Diplomacy Should Not Distinguish Between Blue and Green
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 18, 2011
During the DPP presidential primaries, former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang reiterated that "[The ROC government on] Taiwan is in no danger of losing its sovereignty. Taiwan is in no danger of being reunified." Hsu raised 5 million NT so that he could enter the presidential primaries and speak his mind. Unfortunately, the primaries were soon over, and the 5 million NT fee was all for naught. No one within the party paid any attention to him. Even Tsai Ing-wen, who prides herself on being moderate and rational, has persisted in scare-mongering over the issue of sovereignty, as her primary strategy in her quest for the presidency. The DPP has lambasted the Ma administration. It has accused it of "forfeiting its sovereignty and humiliating the nation." But the DPP could hardly evade the embarrassing reality. During its eight years in power, the DPP attended WHO meetings no less than 18 times under the name "Taiwan, China."
The ROC government is in a difficult situation internationally. At home and abroad, the election has precipitated intense Blue vs. Green conflict. But diplomacy ought to be above Blue and Green. The ROC government fought many years to obtain WHO observer status. This status ought to be cherished. It makes no sense to sacrifice the national interest for the sake of the presidential election.
The simple fact is that ever since United Nations Resolution 275 expelled the Republic of China from the UN, 40 years ago, all United Nations organizations have viewed us as a province of [the Peoples Republic of] China. This is the international reality everyone on Taiwan must face. It is the reason we were unable to participate in WHO activities for so many years. Only when the Ma administration adopted the "Zhong Hua Tai Bei" (Chinese Taipei) nomenclature that we were granted observer status. Only then could the ROC government communicate with other nations regarding outbreaks under International Health Regulations (IHR). Also, our representatives to APEC have been accorded the highest status ever in recent years. ROC citizens have now been accorded visa free treatment by 113 nations. These diplomatic breakthroughs and this progress cannot be denied.
The Democratic Progressive Party ruled for eight years. During that time, its scorched earth diplomacy led to a conflagration. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was rendered impotent. Allies defected. The number of nations befriending us dropped from 29 to 23. Repeated protests lodged with the WHO failed to gain us admission. Between 2004 and 2007, the ruling DPP knew it lacked the required votes. Yet it insisted on forcing a vote in the WHO. In the end, the votes were not there. The public was let down. Something the DPP could not achieve, the Ma administration succeed in achieving. We have a question for the DPP. If you return to power, do you intend to relinquish our "Chinese Taipei" observer status at the WHO?
In 2005, the WHO agreed to allow the ROC government to participate in the activities of peripheral WHO organizations. That year, the WHO and the PRC authorities signed a Memorandum of Understanding. They defined Taiwan as a province of [the Peoples Republic of] China. The ruling DPP lodged a verbal protest. But nothing changed. In the end, who was humiliated? Others may not understand the situation. But Tsai Ing-wen was vice premier. She knew what happened.
When Lee Teng-hui was in office, Tsai Ing-wen requisitioned 2.62 million NT from the National Security Council, for the "816 Project Study." The study concluded that if the Republic of China government hoped to reconnect with the international community, it would have to admit that "Zhong Hua Tai Bei (Chinese Taipei) was an international reality, and the best way [for the ROC government to participate in international activities.]" The Ma administration has merely implemented the recommendations of the study commissioned by Tsai Ing-wen. How exactly has it "forfeited its sovereignty and humiliated the nation?"
The DPP argued that when participating in international activities, it is best to use the term "Taiwan." If that is impossible, "Chinese Taipei" is an acceptable compromise. The DPP accused the Ma administration of accepting the term, "Taiwan, Province of China," The DPP claimed it would never do that. But we have to ask the DPP, when did the Ma administration ever accept the term, "Taiwan, Province of China?" Didn't the Ma administration attend the WHO under the name "Chinese Taipei?" Didn't the Ma administration lodge a stern protest with the WHO? The DPP has it backwards. When the DPP was in power, it attended 18 meetings under the name "China, Taiwan." Did the DPP government accept the idea that Taiwan is a province of [the Peoples Republic of] China?
The Democratic Progressive Party argues that our name is not the problem, that what's important is our identity. Under the Olympic model, it argues, we have full membership. Under the WHO General Assembly however, we do not. The DPP argues that "This is quite different from our so-called diplomatic breakthrough," True. Everyone in the country wants full formal membership. But the DPP was in office for eight years. It was unable to win observer status for us. What right does it have to make such irresponsible accusations today?
The Ma administration has been in office three years. People may hold different views about its performance. But it has made important diplomatic breakthroughs, and outstanding progress in cross-Strait relations. The DPP is challenging the Ma administration's diplomatic achievements. But in doing so, it has merely reminded the public about the DPP's scorched earth diplomacy, and the painful memories of its eight year reign.
Tsai Ing-wen is Chairman of the DPP. She was once Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, and Vice Premier of the Executive Yuan. Tsai Ing-wen prides herself on being a representative of moderation and rationality. If so, then her deeds must match her words. She may not contradict herself. Tsai Ing-wen is a presidential candidate whom many have pinned their hopes on. We must remind Tsai Ing-wen that she may not repeatedly say one thing while doing another. Tsai Ing-wen blasted the 18% preferential interest rate for civil service employees. But all the while, she herself was benefitting from it. When this was made public, she said she was renouncing it. But soon afterwards she made the baffling declaration that she would no longer turn her 18% over to charity. The most recent reports say that she is continuing to receive the 18% interest payments. Tsai Ing-wen recently expressed opposition to the Kuo Kuang Petrochemical Plant project. But she once phoned members of the environmental impact assessment committee, demanding that phase three of the Taichung Science Park be swiftly approved. Does anyone dare entrust the affairs of state to a political leader whose words so flagrantly contradict her deeds?