Archive for ‘Taiwan’

Friday, July 10, 2020

Ko Wen-je discusses his Chances to be elected President, Cross-Strait Relations

The following is a translation of an article by Radio Taiwan International‘s Chinese service.

The article contains interesting quotes from an interview Ko Wen-je gave Next TV, but leaves out critical comments he reportedly made about Xi Jinping‘s Qin-Shi-Huang kind of actions.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Xi Jinping acting like Qin Shi Huang?

Main link: No great chance to be elected president/ there are currently no cross-strait relations

Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je said in an interview aired on July 9 that concerning the 2024 presidential elections, he was “taking a preparatory look at the issue” but his own view of the odds for him wasn’t promising, there would be new politicians, and the situation would be different.

台北市長柯文哲於9日播出的專訪中表示,對於2024總統「照這樣準備」,但自評勝算很低,且到那時會有新的政治人物出現、也沒有連任問題,戰局會不同。

Ko’s interview was broadcast on July 9 by Next TV. Asked by host Chen Yalin about the participation issue in the 2024 presidential elections, Ko declared for the first time that “I am still looking at such preparations, preparing for the presidential elections, just choosing like that, does it work or doesn’t it.”

台北市長柯文哲於9日播出的壹電視專訪中,被主持人陳雅琳問及參選2024總統問題,他首度表態「我還是照這樣準備,準備選總統,就這樣去選,行或不行」。

The host followed up, asking “what is the chance that it would work?”, and Ko answered that if you lean on personal popularity to win, the mobilization abilities of the blue and green camps were both strong, and only if you lead by eight percent from the beginning, “if you ask me at this stage, the chances to get elected would be very low.” “When all media are playing the game like this, it can’t be easy.” Also, there would be new politicians by then, and there wouldn’t be re-election issues, which would make it a different campaign.

主持人追問「你覺得行的比例差不多多少」,柯文哲回應若要靠個人聲望贏,藍綠動員能力強,除非一開始就領先8%,「你問我現階段,選了贏的機會很低」,「所有的媒體這樣打,不容易啦」,且到那時都是新的政治人物、也沒有現在連任的問題,戰局會不同。

Ko Wen-je said that he was in a very calm mood now, with doing his work at the Taipei government, and if it [the presidential opportunities] was there, that would be fine, and otherwise, let it be. There was no need to care.

柯文哲表示現在心情都很輕鬆,正常在北市府開工,行就行、不行就算了,何必那麼在意。

Ko also said that at this stage, there were no cross-strait relations, only a Taiwan issue within the confrontation between China and America, with both China and America having their bottom lines. “Frankly speaking, my conduct and actions wouldn’t differ much from Ying-wen’s [President Tsai].”

柯文哲並表示,現階段沒有兩岸關係,只有中美對抗架構下的台灣問題,中美各有底線,「坦白講,我所作所為跟小英(蔡總統)的做法其實也差不多」。

Asked by the host about the Hong Kong national security law and the cross-strait situation, Ko Wen-je said that China has to reflect on how to deal with the people’s longings for democracy and freedom once arriving at a certain stage of economic development.

主持人問及對香港國安法及兩岸情勢問題,柯文哲表示中國必須思考當經濟發展到一個程度時,該如何處理人民對民主自由的渴望。

Asked what he had to say to China’s chairman Xi Jinping, Ko Wen-je said that [Xi] had better respect Taiwan. Democracy and freedom were the core of Taiwan’s politics, cherished by the Taiwanese, and, more importantly, the Taiwanese would want to retain it. Therefore, [Xi] needed to understand Taiwan’s current situation.

至於對中國國家主席習近平有何話說,柯文哲表示,他還是要尊重台灣。民主自由是台灣政治的核心;台灣人會珍惜它、更重要的是台灣人會去想要保有它,所以他必須了解台灣的現況。

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Updates / Related

Taipei to continue forum with Shanghai (click picture)

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

This week in Taiwan’s Airspace: “the Democratic Progressive Party authorities colluded with external powers”

Probably this kind of plane – click photo for source

Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, June 11 — Responding to media coverage concerning a U.S. C-40A transport plane flying over Taiwan on June 9, PRC State Council Office for Taiwan Affairs spokesperson Zhu Fenglian pointed out that American Air Force planes flying over Taiwan harms China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, violates international law and fundamental standards of international relations. It is illegal conduct and a serious provocative incident. We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition against this.

