and governments reserve that option, particularly with respect to the use of military power. What has evolved with Taiwan, though, is something quite different: Strategic avoidance of the unique challenges posed by maintaining a security commitment with a country with which we have no diplomatic relations.

This is a complex affair, not to be quickly or easily resolved. There are obvious first steps. U.S. Presidents frequently rely upon special envoys — formal or informal — to examine regional issues. For example, both Democratic and Republican Presidents have discovered sufficient U.S. interests in the Balkans, Western Sahara and Sudan to appoint distinguished Americans to address them.

But none of these matters had the potential to affect our strategic priorities as much as the U.S.-China-Taiwan nexus. A presidential envoy in this instance would not be without precedent. Former President Reagan relied upon trusted informal advisors, including National Security Advisor Bill Clark and Senator Paul Laxalt to serve as channels to former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. President Clinton followed this pattern and former Congressman Lee Hamilton also served as an envoy to Taiwan.

President Bush should consider assigning this matter to the attention of such an envoy. Someone with sufficient stature and political mien could open a window for the President into the three-party situation that now is not possible given the stunted inter-agency and diplomatic processes. This is no panacea. But it might help reduce the risk to our own credibility that stems from paying insufficient attention to security guarantees no one forced us to make.

President Bush and his national security team have remained commendably focused on a number of disparate challenges around the world. The President has shown he is prepared to bear any burden and pay any price in pursuit of democratic freedom in some of the unlikeliest places on the globe. At far less cost, a bit more transparency with a pro-U.S. democratic government that represents 23 million free people seems like something perhaps only he can achieve, given bureaucratic tendencies to the contrary.

Does China Want to Become a Democracy?

June 13, 2007 at 12:01 pm | Posted in China, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

Andrew Leonard’s How the World Works has a post entitled, “has Taiwan screwed up China’s chances for democracy?” In summary, the article talks about how Taiwan’s seemingly chaotic, infant democracy may be setting a bad example for China, and thus stunt its “aspirations” to move forward with democratic reforms.

However, I believe the more prudent question should be, “does China even want to become a democracy?” or even more specifically, “what are the CCP’s motivations and incentives in pushing for democracy?”

Aside from the conventional notion that as a population becomes more affluent, it would naturally become more inclined to seek out democracy, another major driving force behind Taiwan’s transition from authoritarian rule was the fact that the government was “originally designed” to be a democracy. Therefore, going ahead with democratic reforms would only further bolster the government’s legitimacy and thus worked in its favor. Additionally, it was also a lot easier for political dissidents (rights activists) to fight for human rights, free elections and so when these rights were already included in the constitution.

Now let’s look at China. The CCP’s only source of legitimacy would be if it holds on to its communist ideals and strive to bring “equality to all” (at least in appearance). The CCP along with the rest of world knows that today’s China is the farthest thing from a communist state as envisioned by Marx and Lenin. However, China is still considered a “communist state” as long as it is a one-party state in which the ruling party declares allegiance to Marxism-Leninism and in which the institutions of the party and the state have become intertwined. The CCP understands this concept all too well, because without its communist “appearance” it would merely be a self-appointed ruling party aka authoritarian regime, which would completely strip the CCP of its legitimacy. This explains why the CCP is so sensitive towards anything political and its efforts in upholding the image of Mao.

For now, China’s breakneck economic growth and the people’s general attitude of “money first, screw the rest” have so far diverted attention away from the CCP. However, it should be clear by now that the CCP’s is ONLY concerned with staying in power. The same may be true for most political parties, but under a democracy with multiple political factions to serve as checks and balances, politicians are more motivated to better serve the interest of the people. So once again, the question is, since it’s only concerned with staying in power, does the CCP have any incentives or intention to push for democratic reforms? I seriously doubt it.

Taiwan Alarm at Costa Rica Move

June 7, 2007 at 10:06 am | Posted in China, Costa Rica, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 哥斯達黎加, 哥斯大黎加, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 3 Comments

June 7 2007 BBC News

Taiwan has ordered diplomats to shore up relations with its remaining allies after Costa Rica became the latest country to switch allegiance to China.

Chinese and Taiwanese academics said that Costa Rica’s move could trigger a domino effect, with other Latin American countries following suit. Only 24 states now recognise Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province…

“I’ve asked our embassies to take extreme precautions against any further pressure by the Chinese communists,” said Foreign Minister James Huang, whose resignation offer was refused by the president.

