Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ma's Stance on Taiwan: Simple and Clear

If you have any questions as to what a person means when they say, "Taiwan Province," let me assure you that they mean Taiwan is a province of China. Thus, they mean that Taiwan is a part of China.

It should be infuriating to the people of Taiwan and Taiwanese abroad to hear their elected-presidential-leader call their own country, not a country. From the Taipei Times:

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) referred to Taiwan as a “province” yesterday while describing the sister-state relationship between Taiwan and Texas, rekindling the controversial issue of his perception of Taiwan’s status.

From statements like this, if you have not already, you should begin to understand why and how most of Ma's foreign policy (specifically regarding China-Taiwan) are shaped. That is, they are shaped with the mindset that Taiwan is a part of China and that any relationship must be held in that regard.

While he may say that it is the constitution of the R.O.C. that states this, then we must also ask why he does not also recognize that the constitution states that the people have the right to a referendum. While I am no law/constitution buff, it seems that to have a constitution that is not consistent with the current reality is not really a viable constitution at all. What is the current reality though? The reality is that an overwhelming percentage of Taiwanese on Taiwan do not consider themselves Chinese, instead as Taiwanese. Furthermore, they do not consider Taiwan a part of China. Either follow through with the constitution completely, or the constitution is simply just another document with no meaningful value at all.

Here's an editorial on this issue in the Taipei Times as well. An excerpt:

Ma rationalized his reduction of Taiwan to an “area” by stressing his government’s adherence to the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, which states that the ROC is an independent, sovereign state whose territory includes China. Hence, Ma said the relationship between Taiwan and China is one of two regions, with Taiwan, a province, known as the “Taiwan area,” and China as “the mainland area.”

Interestingly, Ma does not refer to Taiwan as a province when talking to local audiences. Whenever elections are closing in and campaigning steps into high gear, voters can hear Ma, along and other Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweights, roaring slogans that trumpet the name Taiwan. Whenever they mention Taiwan in their campaign speeches, the electorate assumes that the word “Taiwan” implies the country for which the official name is the ROC.

Given that his definition of the word “Taiwan” seems to depend on the occasion, it is no wonder there is continued public doubt over Ma’s dedication to safeguarding the country’s dignity as a sovereign state. If Ma wants to be clear about his meaning, in future whenever he talks to the people of Taiwan and uses the appellation “Taiwan,” he should not do so in shorthand, but rather use the term “Taiwan Province,” as he so clearly did with the Texas governor.

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