Silliness and stupidity over the Senkakus–Taiwan Report News Brief transcript

Fixing the Senkaku/Diaoyu Problem Once and For All – The Diplomat

KMT candidate wants Han to stump for her

According to a spokesperson for KMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Jane Lee (李眉蓁), they hope that former mayor Dan Han Kuo-yu will join her on the stump.
Han was ousted in a recall vote in June.
According to a report in the deep blue China Times, KMT lawmakers–who they didn’t name–are split on whether this is a good idea.
One expressed concerns it sends the message that the KMT isn’t capable of self-reflection.
However, another said that the recall was about Han’s running for president and that was different from his city government, and the KMT shouldn’t turn away from his administration’s achievements.
The article also quoted a “party insider” as saying the highest priority is to make sure that Jane Lee doesn’t come in third in the race.
I found that an interesting statement, it suggests there are people in the KMT worried that the TPP candidate Gene Wu (吳益政) is a serious contender.

Wu Sz-huai attacks the KMT

Controversial KMT legislator Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) has come out swinging…against the KMT.
Responding on Facebook to reports that the KMT legislative caucus were keeping away Wu and two other controversial lawmakers from press conferences, he wrote that KMT party unity was just a slogan.
He also described the party as “expert infighters” and also stated that KMT reform doesn’t need “hired thugs.”
Wu was a deeply unpopular choice for appointed party list lawmaker under former KMT chair Wu Den-yih.
Wu, a former general, has in past stood for the Chinese national anthem while attending a function in China featuring Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping as speaker and on a TV talk show gave tips to the People’s Liberation Army on how to defeat the Americans in battle.

Big expansion plans for offshore wind

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to hold three offshore wind auctions for a combined capacity of 5 GW by 2023.
In the country’s first two offshore wind auctions held in April and June 2018, Taiwan selected projects with a combined capacity of 5.5 GW which are scheduled to be completed by 2025.
Overall, Taiwan plans to have over 15.5 GW of operating offshore wind capacity by 2035.
Most of the offshore wind farms are off the coast of central Taiwan, mostly Changhua.

Saint Lucia questions a Taiwanese donation

Questions are being raised after 20,000 hydroxychloroquine was part of a donation of medical supplies by the Government of Taiwan to Saint Lucia, one of Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic partners.
The question of the appropriateness of the donation was posed to First Deputy Leader of the Saint Lucia Labor Party, Dr Ernest Hilaire who said: “The first thing we have to find out is whether the government requested it from the Taiwanese.”
“Results coming out of the United States from the CDC, the Centre for Disease Control suggest that the drug does not have a meaningful impact on coronavirus cases and you would really wonder why they would donate it,” Hilaire said.
Good question.
It’s possible they had planned the donation earlier when some thought it might be effective.
Either that or the Taiwan Foreign Ministry take their health tips from Donald Trump.

More support from US Congress

The Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate released its version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes provisions that support both the strengthening of Taiwan’s military and further cooperation on efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee passed the act on June 11, and it will now be taken to a vote on the Senate floor.
The committee’s version of the NDAA reiterates U.S. support for the development of Taiwan’s military, including through arms sales, exchanges between top defense officials and military exercises.
These exercises could include the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest maritime warfare exercise, if appropriate, the act states.
I saw a quote somewhere that I can’t seem to find that suggested it would be good for Taiwan to join RIMPAC, but that there were other exercises–including an air force one–that would be more practical and useful for Taiwan.
It also advises the Department of Defense to conduct port calls in Taiwan with two U.S. naval hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy.
This still needs to be passed in the US House, reconciled and sent to the president for signing.
In previous bills Congress has also encouraged the US government to allow uniformed Taiwanese officers to visit.

In related news, according to a press release issued by US

Congressman Ted Yoho, a bipartisan group of Congress members have announced the introduction of the Taiwan Fellowship Act.
Modeled on the successful Mansfield Fellowship Program between the United States and Japan, the legislation establishes a two-year fellowship exchange program for federal government employees in all three branches of government to learn, live, and work in Taiwan.
Upon successful conclusion of the program, fellows will return to federal government service better positioned to advance U.S. values and interests in the Indo Pacific region, with special emphasis in strengthening our strategic partnership with Taiwan.
This sounds like a very good idea.

