United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 28, 2016
Executive Summary: Taiwan is a long way from the Arctic Circle. But each time the DPP comes to power, it contracts Arctic Hysteria. It forgets everything it said or did when it was in the opposition. That includes everything it said or did regarding the Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Regulations, US pork imports, electricity rates, and foreign diplomacy. The symptoms are clear and unmistakable. Arctic Hysteria may not be fatal. But "yesterday's truth is today's lie” has consequences. Little by little, it has eroded Taiwan's political conscience, and led to Taiwan's loss of international competitiveness.
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in his book "South of the Border, West of the Sun", Japanese author Haruki Murakami mentions “Arctic Hysteria”. This is a disease peculiar to the Arctic circle, allegedly caused by a long-term calcium deficiency. During its onset, the patient is indifferent to his surroundings. Sometimes he is loud. At other times he is lethargic. Patients often awaken with no memory of what took place before.
Taiwan is a long way from the Arctic Circle. But each time the DPP comes to power, it contracts Arctic Hysteria. It forgets everything it said or did when it was in the opposition. That includes everything it said or did regarding the Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Regulations, US pork imports, electricity rates, and foreign diplomacy. The symptoms are clear and unmistakable.
Seven years ago, the Ma government could not resist US pressure. It conditionally allowed US beef imports in accordance with international standards, i.e., the Codex. DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei denounced the Ma government for "having no conscience". Lin Shu-fen denounced the Ma government for “inviting the wolf into our home”. She accused Minister of Health and Welfare Huang Jiang-bing of being an "asshole minister". Today however, COA chairman to be Tsao Chi-hung has changed his tune. He argued that even Japan and South Korea could not stand up to US pressure to allow pork imports. How could Taiwan? This flagrant about face forced Chen Ting-fei to change her tune. She rushed to say that the DPP has no concerns about the safety of US pork. Lin Shu-fen meanwhile, hemmed and hawed, at a loss for words. For the DPP, yesterday's truth is today's lie.
Last year the Sheng Feng 12, a Taiwanese fishing vessel registered in Okinawa, strayed into Philippine waters. It was impounded and the owners fined 100,000 USD. The charge was “poaching”. DPP legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung challenged the Philippines' unilateral allegations. He demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs protest, and not let the Philippines say and do whatever it wanted, otherwise people "would find it intolerable". Chuang Jui-hsiung resorted to mockery. He joked that the legislature would no longer provide budgets for vessels, but only for ransoms. Less than a year later however, the Japanese seize the Dong Shen Ji 16 fishing vessel in open waters off the Chong Zi Niao Reef. Chuang Jui-hsiung now meekly insists that if Japan claims we trespassed on her Exclusive Economic Zone, we are hardly in a position to argue.
But did the Dong Sheng Ji 16 trespass upon Japan's EEZ? Chong Zi Niao Reef is Japan's southernmost reef. It is a mere 9 sm in area. At the very most, Japan can claim 12 nautical miles of territorial waters. Instead, Japan claims a 200 nautical mile EEZ. This is a fundamental violation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. UNCLOS stipulates that only islands, not reefs, have EEZs. The DPP is about to become the ruling party. It insists that Japan is Taiwan's friend. Confronted with Japan's abusive treatment, it does not even dare to complain. With such an attitude, how can it fight for the rights of fishermen? How can it fight for the dignity of our nation? Is this attitude not a reflection of the DPP's "Japan Worship Syndrome"?
These two examples are hardly all. The DPP changed the Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Regulations, from the "two states theory" version before the election, to the "two sides" version after the election. It changed its policy from “no increase” in electricity rates before the election, to demanding that the Ma government “not cut rates” after the election. Wherever one looks, the DPP exhibits clear symptoms of Arctic Hysteria. The DPP did not contract the disease because of a calcium deficiency however. It contracted the disease as a result of political and ideological zealotry. The DPP has lost touch with its professed values, and winds up contradicting itself. Upon awakening, its drunken rants become the standard by which the public judges them.
When the Dong Sheng Ji 16 was impounded, green camp legislator Huang Wei-che not only failed to defend our national sovereignty, he made excuses for Japan. He claimed that Japan “gave the Ma government a slap in the face". This green camp groveling before Japan reveals its indifference to national dignity, the rights of our fishermen, and the interests of our nation. All that remains is seething hatred for political enemies. If this attitude persists, DPP pandering to Japan will become the people of Taiwan's biggest nightmare.
The recent TV drama series "Descendants of the Sun", has inspired a wave of patriotism in South Korea. Young people greet each other by discussing national unity and patriotism. South Korea was once divided by serious geopolitical controversy. But today ruling and opposition forces agree on foreign policy. They present a united front to outsiders. On Taiwan by contrast, political parties are selfish. The ruling and opposition parties bicker endlessly over domestic, cross-Strait, and international policy. They deliberately place obstacles in each others' path. This may be why South Korea has undergone a swift rise, while Taiwan continues to spin its wheels.
Arctic Hysteria may not be fatal. But "yesterday's truth is today's lie” has consequences. Little by little, it has eroded Taiwan's political conscience, and led to Taiwan's loss of international competitiveness.