Opposition legislator John Chiang warned that other Latin American countries might now also switch allegiance to mainland China.

“We must be on our guard as the Costa Rican move might trigger a domino effect. We should not underestimate the grave diplomatic situation Taiwan is in,” he said…

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said his country needed to develop closer ties with China for economic reasons. China offered Costa Rica “an astronomical figure” to leave Taipei’s diplomatic fold, according to Mr Huang.

Taiwan and China have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949, and both often accuse each other of using “chequebook diplomacy” to attract allies.

China sees Taiwan as part of its territory has threatened to use force if the island ever moved to declare formal independence.

It refuses to have diplomatic ties with nations that recognise Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu called on other countries in the region to establish diplomatic relations with China.

“We are ready to establish normal state relations with these countries. The Taiwan question is the sole obstacle to establishing diplomatic ties,” she told a briefing.

The remaining 24 nations that are allied to Taipei are mostly small and impoverished nations in the Caribbean, Africa and the south Pacific, including the Solomon Islands, Nicaragua, Panama and Burkina Faso.

Americans Want U.S. to Protect Taiwan

May 31, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments

ustiawanchina

June 1 2007 Angus Reid Global Monitor

Many people in the United States believe their country should stand by Taiwan in case of a military confrontation with China, according to a poll by Zogby Interactive released by UPI. 53.5 per cent of respondents think the U.S. has a responsibility to defend Taiwan should it be attacked by China, while 36 per cent disagree.

Taiwan was formed in 1949 after the government of Chiang Kai-shek was forced out of China as Mao Zedong’s communists were gaining prominence. A series of democratic reforms implemented by Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui in the early 1990s allowed Taiwan’s residents to take part in free and fair elections. To this date, Mainland China considers Taiwan a “renegade province” and reserves the right to bring it under control.

In March 2005, legislators in China’s National People’s Congress passed the anti-secession law, which aims to prevent Taiwan’s independence. The legislation calls for the use of “non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On May 25, the Pentagon released a report titled “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, 2007”, in which it asserts the Asian country is engaged in “a sustained effort to develop the capability to interdict, at long ranges, aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups that might deploy to the Western Pacific.”

The report also explicitly says Beijing does not yet have “the military capability to accomplish with confidence its political objectives on (Taiwan), particularly when confronted with the prospect of U.S. intervention.”

pollresults

Welcome to Beijing “Disneyland”

May 9, 2007 at 12:18 pm | Posted in China, 盜版, 科技, 經濟, 经济, Economics, IPR, News, Piracy, Politics, Technology, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 智慧財產權, 智慧财产权, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

This should serve as a warning to all foreign investors looking to enter China. Compared to the rest of the world, China actually has a relatively comprehensive set of IPR regulations. The problem right now lies in their enforcement. Beijing claims that it’s making an effort to crack down on piracy, which is an integral part of almost every industry imaginable within China, from DVDs and LV handbags to SMART cars and prescriptions drugs.

For years, Beijing has placed the blame of China’s lack of IPR enforcement upon the local governments, which it claims are ignoring the policies implemented by the central government. This may be true to some extent but let’s not forget what we’re dealing with here. As a one-party state, the CCP has complete control of the system. The government is involved in almost every single aspect of the economy. So how credible is the CCP when it claims that it’s already doing its best? Unless…PIRACY IS GOOD.

China’s aspiration for globally recognized national champions and its ambition to establish itself as a technological superpower will be realized at the expense of foreign investors. Unlike other previous developing countries, which all had serious IPR problems but eventually caught up to Western standards brought upon by foreign pressure, China’s has little motivation to follow suite since it has more leverage than its trading partners. Although foreign investors understand the high level of risk involved relating to IPR infringement when they invest in China, with a potential consumer market of 1.3 billion, the CCP is confident that foreign investors will continue to flock to China with their new technologies. Currently, within most industries, foreign investors are required to pair up with a domestic partner. In time, the domestic partner will terminate the partnership and compete with its former foreign partner using a “similar” product. When the two parties go to court and when push comes to shove, as with everything else in China, those with the “connections” will prevail, leaving foreign investors completely vulnerable to such business risks.

