Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Taipei, Tokyo, Manila Conflict Exposes US Political Opportunism

Taipei, Tokyo, Manila Conflict Exposes US Political Opportunism
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 30, 2013


Summary: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton practices "realpolitik" political opportunism. In this case, the realpolitik involves the East China Sea and South China Sea. The US has incited territorial sovereignty disputes between other nations and China, and is sitting on the sidelines hoping to reap the benefits. The United States' "return to Asia" aspires to contain Mainland China. But no amount of realpolitik gamesmanship is going to be successful. Macroeconomic factors militate against it. So does the Taiwan factor.

Full Text below:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton practices "realpolitik" political opportunism. In this case, the realpolitik involves the East China Sea and South China Sea. The US has incited territorial sovereignty disputes between other nations and China, and is sitting on the sidelines hoping to reap the benefits.

Ever since China's power declined in modern times, it has been unable to defend its territorial waters. After WWII, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were divided. The Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea and the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea belong to the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China. The Republic of China was unable to reoccupy the Mainland Region. Needless to say it was incapable of defending its islands and reefs in the East China Sea and South China Sea. The Mainland Region of China was preoccupied with the Three Antis and Five Antis movements,  the Cultural Revolution, and the "liberation of Taiwan." It too was unable to defend these islands and reefs. The Japanese illegally occupied the Diaoyutai Islands. One by one, China's long-held islands and reefs in the South China Sea were illegally occupied by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and other countries. The ROC government on Taiwan was only able to hold on to Taiping Island in the Nansha Archipelago.

Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam took advantage of the opportunities provided by Hillary Clinton's "realpolitik." Clinton hoped to incite territorial sovereignty disputes between other nations and China. Sure enough, with no cost to itself, the US played politics in the East and South China Seas with islands and reefs belonging to the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China. Foreign nations have invaded and occupied territory belonging to the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China. Can Republic of China President Ma Ying-jeou sit on the sidelines and turn a blind eye to what is going on?

The controversy over the alleged "nationalization" of the Diaoyutai Islands" has persisted for one year. Fishing season is approaching. Ma Ying-jeou refused to join forces with Beijing to defend the Diaoyutai Islands. He risked the condemnation of Chinese people the world over. But Taiwanese fishermen poured into traditional fishing grounds in Diaoyutai Island waters. They were not expelled or arrested. If Japan does nothing, have they given up their claims to sovereignty? Mainland Chinese ocean surveillance ships have acted as escorts. Can Taiwanese fishermen refuse their assistance? Can Japan open fire on Mainland China's ocean surveillance ships? Ma Ying-jeou has allowed Taiwan fishermen to accept protection provided by Mainland China's ocean surveillance ships. Is Ma Ying-jeou still president? Or should he resign? Ma must patrol the ocean and provide protection for ROC fishing vessels. Will the Japanese open fire on ROC Coast Guard ships?

Taiwan was a central link in the United States Cold War era Western Pacific island chain. If the two sides of the Taiwan Strait join hands to defend the Diaoyutai Islands, the U.S. island chain will be missing a link. Therefore, under pressure from Washington, Tokyo hurriedly signed a fisheries agreement with Taipei, just before fishing season.

Henceforth Taiwanese fishermen fishing in their traditional Diaoyutai Island waters, apart from not being permitted to not land on the island, will no longer be subject to expulsion. Japan no longer expels Taiwanese fishing boats in order to "defend" the sovereignty of the Diaoyutai Islands. Taiwanese fishermen need no longer clash with Japan. Nor do they anyone's protection, Still less do they need joint, cross-Strait protection. Unless Japan opens fire, it cannot expel Mainland Chinese ocean surveillance ships that regularly patrol China's territorial waters. Nor can they expel Taiwanese fishermen as a show of "defending sovereignty." Over time, Taipei and Tokyo will go without conflicts over the Diaoyutai Islands. Beijing and Tokyo will not open fire on each other over the Diaoyutai Islands. The dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands has returned to where it began. At least for the near term, there will be peace. There will be no conflict between Taipei and Tokyo. Nor will the islands remain a flashpoint for Sino-Japanese conflict.