新华社北京6月11日电 针对有媒体报道6月9日1架美军C-40A运输机飞越台湾,国台办发言人朱凤莲11日应询指出,美军机飞越台湾,损害我主权、安全、发展利益,违反国际法和国际关系基本准则,是一起非法行径和严重挑衅事件。我们对此表示强烈不满和坚决反对。

Zhu Fenglian said that the Democratic Progressive Party authorities colluded with external powers to assault Chinese sovereignty and security, break peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, and bringing calamity to the security and well-being of the people on the island. We express strong condemnation of this. We have the determination, the will, and the ability to resolutely defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests. We solemnly warn the Democratic Progressive Party authorities of misjudging the situation. They must not underestimate the strong will and resolute determination of the entire Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and they must immediately stop the above-mentioned conduct.

朱凤莲表示,民进党当局勾结外部势力侵犯中国主权安全,破坏台海和平稳定,祸患岛内民众安全福祉。我们对此表示强烈谴责。我们有决心、有意志、有能力坚决维护国家主权、安全、发展利益。我们严正警告民进党当局不要误判形势,不要低估全体中国人民维护国家主权和领土完整的坚强意志和坚定决心,立即停止上述行径。

Statement by Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, quoted by Reuters:

the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF), as Taiwan’s air force is formally known, deployed fighters to repel Chinese Su-30 Flanker fighters. The PLAAF fighters were given verbal warnings to leave Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

The incident followed a transit of Taiwanese air space, with permission, by a U.S. C-40A Clipper military personnel transport aircraft — a variant of the civilian Boeing 737. […]

The Military News Agency quoted underneath is part of Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense:

Military News Agency reporter Tsai Fang-yun, Taipei, June 9 – The Ministry of Defense said today that in the morning, a number of  Chinese Communist Party Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet flights were detected as briefly entering Taiwan’s southwesterly airspace in the morning. In addition to radio warnings, our patrolling fighters controlled the entire process and took active measures to dispel them.

國防部今日表示,上午偵獲中共蘇愷30戰機多架次,短暫進入臺灣西南空域,除廣播告警外,我空中偵巡戰機全程掌握並採積極驅離應處。

The Ministry of Defense emphasized that by use of combined intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, it is in full control of the Taiwan Strait, peripheral waters, and airspace. It takes an active role in firmly protecting homeland security and urges compatriots to be at ease.

國防部強調,國軍運用聯合情監偵作為,對於臺海周邊海、空域狀況,均能充分掌握,並採積極應處作為,確維國土安全,籲請國人放心。

Also, responding to media coverage about “a U.S. C-40A transport plane flying through Taiwanese airspace”, the Ministry of Defense points out that the American plane entered our airspace in accordance with procedures and request, and did not land at any of our airports [during passage]. The military is in full control, and everything is currently normal.

此外,針對媒體報導「美軍C-40A運輸機飛越台灣領空 」,國防部指出,美機進入我空域,係按程序完成申請,期間並未降落我任何機場,國軍都能充分掌握,目前均正常。

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Radio Taiwan International’s Korean Service plans Return to Shortwave

A 2014 photo of Taiwan’s Tamsui transmitters site,
RTI QSL card 2015

After a break of some fifteen years, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reportedly plans a return to shortwave for its Korean language department. These plans had been raised at an award ceremony for RTI’s Korean department, held by the Korea Shortwave Club in Seoul in November 2019, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported back then. RTI’s board of directors was expected to take a positive decision in January 2020, and RTI’s German service confirmed in a mailbag program on May 29 that the Korean programs would indeed return to shortwave.

This follows the resumption of shortwave transmissions by the foreign broadcaster’s French and Spanish services. According to RTI’s French service’s mailbag program in February, RTI’s management wants the station to use all means of communications available, to raise Taiwan’s profile.

No opening day has apparently been specified, but the switch from the summer to the winter 2020/21 broadcasting season (in late October) doesn’t appear unlikely.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

June 4 Anniversary and Hong Kong: Broke Horses and Resisting Horses

I think there have been two moments when Chinese people of my age basically told me two things.

a) Yes, they had been among the 1989 protesters, be it in Beijing, be it in other places in China.

b) They had come to understand since how wrong they had been back in 1989, and what a calamity they had all been spared by the crackdown.

In both cases, I listened, nodded, and didn’t argue. I didn’t believe them a word. And I felt I was listening to another chapter from a universal story of human weakness, just as Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago had, again, many decades earlier, and who had said that “it was like listening to a horse describing how it broke itself in.”

I didn’t argue because I felt that I hadn’t been in their place, that I still wasn’t in their place, and because I knew them beyond their (rather pathetic) political point of view. We were friends, or sort of friends. Hadn’t we known each other personally, and had it been an online encounter, we would probably have had a fierce debate.