As of now, the CCP will only do what’s best for its domestic industries, which is to turn a blind eye to piracy and allow local Chinese firms to profit and “innovate” at the expense of foreign investors. In the future, when Chinese firms become serious about R&D, that’s when the CCP will get serious about IPR protection as well.

As Mirror Images Emerge, Taiwan, China Can Reconcile

May 6, 2007 at 8:39 am | Posted in China, 經濟, 经济, Economics, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments

waitinggame

John C. Bersia, April 30 2007 Orlando Sentinel

Like bad Chinese food, the Beijing-Taipei flap over the 2008 Olympics torch relay leaves a funky, disappointing aftertaste. It is not what one should expect in connection with an event that celebrates human capability, spirited competition, collective pride and unity.

Ironically, the torch relay — advertised by China as the most inclusive in history — has ignited a firestorm of divisiveness more than a year before it is scheduled to light up the Olympics’ opening ceremony. Beijing wishes to run the torch through Taiwan as a continuation of its trek across parts of China, thus underscoring its claim to the island. Taipei seeks a route through third countries.

Whether this issue is resolved or not, the contentiousness between China and Taiwan — after nearly 60 years — has grown tiresome. No wonder some people throw their hands into the air and exclaim, “Why don’t they simply duke it out, and let the winner take all of China?”

Chinese leaders certainly appear prepared — and at times eager — for confrontation. The threat of military force lingers just behind their lips every time Taiwanese officials toy with notions of independence. But surely Beijing’s communist rulers know that an invasion of the island would fail, even if they managed to obliterate Taiwan. Most damaging, such action would deprive them of their only significant claim to legitimacy: Chinese economic strength.

If, because of war, China lost the ability to bring large numbers of have-nots to a higher standard of living each year, the Chinese people would stand up again — this time, with their pitchforks aimed directly at the leadership that supposedly liberated them in 1949. The Communist Party would die overnight.

Bear in mind that none of this discussion has considered the impact of China-Taiwan conflict and disruption on the regional and global economies. Clearly, this is not a civil spat that should be allowed to burn itself out.

So, what are the other options?

The tedious status quo, for one. Another would be for Taiwan to follow in the footsteps of Hong Kong and Macau, and end once and for all the artificial separation of China. Beijing would love that decision; indeed, it has dangled many incentives before Taipei to induce it to end the rift. Looking to the Hong Kong example, with a 50-year transitional agreement guaranteeing the district’s way of life, many analysts see opportunities for Taiwan. In fact, Taipei has the leverage to demand much more from such an arrangement.

It has little reason to take that route, though. After all, Taiwan occupies the higher ground in terms of its democratic government and free-market economy. China is still traveling down a sometimes herky-jerky road to reform. The controlling impulses of its moribund ideology hamper political development. Democratic practices are evident only at the village level. In addition, excessive state influence lingers over China’s economy, despite its power and numerous free-market elements.

Further, I do not buy the idea embraced by some that Taiwan might more effectively work to change China from the inside than it can in its current position.

I would prefer to see the opposite, that is, for China to join Taiwan, and have every expectation that reconciliation is possible later in this century. After all, Beijing and Taipei grow more interdependent with each passing year. Pressures for wider reform within China will not pause. Eventually, a “Big Taiwan” will rise on the mainland. At that point, when the two systems mirror one another, they will merge.

In the meantime, the key will be for sensible heads to prevail, particularly during moments of tension such as the spat over the Olympics. China and Taiwan must, at all costs, avoid sacrificing their vast mutual interests on the altar of their aging dispute.

Reunification is an option, but Mainland China must provide Taiwan sufficient motivations to do so. At its current rate of progress, it will be decades before “mirror images” emerge across the strait, especially if the CCP intends to hold on to power.

Taiwan and St Lucia Restore Ties

May 1, 2007 at 7:18 pm | Posted in China, 聖露西亞, News, Politics, St Lucia, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 圣卢西亚, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

stluciaflag

Taipei, May 1 2007 BBC News

Taiwan has re-established formal diplomatic ties with the Caribbean island of St Lucia – taking the number of its diplomatic allies to 25. Taiwan’s foreign minister signed the agreement with his St Lucian counterpart on a visit to the island. The decision is almost certain to prompt China to sever its ties with St Lucia, correspondents say. Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory, and requires its diplomatic allies not to recognise the island.

