Archive for April 28th, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ECFA: Jus Primae Noctis?

On a press conference with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Taipei on Tuesday, J. Michael Cole of the Taipei Times had a question for president Ma Ying-jeou, which wasn’t taken, according to his blogpost of today:

President Ma, you and your administration have repeatedly said that Taiwan must sign an ECFA with China because of regional economic integration. You claim that Taiwan does not have a choice. But the reason Taiwan does not have a choice is because China has now [not?] allowed other countries in the region to sign free-trade agreements with Taiwan. Granted, some of those countries, as you just said, told Taiwan they’d rather it sign an ECFA with China before they can consider negotiating an FTA with Taiwan, comments that nevertheless are an extension of Beijing’s diplomatic bullying. Taiwan should have a choice, but it doesn’t, and this is because of Chinese interference.

Now, how can we expect that Beijing will show “goodwill” toward Taiwan through an ECFA this time around? How do we know this is not a trap?

Cole writes that he intended to underscore his question with a crude, but descriptive analogy:

Beijing is like the village’s serial rapist who sees a poor young lady outside in the rain. First, it goes to the other villagers and tells them ‘You leave her alone and you do not allow her into your houses, or I’ll beat you up.’ He then goes over to the young lady and tells her ‘You are welcome to seek shelter into my house. Only after you’ve spent the night will I perhaps allow you to visit some neighbors.’

Justrecently’s Beautiful Blog isn’t an ECFA blog. But the past two weeks or so, with the TSU’s referendum initiative and the televised debate have been highly dynamic – Reuters news agency reportedly called the latter event “historic”.
For sure, it would have deserved much more international attention, just as the whole ECFA process contains a lot of more general questions about doing “business” with China. They should be debated worldwide – not only in Taiwan.

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Related
ECFA Double-Ying Debate, first Impressions, April 25, 2010
“Droit de Seigneur”, Wikipedia

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