Work style – CCTV evening news on July 24, 2013.

This comes to my mind when I read triumphant Chinese news articles about how many signatures had been collected by now, in support of the “security law for Hong Kong”. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if the numbers are real – and I don’t know how many bosses have “nudged” their staff to sign, or else.

People have to survive. There seems to be a rule: a majority of people will only be prepared to fight for their freedoms when they see a chance to succeed at it. That hope is waning in Hong Kong. It is, on the other hand, very much there in Taiwan. The rule that bleak situations break morals isn’t universal, as shown by exceptions. But it is often broad enough to work in favor of those who abuse their powers.

I can’t blame anyone. But I’m critical of a certain kind of “self-broke horse”. That’s the horse that denies the pressures and the threats, that argues that it recognized a necessity, acted accordingly, and that those horses that continue to resist the necessity would be obnoxious or dangerous. That’s a likely pattern of argument once the self-broke horse has “seen the light”, because every horse that remains noticeably free – or resisting – challenges, by its mere existence, not only the people in power, but also the broke horse itself.

A society could be more relaxed if broke horses could admit – even if only to themselves or in private – that they simply don’t want to live a – supposedly too difficult or painful – dissident’s life, or that they want to be happy, and that their happiness requires a certain monthly income, i. e. a favorable career. The problems begin to explode when they try to link their rather personal desires to “something greater”, and when freedom and conscience aren’t the “greater things” of choice, it will most probably be “the motherland”.

China’s rulers understood that, and they fostered such tensions. That’s why they pushed “patriotic education” in mainland China in the 1990s – to fill the void left behind by the crushed hopes of 1989, and to cater to nationalist feelings that had been there anyway – among many 1989 protestors, too.

Here in Germany, I have sometimes heard people vent anger about Wolf Biermann, an East German singer and songwriter who was stripped of his citizenship and exiled by the East German authorities in 1976, while he was on a pre-approved tour of  West Germany.

Biermann had been a vocal critic of East Berlin – a dissident. He hasn’t been much of a critic of Western flaws after 1976. In fact, he embraced all the good and bad things the West had to offer – imperialism included.

One should be aware of that. Biermann is no saint. But he has done more than most of us. He opposed a regime. That may not be enough for a lifetime – but it’s more than what most of us would be prepared to do.

So let’s be grateful for the courageous. Not to hate them for their integrity is a good first step into the right direction. To learn from them – within the realms of our abilities – should be a good second step.

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Updates / Related

365 days, Tsai Ing-wen, June 4, 2020
Sacrificed and gained, Sui Muqing, June 2, 2020

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

President Tsai Ing-wen begins her Second Term, Inaugural Speech in full

in Chinese

in English

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Related

A second term, Jan 13, 2020
“We uphold our principles”, Jan 2, 2019
First Double-Ten speech, Oct 11, 2016
Economy with new bones, May 20, 2016
She’s back, April 15, 2015

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Related / Updates

Domestic in Focus, J. A. Cohen, May 21, 2020

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Monday, April 13, 2020

Have a Guess why WHO Director-General Tedros thinks he’s right

First off, I want you to know that I have signed this petition, and that I would like to encourage you to sign it, too. My main reason to ask for Dr. Tedros’ resignation is that he supports a policy of locking more than 20 million Taiwanese people out of the World Health Organization (WHO). That scandal didn’t start with his tenure, and has been WHO policy for a long time, but it is now exacting a price in terms of global health. Taiwan could share its eperience in a so far successful fight against COVID-19. Taiwan could also contribute financially. Taiwan seems to have warned the WHO on December 31, in an email query to the organization. And the WHO leadership appears to be unwilling to take this into account and make a wiser decision than in the past.

I don’t feel a personal dislike for Tedros, and I think that many “social media” remarks about him are inappropriate, and actually false assertions.

But every public official must be accountable to the people he serves, or claims to serve. That’s why I believe that the WHO’s director general should clear the way for a successor with a more inclusive policy than his.

It doesn’t help when people insult each other. Above all, character assassination blinds for the more likely facts and factors in political processes. Both sides are wrong when accusing each other of “politicizing” issues. WHO is inevitably about politics, because it depends on the funding of governments with very different interests, and different economic capabilities to contribute to the WHO’s work. The demands of the world’s poorest, as elementary and obvious as they may be, are also political. And China’s cover-up approach is political, too. Everything is politics – that’s no suitable swearword to use for either WHO officials, or their critics.