Hillary Clinton's realpolitik uses the Diaoyutai Islands as bait, to provoke Sino-Japanese conflict. Ma Ying-jeou declared that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would not join hands with Beijing to defend the Diaoyutai Islands. But Ma's insistence on providing protection for fishing vessels fishing in the Diaoyutai Islands exposed his declaration for what it was.

The Philippines and Mainland China clashed near Huangyan Island, for over a month. On May 9, the Philippines machine-gunned a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Kuang Ta Hsing, Taiwanese fisherman Hong Shi-cheng was shot and killed. News sources intially reported that an "unknown" Philippines' vessel opened fire on one of our fishing vessels. Following consultation with Chiang Yi-hua, Ma Ying-jeou instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a declaration of solemn concern. He demanded that the Philippines side immediately investigate the case, and bring the perpetrators to justice. Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also issued rare statements condemning the shooting, demanding the truth and punishment for the murderer.

In the Taipei vs. Manila conflict, Washington stood by Manila. But it could not allow the Taipei vs. Manila conflict to bring the two sides of the Taiwan Strait closer together. In fact, Washington's position in this conflict, is consistent with Washington's position in the conflict between Taipei and Tokyo.

Washington knows that the Nansha Islands and Diaoyutai Islands both belong to the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China. Washington is inciting other nations to violate China's sovereignty in the Nansha Islands. It knows that the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China will bear the brunt of the aggression. Taiwan has not aggressed against America's allies. Rather America's allies have aggressed against Taiwan. Since the US is not treating Taiwan as an ally, Taiwan has no need to treat the US as an ally. Is this a greater threat to Taipei or to Washington?

Will the Taipei vs. Manila conflict be resolved the same way as the Diaoyutai Islands conflict? Will it lead to Taipei-Manila fisheries negotiations? We do not know. If the conflict cannot be resolved and escalates, Washington will have to choose sides between Manila and Taipei. This will be a real headache for the United States. The U.S.'s strategic target is the Mainland, not Taiwan. But it is being forced to move against Taiwan. Can the U.S. "return to Asia" reestablish containment against the Mainland?

Suppose Taipei and Manila finally reach a fisheries agreement? Manila will not experience territorial conflicts with the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China. It will not experience territorial conflicts with the Mainland Region of the Republic of China. The South China Sea will be "pacific," i.e., conflict free. What then will Washington use to incite conflict between Manila and Beijng?

The United States' "return to Asia" aspires to contain Mainland China. But no amount of realpolitik gamesmanship is going to be successful. Macroeconomic factors militate against it. So does the Taiwan factor.
   
中時電子報 新聞
中國時報  2013.05.30
社論-從台日菲衝突 看透美國「巧實力」
本報訊

     美國前國務卿希拉蕊有「巧實力」。所謂「巧實力」就是在東海和南海,挑起各國與中國的領土主權之爭,以坐收漁人之利。

     自從近代中國衰微以來,就無力經營海疆。戰後,兩岸分裂,東海的釣魚台列嶼和南海南沙群島均屬中華民國「台灣地區」。中華民國反攻大陸猶不及,何有能力經營東海和南海各島礁;中國大陸也忙於「三反五反」、「文化大革命」和「解放台灣」,對各島礁也鞭長莫及。因此,除了日本侵占釣魚台列嶼外,南海各島礁屬中國固有領土者,也遭越南、菲律賓、馬來西亞等國竊占,台灣則占有南沙的太平島。

     響應希拉蕊「巧實力」者,有日本、菲律賓、越南。希拉蕊要挑起各國與中國領土主權之爭,果然做起無本生意的「巧實力」。東、南海各島礁還屬於中華民國的「台灣地區」。要侵占中華民國「台灣地區」的領土主權,擔任中華民國總統的馬英九能置身事外,視若無睹?

     釣魚台的「國有化」從去年鬧到今天,漁季將屆,雖然馬英九甘冒全球華人之大不韙,而堅拒「兩岸聯手保釣」。但台灣漁民湧進了傳統的釣魚台漁場海域,要不要驅逐或逮捕,若日本無所動作,是否放棄主權主張?要作為,大陸海監船護漁,台灣漁民能不接受嗎?日本對大陸海監船開火?馬英九讓台灣漁民接受大陸海監船的護漁,馬英九的總統還要不要幹?故馬也必須海巡艦護漁,那麼日本對台灣海巡艦開火?