Silliness and stupidity over the Senkakus

I haven’t been able to fit in much about the latest Diaoyutai Islands dispute in until now, but it’s ongoing.
The Diaoyutai, called Senkakus by Japan and the Diaoyu Islands by China, are a group of poxy little uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, located between the Ryukus and Taiwan.
They were previously unclaimed, but seized by Japan in 1895, and were settled by Japanese from around 1900 to the 1970s.
At the end of WWII, they fell under the jurisdiction of the United States, which held them until the Okinawa Reversion Treaty handed them back to Japan in 1972.
However, both the PRC and ROC claim the islands, citing fishing records going back centuries.
The PRC regularly sends ships in the area, and many consider the Senkakus as a potential flashpoint for a Sino-Japanese war, which would bring in the US under their treaty with Japan.
The islands themselves aren’t worth much, but they are surrounded by fishing grounds and studies have shown the area could contain significant oil deposits.
In the early 70s large protests broke out in Taiwan over the US handing the islands to Japan.
A then-young Ma Ying-jeou wrote his Harvard thesis on the subject.
No prizes for guessing what his conclusions were on who the islands belonged to.
Over the years there are nationalistic flare-ups, and periodically groups will try and land on the islands to plant the flag.
The Japanese coast guard then shoo them off.
Sometimes there have even been cross-straits groups.
The KMT has traditionally been noisy on this issue, perhaps because they’re still sensitive at having lost all of China.
It is an irritant in Taiwan-Japan relations, though they have signed a treaty allowing Taiwanese fishing access to some of the area.
The DPP generally acts as if they wish the whole thing would go away, preferring to keep good relations with Japan and not being terribly concerned with 15th century Chinese fishing records.
In short, this is a potential flashpoint for war between China, Japan and the US–and a flashpoint for much silliness and stupidity between Taiwan and Japan.
Obviously, Taiwan doesn’t have the military will or strength to back up claims to the islands.
The latest flareup started with a stupid move in Japan.
Japan’s Ishigaki city assembly announced a while back a plan to change the islands’ administrative zone and, on Monday, voted to change the administrative area’s name from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku.
This is stupid because any change in designation will inevitably set off an international incident.
The mayor explained their motivation saying “that citizens of the Japanese city had pushed for a name change in order to fend off intruding Chinese vessels.
He said the Japanese government had been planning the name change since June 2018, but did not fully pursue the idea until China’s recent territorial incursions.”
Yes, you heard that correctly–apparently they reckoned changing the name would deter the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
In his letter to Taiwan authorities he also made a friendly gesture by placing images of the Japanese and Republic of China national flags at the end of his message.
Flag emojis to the rescue!
The Chinese of course made some noise on this, protests erupted and ships were sent to the area, but let’s focus on Taiwan’s silly responses.
Of course there were protests consisting of geriatrics let out of their nursing homes for some recreational activity.
In Taiwan the islands are theoretically under the jurisdiction of Yilan County.
Being under the control of the KMT, they decided to put their foot down in response.
The Yilan County Council passed a motion recommending that the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) be renamed Toucheng Township Diaoyutai (頭城釣魚台).
Take that mayor of Ishigaki.
Then an Yilan County councilor said that he was setting up an office to reinforce Taiwan’s sovereignty claim to the disputed islands.
Another Yilan County Councilor said he would form a flotilla to “protect the Republic of China’s [ROC] sovereignty” over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) if Japan’s Ishigaki City Council renames the islands, which happened on Monday.
Plans were also floated to put up house number plates on the islands, presumably to make life easier on the post office and Food Panda when delivering to the uninhabited islands.
Meanwhile, the KMT, KMT chair Johnny Chiang and whole host of other figures called on President Tsai to visit the islands to uphold Republic of China sovereignty, and called on her to send in the Coast Guard.
Of course, if the president did either of those she’d be at risk of getting killed–or more likely just made to look really stupid–and risk starting a war.
The KMT knows it has a winning issue, however.
A recent National Policy Foundation–which is affiliated with the KMT–poll showed the following:
About 70 percent said that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration should respond strongly to Japan’s actions in a territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
Nearly 50 percent of respondents said that the government’s “negligent” attitude toward the Diaoyutais issue showed that Tsai’s claims that she would protect the nation’s sovereignty are not being backed by action.
Clearly the wording in the poll was biased, but even discounting for that it appears a lot of people agree with the KMT on this issue–though I suspect very few feel really strongly on this issue.
President Tsai can’t really do much about this issue, and while no doubt she secretly wants to give the mayor of Ishigaki a good kicking for starting this whole mess, but in her typical diplomatic way stated Taiwan insists on its sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands though it will try to maintain regional peace and security.
She also said Taiwan’s stance on territorial disputes is “setting aside differences and joint development.”
She was undermined however when Taiwan’s representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) suggested they were Japanese territory.
In a Facebook post, Hsieh said Japan has had de facto control over the islands since the 1970s, despite MOFA’s multiple assertions of Taiwan’s sovereignty.
He also argued that the then-ruling Kuomintang (KMT) government did not file a protest with the Japanese government at the time.
That forced MOFA, his boss, to reassert Taiwan’s claims to the islands.
Most likely the issue will die down in a few weeks, possibly after that flotilla with their house number plates gets driven off by the Japanese Coast Guard.
At least until the next round of silliness erupts.

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