It is true however that when you look at the mere numbers – in million US-$ -, China’s influence on the WHO doesn’t seem to make sense:

member state fees1) voluntary2)   total
USA 57.9 401.1 459.0
China 28.7 16.9 45.6
Japan 20.5 46.7 67.2
Germany 14.6 89.9 104.5
United Kingdom 10.9 163.7 174.6

Then why the WHO’s understatement when China covered up their SARS-2 cases, why the blind eyes to Taiwan’s warning query in December 31 (not to mention the WHO’s discrimination of Taiwan in general), and why the WHO director-general’s generally meek interaction with Beijing?

  • Trump is toying with the idea of reducing America’s contributions. Any WHO director general has to plan ahead, especially when the organizations main stakeholder becomes unreliable.
  • Tedros is probably convinced that he is doing the right thing by chumming up to China. Losing people to disease is unacceptable for him, and that much is credible. There is no way that WHO can enforce transparency on the ground – be it in China, be it in any other countries, though smaller countries may be more susceptible to pressure. And conceited leaders (like China’s) are more susceptible to flattery. (That, of course, doesn’t make it right to help them downplay a crisis, neither knowingly nor unknowingly. But it may become a more understandable approach, when you keep in mind that understanding something isn’t the same thing as condoning it.)
  • Then there is a – supposed – trend. While Taiwan would probably contribute as much today as does China, it could be different in future. That’s what most in the global political class expect to happen. They may have to think again – China is regularly overestimated. While questionable statistics have often help its image among foreigners, forgery will backfire when it does damage to the faithful foreigners’ home countries. (Never mind a million “extremist” inmates in Chinese internment camps – that’s far, far away.)

It makes no sense to demonize Tedros. He isn’t much different from most national or business leaders when it comes to dealing with China. The difference of course is that national leaders are usually held accountable, sometimes more, sometimes less, but more so than heads of international institutions. That’s why African politicians do criticize China for the way Africans have been treated in Guangzhou, while Tedros, who had shortly before tried to mobilize African public opinion in his favor and against “Taiwanese racism” remains oddly silent now.

But of course, it makes no sense to defend Tedros’ policies, either.

I would still prefer some civility in the effort to make him go. One doesn’t need to hate or disdain a man who oppose him. Rather, you can oppose him more effectively when you try to understand him and his supporters.
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Notes

1) Source for obligatory contributions
2) Source for voluntary contributions
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Friday, April 3, 2020

Flying high and low: Radio Taiwan International’s French and Spanish Services return to Shortwave

The transmission site is important,
but a welcoming set of wires won’t hurt either,
especially if you want to listen to the programs
for Latin America from Europe

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is putting its French and Spanish services back on the air, after an absence of two years. The French programs are broadcast every night at 19:00 to 19:30 UTC on 6005 kHz via Kostinbrod (Bulgaria), for northern Africa and Europe. There are news bulletins at the beginning of every transmission (except, possibly, on Saturdays and Sundays when those first ten minutes may be used for cultural or other programs).

RTI’s Spanish service will be back on air on April 6, i. e. this coming Monday, with transmissions for South America from 01:00 to 01:30 UTC on 5800 kHz, for Central America and Cuba from 02:00 to 02:30 UTC on 5010 kHz, and for Europe from 22:00 to 23:00 UTC on 7780 kHz. (Time UTC means Sunday night, April 5, local time in Latin America.)

The Spanish test transmissions were apparently all carried out by Radio WRMI (Radio Miami International) in Okeechobee, Florida, so that should be the case with the regular transmissions starting on April 6, too.

The decision to make more use of shortwave again was reportedly taken by a new director general at RTI , a man named Chang Cheng (張正) who has apparently been at the helm of Taiwan’s international broadcaster since some time in summer, 2019.

Chang appears to be enthusiastic about shortwave. This isn’t the first time that he is involved with broadcasting, he wrote in November last year, but while he used to think of broadcasting as a rather simple affair – “you speak, you record it, your voice goes on the air, and that’s that” (在錄音室錄完就大功告成,聲音就出去了), he has since learned that this had been a rather low-key description:

Once the recording is done, there’s post-production, once that is done, your voice has to go on air. How can it be transmitted? At RTI, for example, the recording, made at RTI’s main building in Taipei, has to be transmitted from the iron tower on the Taipei building’s roof on microwave, to the microwave station on the top of Yuanshan mountain, and, flying high and low, across buildings and mountain ranges, exit the Taipei Basin, to reach another microwave station there. Several relays later, it arrives at the targeted substation.*)

錄音結束,還要後製,後製完成,還要把聲音送出去。怎麼送?以央廣為例,在台北總台錄製的節目,必須透過屋頂的發射鐵塔,以微波打向高據圓山山頭的微波站,再居高臨下地越過高樓大廈、越過層層山巒,送到台北盆地之外的微波站。經過幾個微波站的接力,抵達各地分台。

The real task awaits us here: by the substation’s high-performance transmitters and all sorts of rigged antennas, the signal is carried out of Taiwan, on shortwave.