     冷戰時期台灣處於美國西太平洋鏈島防線的中央環節,兩岸一連手保釣,美國的鏈島防線即「斷鏈」。所以,在美國的壓力下,日本才在漁季前,匆匆簽下台日漁業協議。

     從此,台灣漁民在釣魚台傳統海域除了不能登島外,不再受驅逐。換言之,即日本不再以驅逐台灣漁船來「保衛」釣魚台主權,也就是,台灣漁民不必和日本衝突,而需要任何一方保護,更不需要兩岸聯手護漁。除非開火,日本無法驅逐大陸海監船的常態巡航,又不會驅逐台灣漁民以示「保衛」主權。長此以往,台日固無保釣的衝突,中日也不因保釣開火,釣魚台問題回歸原點雖有爭議,但處於和平,至少近期內,沒有台日衝突,也就不再成為中日衝突的爆發點。

     希拉蕊要以釣魚台為餌作為挑撥中日衝突的「巧實力」,雖然馬英九宣稱兩岸「不聯手」,但卻在馬英九堅持保釣護漁下,破功了。

     另外,菲律賓在黃岩島和大陸船艦對峙一個多月後退卻,但卻在五月九日,掃射台灣「廣大興廿八號」漁船,漁民洪石成中彈身亡。事發後,最初消息是菲「不明船隻」開槍掃射我漁船。第一時間,馬英九與江宜樺會商後,即指示外交部向菲國表態嚴正關切,要求菲方必須立即查明真相,將凶手繩之以法。此外,北京國台辦和外交部,也罕見的雙雙發表聲明,同聲譴責,要求查明真相,懲辦凶手。

     美國在台菲衝突上,立場袒菲,又不能讓台菲衝突而迫使兩岸聯手,其實是和台日衝突的美國立場是一致的。

     美國當知道,南沙島礁和釣魚台列嶼一樣,其實是屬於中華民國「台灣地區」,要以南沙島礁衝擊中國主權,首當其衝的是中華民國「台灣地區」。所以,不是台灣卯上美國的盟邦,而是美國的盟邦卯上台灣。美國既不把台灣當「盟邦」,台灣也不必把美國當盟邦了。這究竟是對台北威脅還是對華盛頓的威脅?

     台菲衝突是否其最後解決和釣魚台一樣,落實到台菲漁業談判,我們尚不得而知。如衝突升高而不得解決,美國則得在台菲之間選邊,這當是讓美國頭疼的事情。美國的戰略對象是大陸,不是台灣,現在卻被迫轉移到台灣來,美國「重返亞洲」,能對大陸築起新的圍堵?

     如果台菲最後也來個漁業協定,菲律賓不會和中華民國「台灣地區」發生主權衝突,就不會和中華民國「大陸地區」發生主權衝突。南中國海將無風也無浪,但美國又要拿什麼來挑撥菲律賓和中國大陸的衝突?

     所以,美國「重返亞洲」意欲對大陸新圍堵,有再多的「巧實力」,也是不能成功的,不能成功的因素除了宏觀的理由外,還有台灣因素在內。

2 comments:

Torsten Munkov said...

It's great to have English access to these articles, Bevin.

http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/China_Military_Power_Report_2009.pdf

Get a load of this BS:

"The PLA’s modernization vis-à-vis Taiwan has continued over the past year, including its build-up of short-range missiles opposite the island. In the near-term, China’s armed forces are rapidly developing coercive capabilities for the purpose of deterring Taiwan’s pursuit of de jure independence.

These same capabilities could in the future be used to pressure Taiwan toward a settlement of the
cross-Strait dispute on Beijing’s terms while simultaneously attempting to deter, delay, or deny any possible U.S. support for the island in case of conflict. This modernization and the threat to Taiwan continue despite significant reduction in cross-Strait tension over the last year since Taiwan elected a new president."

Bevin Chu said...

Dear Tor,

Typical Neocon "concern" over something which should not be an American concern period.

Certainly not with the Cold War long over.