Both Taiwan and China have battled for years for diplomatic partners, accusing each other of using “dollar diplomacy” to win over allies. In recent years, China has been gaining the upper hand as its status and economic position around the world have grown, the BBC’s Caroline Gluck in Taipei says. Tuesday’s agreement re-establishes ties that were cut by St Lucia a decade ago under a previous administration.

Taiwan’s diplomatic victory was announced back home via a live satellite link from St Lucia, our correspondent reports.

“After four-and-a-half months of hard work, we accomplished the mission to restore diplomatic ties with St Lucia,” Foreign Minister James Huang told a Taipei press conference via telephone. He said Taiwan would offer St Lucia help on a range of projects, from agriculture, education and business to medical assistance.

He also said he hoped the deal would not result in China cutting its ties with St Lucia.

“We hope for a win-win situation for all and we do not mean to engage in zero-sum games with China,” he said. But the signs from Beijing were not encouraging.

“The resumption of diplomatic relations between St Lucia and Taiwan is a flagrant violation of the declaration on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and St Lucia,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. He urged St Lucia to rethink the decision or “be responsible for the consequences incurred”.

PRC: Travel from Mainland to Taiwan Not Country-to-Country Trip

April 29, 2007 at 9:40 pm | Posted in China, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 3 Comments

lubaozheng

Beijing, April 30 2007 Xinhua

A mainland tourism official on Sunday blamed the Taiwan authorities for putting obstacles in the way of mainland tourists who want to visit Taiwan.

The Chinese mainland removed the travel ban on mainland residents to Taiwan in May 2005, in order to expand people-to-people contacts and help boost Taiwan’s tourism industry.

Since October 2006, non-governmental tourism organizations on the mainland and in Taiwan have conducted five rounds of talks and reached consensus on major technical issues.

“But the consultation process was hindered by the Taiwan authorities, which led to sharp differences on certain issues between the negotiators,” Shao Qiwei, director of China’s National Tourism Administration, said at the closing ceremony of a two-day cross-strait forum. The mainland has showed great flexibility and offered many practical solutions, Shao said. “But the suggestions that the mainland put forward during the fifth round of consultations have so far received no feedback.”

“It is clear to all that the mainland should not be blamed for the failure to open Taiwan-bound tourist routes to mainland residents,” Shao said. The official said the mainland will continue to show the greatest sincerity and do its best to solve the issue.

“But it must be pointed out that mainland residents traveling to Taiwan are not taking country-to-country trips,” he said. Shao said he hoped the Taiwan authorities will “follow the will of the people and adopt a practical and positive attitude” in solving the remaining problems relating to cross-strait travel.

“If the Taiwan authorities sincerely support the consensus reached between non-governmental tourism organizations on both sides of the strait, Taiwan routes for mainland tourists can soon be up and running,” he said.

Gee…not country-to-country” eh? Let’s check out the website for the PRC Consulate in Chicago and see if it says anything about traveling to Taiwan. NOPE. There’s information on visas for Hong Kong and Macao but nothing on Taiwan. Hmmmmm… I wonder why that is. Is it possible that the all knowing Chinese Communist Party is wrong?! This can’t be!!

How can the PRC expect to resolve its problems with Taiwan with that kind of attitude? It’s granted and understood where they stand regarding the one-China policy, but the PRC should at least have the decency of showing some respect to the Taiwanese government if they sincerely wish to “improve ties.” Like it or not, the two governments are equals in all respect and for the PRC to continue to “negotiate” in such a manner simply isn’t all that productive. What’s even more ridiculous is that they even went as low as to push all the blame onto Taiwan. Now there you have it. The world’s up and coming “superpower.”

The PRC insists that its citizens should not be required to use their passports when entering Taiwan but should instead be equipped with a “Entry Permit” issued by the Taiwanese government and a separate “Mainland Chinese, Taiwan Travel Pass” issued by the PRC. Now let’s look at the reverse situation. When Taiwanese tourists visit China, their ROC passports are not recognized and are required to use a “Taiwanese, Mainland Travel Pass” issued by the PRC government. Not a single demand was made on Taiwan’s part. In this respect, the Taiwanese government treated the PRC government with respect, chose not to challenge its sovereignty over Mainland China and stuck to the 1992 Consensus of “one-China, different interpretations.” So why can’t the PRC do the same? Is mutual respect too much to ask for?

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