Ma's foreign policy flawed and lacks vision

President Ma Ying-jeou visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today to explain his concept of “viable diplomacy” in hopes for reconciliation in cross-strait relations. Ma emphasized that from the Siew-Hu, Lien-Hu and Wu-Hu meetings to renewed cross-strait talks to the recent issue over Taiwan’s name at the Olympics, a sense of trust has gradually been developed on both sides of the Strait. The Director of the DPP’s Department of International Affairs, Lin Chen-wei, however pointed out that in fact, Ma’s diplomatic policies so far have been based on empty rhetoric and are over-dependent on China’s goodwill. As a result, Taiwan has to adopt a passive approach that is not conducive for gaining more international space. After the Olympics, whether Taiwan can gain entry into the UN and whether China will block our efforts to become part of the WHO will become tests for Ma’s diplomatic policies.

Director Lin pointed out that China’s recent actions, such as changing the name of Taiwan’s Olympic Team and its marching order at the Opening Ceremonies, indicate that it is too premature to say a mutual trust has been established between the two countries. China is obviously testing the Ma government’s bottom line. Only protests lodged by the Taiwanese people have caused the Chinese government to back down. Lin further criticized that Ma has engaged in self-denigration and has taken cross-strait exchanges into dangerous territory for Taiwan. In addition, now that Ma has placed Taiwan’s international status at the mercy of China, people should really start worrying about the nation’s future.

Director Lin also expressed that Ma has placed cross-strait relations above all other diplomatic considerations. With an affinity to China alone, relationships with the US and Japan are in an obvious imbalance, which has caused much anxiety among several US and Japanese political experts. Lin said that the critical point for Ma’s “viable diplomacy” is whether or not there is an agreement on both sides of the Strait. His concept does not rely on Taiwan’s active participation in the international community, but rather on how much space China is willing to yield to Taiwan. As a result, Taiwan’s diplomatic strategies are passive and perhaps even directionless. The Ma government’s current actions will raise many questions. The DPP asks that they explain them clearly to the public.

Lin further criticized Ma’s diplomatic policies as filled with gaps and unable to withstand the test of time. Ma has not yet proposed how to improve Taiwan’s participation on the international stage. In addition, he has not said a word on important global topics such as climate change, national security, human rights, economic development, and good governance. It is regrettable and unfortunate that Ma, after already being in the office for more than two months can only propose an empty diplomatic policy.

During his visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ma said that Taiwan’s international reputation deteriorated during the DPP’s eight years in power. Director Lin pointed out that in the past the KMT has always played along with China’s view that Taiwan is a troublemaker. However, the reality is that China has always oppressed Taiwan diplomatically and threatened the nation militarily. The real culprit in damaging the cross-strait status has always been China. The KMT is now blaming the victim along with the perpetuator, which is unforgivable.

Finally, Director Lin expressed that the DPP would like to remind the Ma government that once the Olympics are over, whether Taiwan’s relationships with its diplomatic allies can remain stable, whether Taiwan can gain entry into the UN, and whether Taiwan can gain membership into the WHO early next year, will all be important tests for Ma’s overall diplomatic policy.