Archive for July 23rd, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sea of Japan: A (mild) Show of Force

The United States and South Korea formally announced on Tuesday they would conduct naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, between China and the Korean Peninsula, the Voice of America (VoA) reported on Tuesday. Another paragraph, quoting from a joint statement by US defense secretary Robert Gates and his South Korean counterpart Kim Tae-young, said that final decisions had not yet been made about additional naval and air maneuvers planned for the Yellow Sea, between the Korean Peninsula and China. The New Yorker reports today that Beijing got reassurance this week from the U.S. and South Korea that the military exercises, featuring 20 ships and 200 planes, were not going to take place in the Yellow Sea.

US and South Korean naval forces, including US aircraft carrier George Washington, had conducted exercises in the Yellow Sea before, in October 2009, according to a Q & A exchange between an unnamed reporter and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang during a press conference on July 15.

An article by Phoenix Net (凤凰网) earlier this month seemed to anticipate a US-South Korean exercise in the Yellow Sea and explained what it saw as Washington’s and Seoul’s motivations to conduct one.

The VoA on Tuesday quoted a South Korean rear admiral, Kim Kyung Sik, as describing the exercises as a “formidable show of force” and “a clear warning to North Korea”.

Stephen Yates, former deputy assistant for National Security Affairs to George W. Bush‘s vice president Richard Cheney, was quoted by the VoA as saying that China should consider joint exercises a relatively light response to a ship sinking, which many consider an act of war. He was apparently reacting to the scenario that included the Yellow Sea at the time. “If a Chinese vessel had been attacked and sunk, what would their people be demanding by way of a show of force? I think that South Koreans wanting to have this kind of a joint exercise is quite mild actually.”

Not everyone agrees that North Korea is directly or indirectly responsible for the sinking of a South Korean warship – the Cheonan incident – which is cited as the main reason for the scheduled naval exercises. Two visiting US experts in Tokyo called for another investigation on July 9, the Japan Times reported:

Jae Jung Suh, an associate professor of international politics at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C., and Seung Hun Lee, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia, claimed the condition of the salvaged Cheonan is inconsistent with the JIG conclusion that the sinking was due to a shock wave and a bubble effect and that the blue ink marking on the torpedo reading “No. 1” in Hangul would have been burned off in a detonation.

Shin Sang-cheol, a member of the panel which had conducted the first investigation on the Cheonan incident, was questioned on May 28 by South Korean prosecutors, after voicing his view that the Cheonan sank in an accident and that the evidence linking North Korea to the torpedo had been tampered with.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Xinhua: “Taiwan Public condemns ‘Rebiya Card'”

The following is a translation from a Xinhua article of Wednesday. The text following the line “We oppose the Rebiya card” seem to be indirect-speech quotations from the joint statement mentioned by Xinhua – references to Taiwan’s Executive Yuan and other terms that express sovereignty were probably put into quotation marks by Xinhua. I’d also like to note that the Xinhua wordings are not necessarily the original words used by the Taiwanese critics of the invitations to Rebiya Kadeer and Raela Tosh.

I have added some links in my translation – the links aren’t part of the original Xinhua article.

Xinhua, July 21, 2010 — Pan-Green-leaning groups invited Rebiya Kadeer to Taiwan, and provided the “ministry of the interior” with the relevant data in April and May, but the final answer was that the Ma Ying-jeou authorities would deny entry to Kadeer, and that she whouldn’t be allowed to enter Taiwan for three years. “Executive Yuan premier” Wu Den-yih said on July 18 that the “ministry of the interior’s” measure was made because of national security reasons, and that he therefore supported the “ministry of the interior’s” decision.

More than ten Taiwanese civil society organizations issued a joint statement:

Opposing the Rebiya Card

As last year, independence forces on this island are eying the “Rebiya card” again, to link themselves with the terrorist ringleader, which is condemned by the Taiwanese public. More than ten Taiwanese civil society organizations jointly issue a statement, sharply condemning the Democratic Progressive Party’s attempts to provoke ethnic problems, and to plot vicious political battles. Recently, Taiwan’s “ministry of the interior” said that with consideration of Taiwan’s interests, it recommended a ban on Rebiya entering [Taiwan].

The KMT’s “Legislative Yuan” group also supported Taiwan authorities not issuing a “visa” to Rebiya, in order not to harm the harmonious (和谐) cross-straits relations, and pointed out that in Southern Taiwan, the tourism and travel business had plummeted. The Democratic Progressive Party which was in power in Gaoxiong and southern Taiwan, should take the people’s livelihood into account and shouldn’t add trouble by political actions. But according to the news, Rebiya’s daughter Raela entered Taiwan on July 18, on invitation of “Guts United Taiwan”, formerly known as [too unfamiliar for me to translate – JR], who had changed the invitation from Rebiya to her daughter once they found out about the three-year ban.

Taiwan Labor Party chairman warns: Rebiya’s relatives must not engage in splittist activities in Taiwan.

Taiwan Labor Party chairman Wu Rongyuan (吴荣元)*) said that when Rebiya’s relatives made use of Taiwan’s democratic pluralism for their activities, the Ma authorities had to regulate, control their inflammatory splittist remarks, as anything else would amount to condoning them. Wu Rongyuan said that while the nature of Raela’s visit was different from one by Rebiya, but for the sake of cross-straits reconciliation (和解) and national prosperity, the Ma authorities should advise her “not to engage in ethnic separatist activities in Taiwan”, and that moreover, violent terrorist ethnic-separatist activities were clearly forbidden by Taiwan’s criminal law and National Security Law (台湾刑法和“国安法”).

Retrospective

“Immigration Department”: Forcible repatriation of Rebiya to her landing plane

[The retrospective paragraph looks back on September last year, saying that along with the Dalai Lama then, pan-green-leaning groups had intended to invite Rebiya Kadeer along with him, and were told by Hu Ching-fu (胡景富), the immigration department’s deputy director-general, that Kadeer would be returned on her plane of arrival, if she indeed tried to enter Taiwan.]

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Note
*) “Wu Rongyuan” is the pinyin spelling of the Labor Party chairman’s name. The spelling in Taiwan is Wu Jung-yuan.

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Related
Tourism: Carrots and Sticks, July 18, 2010
Taiwan: Lies, and Honest Tries, October 10, 2009
Hermit: Taiwan Loves the Motherland, August 29, 2009
Hermit and Nanny endorse CPGBML, October 26, 2008
Wu, Huang: oppose UN referendums, Taipei Times, Feb 16, 2008

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