Tag Archives: Ma Ying-jeou

“Sunflower” occupation stymies China/Taiwan rapprochement

Manthorpe B&WInternational affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe writes in today’s column:

It was only a matter of time before the efforts by Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou to improve relations with Beijing came up against the brutal truth that the vast majority of the island’s 23 million people do not want to be part of China.

Many Taiwanese have watched with increasing unease as Ma, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, has chipped away at the walls of animosity carrying over from China’s civil war in 1949 when the Kuomintang (KMT) government fled to the island after defeat by Mao Zedong’s Communists.

Ma first oversaw the establishment of direct trade and communication links between Taiwan and China. Then, in 2010, Beijing and Taipei agreed on a basic free trade pact called the Economic Co-operation and Framework Agreement (ECFA).

Ordinary Taiwanese, however, have seen little benefit from the ECFA, which many see as allowing Beijing to dominate the island’s economy in furtherance of China’s ultimate aim of taking political control of the country, by force if necessary.

The tipping point — the bridge too far across the Taiwan Strait — came on March 18 after the KMT cut off debate in parliament, the Legislative Yuan, on a bill to enact an extension of the ECFA into service sectors such as banking, publishing, health services, tourism and construction …

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China and Taiwan, head to head

A historic meeting between China and Taiwan is taking place this week. Will it become a turning point in relations between the two countries? Jonathan Manthorpe, in considering the history and political factors, is doubtful. An excerpt of his new column:

Manthorpe B&WThis week’s meeting between officials from the Chinese and Taiwanese governments is historic, but more for its symbolism than any prospect of dramatic outcomes.

For Beijing the hope is that after eight years of improving economic ties, the talks are the beginning of a political process that will see the island nation of 23 million people absorbed into China …

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Post updated to clarify timing of meeting.

 

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Take China’s threats against Taiwan seriously

This time, the world should pay attention to China’s threatening approach to Taiwan, warns Jonathan Manthorpe in his international affairs column today. An excerpt:

Xi Jinping is not the first modern Chinese leader to threaten the island nation of Taiwan with invasion if they do not soon agree to hand their sovereignty to the Beijing regime. 

Indeed, it has become a necessary ritual for Chinese leaders to establish their patriotic credentials by reiterating Beijing’s claim to own the island and its 23 million people.

Usually these pronouncements appear to be largely for domestic consumption, taking no account of the fact Taiwan has been an independent nation since 1949, and has made the difficult transition from a one-party state under martial law to a functional, boisterous democracy.

 Beijing has sometimes gone further than rhetorical bluster. In 1996 China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fired unarmed missiles into the sea on the approaches to Taiwan’s main ports, as the island’s people prepared to vote in their first free and fair presidential elections.

But context is everything in such matters.

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