Diaoyutai Incident: President Ma should not blame the Committee on Japanese Affairs

In response to the recent fishing boat collision in Diaoyutai, DPP’s Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs Lin Chen-wei stated that the KMT should stop beating around the bush and publicly address the most important issue at hand: President Ma Ying-jeou’s role in the resolution process. The Committee on Japanese Affairs is a legitimate organization established by the DPP administration in order to strengthen relations between Taiwan and Japan and at the same time normalize Taiwan’s diplomatic relationships. The Ma administration’s failure at crisis management, and its attempt to put the blame by portraying the Committee on Japanese Affairs as an illegitimate institution in order to avoid taking responsibility for its own ineffectiveness, is a very inappropriate way to deal with the ongoing dispute.

Furthermore, Director Lin asserts that the Ma administration’s decision making process when dealing with the fish boat incident is heavily flawed and problematic in that they held a second-level management personnel in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) accountable for this incident and would even consider the possibility of going to war with Japan. Director Lin states that this is evidence of the KMT’s ineffective policy making and crisis management abilities.

Director Lin also expresses his thoughts on the Committee on Japanese Affairs, which was established by the DPP administration in an effort to strengthen relations between Japan and Taiwan because the “Association of East Asia Relations” established by the KMT after it severed formal diplomatic ties with Japan was a “white glove” association made up entirely of MOFA personnel who are supposedly under the supervision of the understaffed Head of Asia-Pacific Division. This created an inefficient chain of commands that made it difficult to maintain normal diplomatic relationships.

Director Lin states that the establishment of the Committee on Japanese Affairs not only enabled Taiwan to have normal diplomatic relationships, it also improved relationships between Taiwan and Japan by allowing specialized staff to handle Japanese affairs.

Director Lin emphasizes that the Ma administration lacked crisis management ability, and had only accused the Committee on Japanese Affairs in order to divert attention away from his administration’s failings. Lin added that this was very inappropriate, especially since the Committee serves an important purpose in Taiwan-Japan relations and had in the past enabled both sides to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.