然後才是最難的部份:透過分台的高功率發射機與高聳的各式天線電塔,以短波的形式傳送到台灣境外。

Why the fuss? You say that in the internet age, you just have to put your voice on the internet and that will do? Not necessarily (pointing west without comment). Therefore, this sort of flying-pigeon message, the historic long-distance radio wave, reflected by the ionosphere, comes in handy.

幹嘛這麼費事?你說,網路時代,把聲音放上網路不就成了?這可不一定。你知道的,有些地方網路到不了(伸出食指默默指向西邊)。於是「短波」(Short Wave)這種有如飛鴿傳書、將無線電波藉由電離層反射的古老遠距傳輸技藝,就派上用場了。

Chang acknowledges that China jams such signals, but points out that jamming isn’t as watertight as the “great firewall” is.

That of course doesn’t explain why Africa, Europe, and Latin America have now become target areas for shortwave again. But the French department’s mailbag program, on February 15, quoted the management as saying that RTI needed to use all means of communications available to raise Taiwan’s profile, including shortwave.

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Notes

*) substation refers to the actual transmitter sites, such as Tamsui, or, in the past, Tianma substations.
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Friday, March 27, 2020

US support for Taiwan’s diplomatic alliances “uncompromisingly opposed” by FMPRC

The following is a translation of a newslet from China News Service (CNS, 中国新闻),the country’s second-largest newsagency after Xinhua.

“An Act to express United States support
for Taiwan’s diplomatic alliances
around the world”

Main link: China’s foreign ministry reacts to America’s signing of legislation concerning Taiwan, strongly urges America to correct mistake (中国外交部回应美方签署涉台法案:强烈敦促美方纠正错误)

CNS, Beijing, March 27 — (Huang Yuqin reporting)  Countering America signing the negative bill concerning Taiwan, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on a regular press conference on Friday that China strongly urged America to correct its mistake and not to implement that legislation, and not to obstruct any country’s development of ties with China. Otherwise, it would inevitably be met with a resolute Chinese counterattack.

中新社北京3月27日电 (黄钰钦)针对美方签署涉台消极法案,中国外交部发言人耿爽27日在例行记者会上表示,中方强烈敦促美方纠正错误,不得实施该法,不得阻挠各国同中国发展关系。否则,必将遭到中方坚决反击。

A reporter asked, the American president signed the “Taiwan Friendship International Protection and Strengthening Initiative” bill [into legislation]. How does China comment on this?

有记者提问,美国总统签署了“台湾友邦国际保护及加强倡议法案”。中方对此有何评论?

Geng Shuang replied that America’s so-called “Taipei bill” seriously violated the one-China principle and the rules of the Sino-American Three Communiqués, goes against international law and the fundamental standards of international relations, and interfered in domestic Chinese politics. China expressed intense resentment and uncompromising opposition against this.

耿爽回应称,美方所谓“2019年台北法案”严重违反一个中国原则和中美三个联合公报规定,违背国际法和国际关系基本准则,干涉中国内政。中方对此表示强烈不满和坚决反对。

He pointed out that worldwide, 180 countries had established diplomatic relations with China, with America having established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China policy as early as 41 years ago. The above-mentioned bill demands the obstruction of other countries sovereign countries’ developing normal national relations. This is undisguised hegemonial logic.

他指出,世界上已有180个国家同中国建交,美国自己早在41年前就在一个中国原则基础上同中国建交,上述法案却要求阻挠其他主权国家同中国发展正常国家关系,这是赤裸裸的霸权主义逻辑。

Geng Shuang emphasized that the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and China’s core interests. China’s government and people determination and volition to defend their core interests is rock-solid. We strongly urge America to correct its mistake and not to implement that legislation, and not to obstruct any country’s development of ties with China. Otherwise, it would inevitably be met with a resolute Chinese counterattack. (end)

耿爽强调,台湾问题事关中国主权和领土完整,事关中国核心利益。中国政府和人民捍卫核心利益的决心和意志坚如磐石。我们强烈敦促美方纠正错误,不得实施该法,不得阻挠各国同中国发展关系。否则,必将遭到中方坚决反击。(完)

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Related

Led by Nancy Pelosi, J. Smith, Mar 27, 2020
Senate and House bill, Jan 3, 2020
China’s rising aggression, Jan 28, 2017

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