Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Taiwan with evil motives: a diplomatic inept

By Mathew Yakai in China

THE NEWS that Taiwan attempted to buy Papua New Guinea so that it can swift diplomatic ties from Beijing to Taipei has made headline around the region.

The unsuccessful attempt profoundly debased Taipei’s cordial relationship with PNG, at the same time confirming that Taipei has been on its toes since the former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian’s reign to buy off developing countries to support its strive for independence.

On Tuesday 27th May, I was invited by an English class at my university to introduce PNG to around 60 students and academic staff.

After my speech, one student asked me, “Does your country recognize “One China” policy?” I proudly answered positively. Immediately, I received an overwhelming applause.

This is the point. Every Chinese, from rural to urban areas, rich to poor, young to old, know that Taiwan is part of Great China, thus, Taiwan issue is a non issue.

With that, let me put the record straight. The Taiwan “dollar diplomacy” issue that is getting a lot of attention will not change PNG’s recognition for “One China” policy. Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare reiterated it repeatedly.

But the allegation that Timothy Bonga and Dr. Florian Gubon negotiated for a K80 million diplomatic exchange is during the reign of the incumbent Prime Minister, the man of integrity and the Father of nation. Hence, the country must be convinced that Sir Michael at least knows the ploy.

Lets’ get the facts correct. PNG recognizes the “One China” policy. It was in October 12, 1976 when PNG and China established diplomatic relationship when the incumbent was the Prime Minster. Since then, the development between the two countries has been smooth in the main.

“Taiwan is a province of China and PNG will not have official contact of any kind with Taiwan,” Sir Michael reiterated at a meeting with Liu Yunshan, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
In the APEC meeting in Sydney, Sir Michael met China’s President Hu Jintao and assured Waigani’s loyalty.
Therefore, the current “dollar diplomacy” debacle created by Taiwan authorities will not affect the Waigani-Beijing bilateral relationship. Both the Opposition and Government recognize this.

Remember, the act by Taiwan is not the first time. Taiwan is known for “buying the developing countries sovereignty.” There are numerous examples, but I will provide few for your benefit.

The 2006 riot in Honiara, Solomon Islands was believed to have been instigated by the Taiwanese money, into politicians’ pocket, attempting to influence the Prime Ministers post. Sadly, Honiara’s China Town went on flame.

Beginning this year, former Taiwan’s Vice President Annette Lu made a Pacific tour and visited six pacific nations that recognize Taiwan, three of which had recent changes in their leaders. She started her tour from Marshall Islands, to Nauru, the Solomon Islands and Palau.

In Nauru, Lu was the guest of honor at the ceremony to mark the nations 40th Independence Anniversary.

Lu’s visit to Marshall Islands was important at the time given the appointment of the new president. In order to maintain the diplomatic ties, Taiwan gave one million Australian Dollar aid to Marshall Island to get its two defunct planes on air. The airline had been grounded for four months.

Prior to being elected, President Tomeing was seen to support a return to a “One China” policy.

Lu also visited Solomon Islands after Dr Derek Sikua came into power and gave substantial amounts of aid, as reported by the local media.

According to Island Business, Lu met with Dr. Sikua, his cabinet and discussed wide range of issues including Taiwan’s US$3million a year offer to pay for piloting free education over two years.

On Monday, Taipei Times reported that the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied a US$71 million promised aid to Paraguay, a country in South America.

The alleged money would be given to the incoming new government to help resettle landless peasants

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied media reports quoting Paraguay’s vice president-elect that Taiwan had pledged a massive donation.

Paraguayan vice-president-elect Federicao Franco said on Asuncion-based Radio Cardinal that the Taiwanese embassy officials had promised a US$71 million donation upon the new government’s inauguration.
Paraguay, which has maintained diplomatic ties with Taiwan since 1957, is one of only 23 countries that recognize Taiwan and is Taiwan’s only ally in South America.New President Ma Ying-jeou is scheduled to visit Latin American and Caribbean allies, including Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, in the fall, Chinese-language newspapers have reported.Taiwan is using “dollar diplomacy” to retain less developed countries in order to extend its international space, a move towards independence which is overwhelmingly denied by the United Nations at the moment.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed that Taiwan’s bid to apply for UN membership is legally impossible as per the U.N General Assembly Resolution 2758 which was adopted by the 26th Assembly in 1971.
Late last year, John Negroponte, US deputy secretary of state sent up a warning signal that the United States regards attempts by Taiwan authorities as proactive steps. This is by far the harshest warning by the Bush administration against Taiwan’s attempted “UN membership referendum”.
U.S criticism has never stopped since the Taiwan authorities started pushing for the “UN referendum”.
For example, during his visit to Taiwan in the middle of June last year, Raymond Burghardt pressed former president Chen Shui-bian to reiterate his “four-nots” pledges, not to declare independence, not to change the name of the “Republic of China”, not to push for a two-states idea, not to hold any referendum on “unification” and “independence”.
At a press conference, Burghardt urged the “presidential candidates” from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Kuomintang (KMT) to be cautious in their words and deals and refrain from staging any provocative actions against the mainland.
Hsieh Chang-ting, the DPP’s “presidential candidates”, must have experienced the United States’ anti-referendum mood during his U.S. visit late last year. All the officials he met in Washington DC, whether from the State Department, the National Security Council or the Pentagon, were opposed to the “UN membership referendum.”
Even “pro-Taiwan” U.S. lawmakers shared the White House’s position in this respect. For example, Shelley Berkley, one of the co-chairs of the Taiwan caucus, told Hsiek Changting that it is not the time for Taiwan to join the United Nations.
The US military demonstrates the same attitude when speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Admiral Thimothy Keating, Commander in Chief of the U.S Pacific Commander, touched the opposition to Taiwan’s “UN membership referendum”.
The U.N is an international organization composed of 192 sovereign states. In pushing for Taiwan to join the U.N under the name of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian was actually pressing the international community to recognize Taiwan, a “sovereign independence” trick.
But in regard to the Cross Strait issue, new developments have taken place recently, and there is promising future for the Cross-Strait peaceful relations.
On Monday 26, the leading political party in power, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung visited China, a historical visit to date.
The strong 16 member delegation is in China for a week long tour with the aim to poster trade, transport, tourism and other diplomacy between Taiwan and Mainland China that will lead towards an amicable settlement of the ongoing Cross Strait issue.
Wu Poh-hsiung paid homage at Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum in Nanjing, saying both the “mainland” and Taiwan belong to the Chinese nation and are “closely tied by blood,” which no one could obliterate.
He said the KMT has promised to make the welfare and interests of the people of Taiwan its top priority because the people gave the KMT its election victories.Wu Poh-hsiung said his delegation chose Nanjing as their first destination in China because it was the former seat of the KMT government and therefore had unique significance to the KMT historically and emotionally.Leaders on both side of the Strait realize the importance of working together for a peaceful settlement on the fragile issue. Also, Taiwan realizes the economic and veto power of China, and has to work along with China.
So in PNG and the Pacific, we must realize that Taiwan is a province of Great China and they are working towards peaceful co-existence to solve the Cross Strait issues amicably.
Selfish and self centered individuals must not compromise PNG’s sovereignty with cheap “dollars” that Taiwan is handing out.
Prominent Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once said about his country, “Frankly speaking, the issue of sovereignty is not subject to discuss…and it is not subject to negotiation.”
Thus, the Independent State of PNG is for the 5.6 million people, not some selfish individuals.
How dare Timothy Bonga and Dr. Florian Gubon allegedly seem fit to compromise the 5.6 million people’s sovereignty, when that sovereignty is not a subject to discuss and negotiate with Taiwan?
PNG as a country can not live without China, a country in the club of powerful nations and a member of Security Council enjoying the veto power and also its current double digit economic growth.
European Union is now looking at ways to work along with emerging China. So as U.S, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other regional governments.
Waigani will be stupid to discard “One China” policy and recognize Taiwan, when Taiwan is not a country but a province of Great China.
But thank goodness, now we know that Taiwan has been around the clock buying its current 23 allies using its taxpayer’s money.
Definitely, not PNG?
Note: Asia-Pacific Perspective: China + looks at Chinese society, culture, economy, governance and China’s role within the Asia Pacific region and the world over. It mainly focuses on how PNG can learn from China’s experience. The writer is a PNG student in China.

No comments: