Posts tagged ‘sovereignty’

Monday, January 13, 2020

A second Term for President Tsai Ing-wen

我也要向大家保證,絕對不會因為勝利,就忘記了反省。過去這四年,我們有成績,但是也有不足的地方。台灣人民願意再給我們四年,我們會把做不夠的、來不及做的,做得更好、做得更多。

I promise that I will not stop reflecting and improving after winning this election. We have made progress over the past four years, but we also have our shortcomings. Now that the Taiwanese people have given us four more years, we will do more and be better, to make up for areas where we fell short or have not yet finished our work.

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Related

Re-elected, not just for being tough in China, NY Times, Jan 12, 2020
Written English version, CNA (Focus Taiwan), January 11, 2020

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Double-Ten 2019: Tsai’s speech, Han’s white paper

1. President’s speech

President Tsai Ing-wen’s national day speech is available

Among other issues, she rejected the “one country, two systems” concept advocated by Beijing.

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (2008 – 2016) and former vice president Lü Hsiu-lien (Anette Lü, 2000 – 2008) attended the event.

Han Kuo Yu’s white paper

KMT presidential candidate (and Kaohsiung mayor) Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) gave a speech at a flag-raising ceremony in Kaohsiung on October 9.

Han has also announced a white paper concerning relations with mainland China. The KMT’s “92 consensus” (九二共識) is believed to feature prominently in Han’s policies (as it has in former president Ma Ying-jeou’s), and the paper is also excpected to state “the defense of the Republic of China’s sovereignty”, “under the precondition of “one China with different interpretations” (一中各表).

While the “92 consensus” has long been disputed in Taiwan anyway (including the question if Beijing actually ever recognized such a consensus, or if it has been a KMT fantasy all along), Beijing’s more recent demands – “one country, two systems” to include Taiwan – mean that either way, a KMT president would be at odds with Beijing, just as is the current Tsai administration.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Belarus, Russia: together, but not THAT together (yet)

The following is a translation of a Guanchazhe newsarticle, published on February 23.

Main Link: Lukashenko: no Merger with Russia at any Time

News bubbled last week that “Belarussian president has agreed to a merger with Russia”. It also caused a former NATO secretary‘s “concern”, who demanded on that occasion that Belarus protect itself against “Russian threats.”

“白俄罗斯总统同意与俄罗斯合并”的消息上周传得沸沸扬扬,还引来了北约前秘书长的“关怀”,借此要求白俄罗斯保护自己免受“俄罗斯威胁”。

Belarussian president Lukashenko personally rebuked the rumor on February 22, stating the importance of national sovereignty and independence. He also said that as president, he would not merge Belarus into another country at any time.

对于这一传言,白俄罗斯总统卢卡申科2月22日亲自辟谣,他重申了国家主权和独立的重要性,并表示作为总统,任何时候都不会将白俄罗斯并入他国。

According to the Belarussian president’s press office on February 22, Lukashenko said on that day, while inspecting the Military Academy of Belarus and having exchanges with the academy’s teachers and students, that “national sovereignty and independence are the most important achievements we have made now. To have become the first president of this sovereign and independent state is something that makes me proud and happy.”

据白俄罗斯总统新闻局22日消息,卢卡申科当天在视察白俄罗斯共和国军事学院并与该学院师生进行交流时表示:“主权和独立是我们当今取得的最重要成就,我为能成为这个主权国家的第一任总统感到骄傲和高兴。”

Concerning speculation abroad that Belarus could merge into Russia, Lukashenko asked back: “What kind of people could allow such things to happen, after having established and lead an independent country? Would you destroy it with your own hands by letting it become part of another country? Poland or Russia? I will never take this road.

对于外界有关白俄罗斯并入俄罗斯的猜测,卢卡申科反问:“什么样的人会在建立和领导独立国家之后,允许这样的事发生?你会亲手去摧毁它,让它成为其他国家的一部分吗?波兰还是俄罗斯?我永远不会走这条路。”

Lukashenko emphasized that he had clear boundaries that he would never cross, among them, as the most important one, that of defending his country’s sovereignty and independence. He appealed not to pay attention to foreign conjectures that Belarus could lose its sovereignty and independence.

卢卡申科强调,自己有明确的不能逾越的界限,其中最重要的界限就是守卫本国的主权与独立。他呼吁,不要去理会外界关于白俄罗斯会失去其主权和独立性的猜测。

However, he said on the same day that “Russia is our important friend. No matter how many contradictions and disputes we may have, we and Russia will always be together.”

不过,他当天也表示:“俄罗斯是我们重要的朋友,无论我们有多少矛盾和争执,我们和俄罗斯永远在一起”。

Before, there had been rumors abroad that “Belarusian president Lukashenko has announced preparations to merge with Russia,” even with people relating that he had said that “tomorrow there can be a merger into Russia, no problem.”

此前,外界曾盛传“白俄罗斯总统卢卡申科宣布准备与俄罗斯合并”一事,甚至有人转述卢卡申科的话说:“明天就可以并入俄罗斯,没问题”。

Guanchazhe online checked on many Russian and Belarusian official media reporting that Lukashenko had not announced a “Belarusian-Russian merger,” but had made a vigorous statement about the two countries’ union (Guanchazhe note: the original word was объединение, meaning union or unification, translated as integration by Russian media.)

观察者网查证多家俄媒与白俄罗斯官方媒体报道,卢卡申科并没有宣布“白俄合并”,而是对两国联合(观察者网注:原文объединение意为联合、统一,俄媒译为一体化)进行了积极表态。

Reacting to the sentence of “merger tomorrow”, TASS quoted Lukashenko’s original words as being “provided that you are prepared, we can have a union tomorrow (объединиться вдвоем), that’s no problem. But are the Russian and Belarusian people well prepared? (но готовы ли вы),” “if well prepared, we will fulfill the will of the people.”

针对那句“明天就合并”,塔斯社援引卢卡申科说法,其实原话是这样,“只要你们准备好,明天我们就可以联合(объединиться вдвоем),这点没有问题,但是白俄罗斯人和俄罗斯人们准备好了吗?(но готовы ли вы)”,“如果准备好了,我们将履行人民的意志。”

According to Belarusian newsagency belta.by reporting, Lukashenko had previously also reiterated that sovereignty was sacred and could not be violated.

据白方官媒白俄罗斯通讯社(belta.by)报道,卢卡申科此前也重申了主权神圣不可侵犯。

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin had vaguely commented about “Belarusian-Russian integration”, discussing his opinion about “independence” and saying that “there is no completely independent country in the world. No matter if they are big or small countries, today’s world is interdependent.”

俄罗斯总统普京则对“白俄一体化”进行了模糊表态,他谈到了自己对“独立”的看法,称“世界上不存在完全独立的国家,无论是大国还是小国都是如此,现代世界相互依存。”

On February 22, Lukashenko also mentioned the INF treaty. He said that Russia had not violated the treaty in question, and voiced concern that America could deploy missiles after its withdrawal [from the treaty]. He believed that this could create a very big threat to Belarus. He said that Belarus would need to consider countermeasures.

22日,卢卡申科也谈及了《中导条约》问题,他表示,相信俄方未违反相应条约,并对美国在退约之后可能在欧洲部署导弹表示担忧,认为这将对白俄罗斯造成很大威胁。他表示白俄罗斯需要与俄罗斯共同思考如何采取回应措施。

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Related

We are no scroungers, BelTa, March 1, 2019
How the EU lost Ukraine, Der Spiegel, Nov 25, 2013

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Tsai Ing-wen: Beijing’s Threats do Harm beyond Taiwan

When China threatens war, media do become interested in Taiwan (even though the threat is nothing new), Klaus Bardenhagen, a German correspondent in Taipei, wrote on January 6. His post links to an English translation of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen‘s new year’s address on January 1, to a summary of Chinese CCP secretary general and State Chairman Xi Jinping‘s “Taiwan message anniversary” speech (January 2), and to Tsai Ing-wen’s reaction to that speech (also on January 2).

Bardenhagen points out that the main newsworthy content in Xi’s speech was an equation of the “1992 consensus” with “one country, one systems” formula.

His post also reports President Tsai’s international press conference (or reception) on January 5 (see above video, statement in English).

Bardenhagen asked her what Taiwan would wish countries like Germany to do in this situation. Apparently, she didn’t reply with a specific demand to Germany, but to Taiwan’s general role in the community of other democracies:

When such a country faces difficulties and threats, we hope that the international community will watch this closely, speak on our behalf, and support us.

當這樣的國家面臨困難, 面臨威脅的時候,我們希望國際社會能夠重視,而且能夠替我們發聲、來協助我們

Because if a country like this one – that practices democracy and these internationally held values – is threatened and infringed upon, I believe that this harms democracy and many values. If Taiwan faces this situation and there is no international assistance to Taiwan rasing its voice, if Taiwan isn’t supported internationally, we have to ask which country will be next.

因為如果一個實踐民主,實踐這個國際共同的價值這麼努力的國家受到威脅,受到侵害,我相信,對民主,對很多的價值也是一種傷害。如果今天台灣面臨這樣的情況,國際不替台灣發聲,國際不為台灣來協助的話,我們要問下一個就是哪一個國家。

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Related

Press Reception, ROC President, Jan 5, 2019
“We uphold our Principles,” Jan 2, 2019

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Tsai Ing-wen: “We do not provoke, but we uphold our Principles”

The following  is my off-the-cuff translation of a statement made by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen this afternoon, in response to remarks made by Chinese State Chairman Xi Jinping earlier today (all local time). This translation may contain errors.

One expression has remained untranslated; it had apparently been used by Xi Jinping earlier, and I don’t know its meaning – 心灵契合.


udn video (聯合影音), Jan 2, 2018

Main Link: President answers to Xi Jinping’s Remarks (full text), published by Radio Taiwan International (RTI)

After Chinese State Chairman Xi Jinping’s remarks on the 40th anniversary of the “Message of Compatriots in Taiwan” [on January 1, 1979], President Tsai Ing-wen answered personally, at the presidential palace, this afternoon (January 2). The wording is as follows:

在中國國家主席習近平發表「告台灣同胞書」40週年的紀念談話後,蔡英文總統今天(2日)下午也親自在總統府做出回應,全文如下:

Compatriots, friends from the media, good afternoon to everyone.

國人同胞,各位媒體朋友,大家午安。

This morning, Chinese State Chairman Xi Jinping made a so-called “Message of Compatriots in Taiwan” 40th-anniversary speech, proposing a one-country-two-systems plan and related content for Taiwan. As President of the Republic of China, I would like to explain our position concerning this matter.

今天上午,中國國家主席習近平,發表了所謂《告台灣同胞書》40 週年的紀念談話,提出了探索一國兩制台灣方案等相關內容,身為中華民國的總統,我要在此說明我們的立場。

First of all, I must seriously point out that we have never accepted a “92 consensus”. The basic reason is that this is a “92 consensus” defined by the authorities in Beijing. In fact, it just means “one China” and “one country, two systems”. What the leader on the other side of the Taiwan Strait said today has confirmed our misgivings. From here, I want to reiterate that Taiwan will not accept “one country, two systems”, and the overwhelming majority of Taiwanese public opinion also resolutely opposes “one country, two systems”, and this is also the “Taiwan consensus”.

首先,我必須要鄭重指出,我們始終未接受「九二共識」,根本的原因就是北京當局所定義的「九二共識」,其實就是「一個中國」、「一國兩制」。今天對岸領導人的談話,證實了我們的疑慮。在這裡,我要重申,台灣絕不會接受「一國兩制」,絕大多數台灣民意也堅決反對「一國兩制」,而這也是「台灣共識」。

Next, we are willing to sit down and talk, but as a democratic country, any political consultations and talks touching upon cross-strait relations must be authorized and supervised by the people of Taiwan, and conducted in a government-to-government mode. Under this principle, there are no people, no organizations who would have the authority to represent the Taiwanese people in political consultations.

其次,我們願意坐下來談,但作為民主國家,凡是涉及兩岸間的政治協商、談判,都必須經過台灣人民的授權與監督,並且經由兩岸以政府對政府的模式來進行。在這個原則之下,沒有任何人、任何團體,有權力代表台灣人民去進行政治協商。

The development of cross-strait relations – I said that very clearly in my new-year remarks yesterday – is that China must face up to the existing facts of the Republic of China on Taiwan rather than deny the democratic state system the people of Taiwan jointly established. Secondly, they must respect the adherence of the people of 23 million to freedom and democracy, and must not intervene in the Taiwanese people’s choices in a splitting and luring manner.

兩岸關係的發展,我在昨天的新年談話,說得很清楚,那就是中國必須正視中華民國台灣存在的事實,而不是否定台灣人民共同建立的民主國家體制;第二,必須尊重兩千三百萬人民對自由民主的堅持,而不是以分化、利誘的方式,介入台灣人民的選擇;

Thirdly, there is a need to handle the differences between the two sides in a peaceful manner among equals, instead of using pressure and threats in attempts to  make the Taiwanese yield. Fourthly, it has to be governments or legal mechanisms authorized by the governments who sit down to talk. Consultations unauthorized and unsupervised by the people cannot be considered “democratic consultations”. This is Taiwan’s position and the democratic position.

第三,必須以和平對等的方式來處理雙方之間的歧異,而不是用打壓、威嚇,企圖讓台灣人屈服;第四,必須是政府或政府所授權的公權力機構,坐下來談,任何沒有經過人民授權、監督的政治協商,都不能稱作是「民主協商」。這就是台灣的立場,就是民主的立場。

We are willing to conduct orderly and healthy cross-strait exchange on the foundations of “democratic consolidation” and “strengthening national security”. I would also like to reiterate that we must urgently establish a three-lane protection network for the safety of people’s livelihood, information security, and institutionalized democratic supervision mechanisms.

我們願意在「鞏固民主」以及「強化國家安全」基礎上,進行有秩序的、健康的兩岸交流,我也要重申,國內亟需要建立兩岸交流的三道防護網,也就是民生安全、資訊安全以及制度化的民主監督機制。

Cross-strait trade should be mutually beneficial, for both sides to prosper. However, we oppose the economic united front with Beijing’s method of “using gain as a lure”, with “benefiting only China” at the center, attracting Taiwanese technology, capital and talent “going to the mainland”. With all our efforts, we will promote the strategies and measures of “strengthening Taiwan”, consolidate Taiwan’s economic development route as the priority.

兩岸經貿應該互惠互利,共榮發展;但我們反對北京以「利中」為核心,以利誘及吸引台灣技術、資本及人才「走進中國大陸」的經濟統戰。我們將全力推動「壯大台灣」的各項策略跟措施,鞏固以台灣為主體、台灣優先的經濟發展路線。

Over the past two years, has carefully met its obligations as a member of the region, and actively contributed to cross-strait and regional peace and stability. We do not provoke, but we uphold our principles. We have endured pressure, but we have never abandoned our basic positions and promises concerning cross-strait relations. I would like to remind the Beijing authorities that big countries must act as big countries, with the responsibility of big countries, and that the international community is watching if there is change in China or not, and if it can turn into a partner who obtains trust. The “four musts” are the most basic and crucial basis on which cross-strait relations [must show if they] will or will not move towards positive development.

過去兩年來,台灣善盡區域成員的義務,積極貢獻於兩岸及區域的和平穩定。我們不挑釁,但堅持原則,我們飽受各種打壓,但我們從未放棄對兩岸關係的基本立場與承諾。我要提醒北京當局,大國必須要有大國的格局,大國的責任,國際社會也正看著中國能不能有所改變,成為受到信任的夥伴。「四個必須」正是兩岸關係能否朝向正面發展,最基本、也最關鍵的基礎。

The so-called 心灵契合 must be established on mutual respect and understanding, and on pragmatic handling on both sides of issues concerning the welfare of the people. For example, the most urgent issue of swine fever. Pressure on international companies to altering Taiwan’s name can’t bring about 心灵契合, buying Taiwan’s diplomatic allies won’t 心灵契合 either, and nor will military aircraft, warships that rotate around.

所謂的心靈契合,應該是建立在彼此的相互尊重與理解,建立在兩岸政府務實處理有關人民福祉的問題上。例如,眼前十萬火急的豬瘟疫情。施壓國際企業塗改台灣的名稱,不會帶來心靈契合;買走台灣的邦交國,也不會帶來心靈契合;軍機、軍艦的繞台,更不會帶來心靈契合。

Finally, I would like to reiterate that the nine-in-one regional elections that Taiwan’s grassroots public opinion would abandon sovereignty, or concessions concerning Taiwan.

最後,我要重申,九合一地方選舉的結果,絕不代表台灣基層的民意要放棄主權,也不代表在台灣主體性上做出退讓。

Democratic values are values and a way of life cherished by the people of Taiwan, and we call on China to bravely enter the democratic road. Only by doing so, they can really understand the Taiwanese peoples’ mindset and perseverance. Thank you.

民主價值是台灣人民所珍惜的價值與生活方式,我們也呼籲中國,勇敢踏出民主的腳步,也唯有如此,才能真正理解台灣人的想法與堅持。謝謝

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Related

New Year Address, ROC Presidential Office, Jan 1, 2019

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Plans for English as an Official Taiwanese Language

Duties and a receptive mode (online and offline) are keeping me from blogging at the moment.

by-products

If I had blogged this month, one topic might have been about Taiwan’s (sensible, I believe) plans to make English their second official language. To survive under Chinese pressure, international perceptibility – i. e. communication – is a key issue for Taiwan.

There had been plans to make English official for some time, but they appear to have been taking shape this summer. Pan-blue leaning United Daily News (UDN) published an online article in March this year, quoting both people in favor and against the idea, including criticism by a Chengchi University professor:

Chengchi University professor Her One-Soon says that this, in ideological terms, is about surrender to Western power. “Currently, most of the countries of the world that have made English an official language have been colonized by Britain and America”, but has Taiwan? If [English] is really to become an official language, it only represents Taiwan’s inferiority complex towards its own language and culture.

政大語言所教授何萬順則說,這樣在意識形態上是向西方強權屈膝,「目前世界大多國家以英文做為官方語言,都是被英美殖民過」,但台灣有嗎?若是真的定為官方語言,只是代表台灣對自身語言文化的自卑。

If statistics of six years ago are something to go by, there may be more practical issues that would need to be solved. In November 2012, the English-language Taipei Times quoted a foreign education company’s study which said that proficiency in English was low.

Currently, Taiwan is ranked as a country with rather low proficiency by “Education First” (which emphasizes the importance of perceptibility by listing Taiwan as “Taiwan, China”).

Monday, June 11, 2018

Huanqiu: South China Sea “a testing point for China’s strategic-opportunity development”

The following is a translation of an editorial, published by Huanqiu Shibao on May 31.

Original headline / main link: America’s increased Patrolling of the South China Sea is doomed to be transitional (美国巡航南海再多,也注定是过客)

A similarly-worded, but less detailed, editorial was also published by the English-language “Global Times”. Neither version was signed.

Links within blockquotes added during translation, not part of the Chinese article. Translations and links may not always reflect the accurate judicial terms – this is a newspaper reader‘s translation, not a lawyer’s — JR

Under the American machinations, the South China Sea issue has heated up somewhat. American defense secretary Mattis said on May 29 that America would continue to unfold “freedom of navigation activities”, and that the American navy would also take other action.

在美国的策动下,南海问题近来有所升温。美国防长马蒂斯29日表示,美国将继续在南海具有争议的岛屿附近开展“航行自由行动”,此外美军还会采取其他行动。

Just as Mattis said the words above two days ago, two American navy vessels entered China Paracel islands’ [Xisha] and reefs’ territorial waters. Australian senator Jim Molan was an even more ear-piercing voice, asserting that only all-out war would expel China from the Spratlys.

就在马蒂斯发表上述谈话的两天前,美国两艘军舰进入了中国西沙群岛的领海。澳大利亚参议员莫兰发出更加刺耳的声音,宣称只有一场全面战争,才能将中国逐出南沙岛屿。

Also, some Philippine media and Western media have hyped Philippine foreign minister Cayatano’s talk to days ago. That foreign minister said that Philippine president Duterte had defined a red line concerning the South China Sea, and to prepare to “fight for the South China Sea”. However, when you read Cayetano’s complete talk carefully, you find that his and Duterte’s attitude are not that extreme.

此外,一些菲律宾媒体和西方媒体炒作菲律宾外长卡耶塔诺的一次讲话,这位外长说菲律宾总统杜特尔特已经为南海问题划设了红线,并且准备好“为南海而战”。然而仔细阅读卡耶塔诺的讲话全文,可以发现他和杜特尔特的态度远非那么激进。

Seen from the perspective of the countries within the South China Sea zone, the situation here remains stable, the differences receive control. But the exercise of American strength in the South China Sea begins to show an increasing frequency. This shows in America’s revoking the invitation of China to the RIMPAC exercises under the pretext of opposing China’s “militarization” of the South China Sea, and by two US Navy vessels dashing into the Paracel Islands’ twelve-nautical-miles zone and similar declarations that seem to foretell more active American provocations.

从南海域内国家的关系角度看,这里的局势继续保持平稳,分歧得到管控。但是美国在南海问题上的发力开始呈现增加之势,标志是美以反对中国在南海搞“军事化”为名取消对中国参加环太平洋军演的邀请,美海军两艘军舰一起闯西沙岛屿12海里以及相关表态似乎在预示美更活跃的挑衅。

The South China Sea’s serving as America’s strategic game point can’t be cooled down in the short term. In the future, its continuous heating up will probably occur with a rising frequency. China needs to prepare well psychologically and make tactical arrangements, with the goal of dealing with America in an orderly and methodical way in the South China Sea.

南海作为中美的战略博弈点很难在短时间内冷却下来,它在今后进一步升温看来是高概率趋势。中国必须对此做好充分的心理准备和策略安排,与美在南海有条不紊地长期周旋。

China needs, first of all, to stabilize relations with the claimant countries, especially Vietnam and the Philippines and so on, it needs to continue control of divisions with these countries, avoid the eruption of sharp conflict with any of these countries, [unable to read]. In this way, America’s and its overseas allies excuses for meddling can be greatly reduced, and it will help to let them understand that giving cause to quarrels and manufacturing tense situations are not welcomed.

中国首先需要稳定好与南海声索国,尤其是与越南、菲律宾等的关系,继续管控好同这些国家的分歧,争取不出现同某一个声索国的尖锐冲突,维系发展作为这一地区主题的局面。这样可以大幅减少美国及其南海域外盟友在这里开展干预行动的借口,也会让它们在南海通过搬弄是非制造紧张局势不受欢迎。

Secondly, China must maintain a bottomline concept, strengthen its ability to serve powerful responses, should extreme US intervention in the South China Sea occur. Apart from the deployment of defensive weaponry on the Spratly islands and reefs, China also needs to build a powerful deensive system that includess naval mobile forces and land-based ans air-borne forces, making sure that, if by any chance, the situation in the South China Sea heatens, we are able to meet the situation head-on and fight back at any level of challenge, and any deck of cards.

第二,中国必须保持底线思维,加强对美国一旦在南海采取极端干预进行强有力反制行动的实力建设。除了在南沙岛礁上部署防御性武器,中国还需构建包括海军移动力量和陆基、空基力量组成的强大威慑系统,确保在万一南海局势升级时我方能够迎头回击任何级别的挑战及摊牌。

Thirdly, with ample strength serving as a backup, China will confidently deal with routine military provocations from America, with the principle of each to their own. American declarations of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea don’t touch China; it goes without saying that navigation is free in South China Sea regular territorial waters, and the psychological pressure America can create with this method is decreasing, and its significance diluted. Time in the South China Sea is measured in Chinese and local time, not in American time.

第三,有充足的实力做后盾,中国要自信地与美国一般性军事挑衅耐心周旋,原则应当是它搞它的,我搞我的。美国在南海宣示航行自由奈何不了中国,南海正常水域的航行本来就是自由的,美方这样做所能施加的心理压力一直在递减,其意义不断被冲淡。南海上记录这个时代的钟表使用的一定是中国和当地时间,而决不会是美国时间。

Sovereignty issues concerning the islands and reefs in the South China sea, and maritime rights and interests, are also a testing point for China’s strategic-opportunity development. China must balance these two issues well, and maintain China’s territorial position, and also, it must avoid taking military measures to achieve this position.

南海存在岛礁主权和海洋权益之争,这里同时是中国发展战略机遇期的一个考验点。中国一定要做好这两个问题的平衡,即坚持中国的领土主张,也决不为实现这一主张采取军事手段。

To solve disputes through talks has long been our stable approach. China must strenghten communication with the claimant countries on the South China Sea sovereignty issue, shape mutual understanding, make all sides feel at ease, make regional countries’ development cooperation build on foundations of emerging and solidifying strategic mutual trust. To this end, it is important to implement the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, to build consensus on standards of negotiations.

通过谈判解决纷争早已是我们的稳定态度,中国要就此与南海主权声索国家加强沟通,形成默契,让各方都安心,使得域内国家的发展合作建立在不断形成并且巩固的战略互信基础之上,为此落实《南海各方行为宣言》,就南海行为准则谈判构建共识都非常重要。

Obviously, navigation in the South China Sea is free, but the South China Sea isn’t a place for countries outside the area to wave about and issue orders, and to show off their military strength. The South China Sea is an important international thoroughfare, but also China’s gate. This means that to China, it needs to be all the more unimpeded. China won’t allow any outisde power to build hostile screenwalls against it here, we have sufficient strength and resolve to persevere until they abandon their harmful attempts against us.

显而易见,南海航行是自由的,但南海不是域外国家指手画脚、耀武扬威的地方。南海是国际大通道,但它同时是中国的家门口,这意味着它对中国来说更必须是畅通的。中国不会允许任何域外力量在这里构建针对中国的敌对性屏障,我们有足够的实力和坚定的意志与任何那样的企图坚决博弈下去,直到它们放弃针对我们的不良企图。

Friday, March 16, 2018

OPCW: the Place to Investigate a Nerve Agent sample

One can only wish Sergei Skripal and his daughter a good and complete recovery. Skripal once helped a good cause, and suffered for it in the past. He deserves gratitude, and all former agents living under similar circumstances as he does (or did, until March 4), deserve protection. One thing is for sure: Russia’s political culture encourages lawlessness in the name of “patriotism” – suspicions as aired by Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson*) aren’t made up out of thin air. But a plausible narrative is still just a narrative, and even thick air is still only air.

In situations like these, anger and “highly likely” accusations are useless at best, and highly likely, they are damaging for all parties involved.

If Jan von Aken‘s comments in a Deutschlandfunk interview on Thursday are something to go by, there would be no need for the escalation that is under way – at least not yet. The established procedure would be to turn to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to get their assistance in clarifying any situation which may be considered ambiguous or which gives rise to a concern about the possible non-compliance of another State Party with the chemical weapons convention. In the Skripal case, Russia would have to answer to the OPCW’s executive committee “as soon as possible, but in any case not later than 10 days after the receipt of the request” to clarify.

What Theresa May said on Wednesday is anything but evidence:

Mr Speaker, on Monday I set out that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a Novichok: a military grade nerve agent developed by Russia. Based on this capability, combined with their record of conducting state sponsored assassinations – including against former intelligence officers whom they regard as legitimate targets – the UK Government concluded it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for this reckless and despicable act. And there were only two plausible explanations. Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country. Or conceivably, the Russian government could have lost control of a military-grade nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.

In a conflict, the two immediate parties are rarely the best candidates to sort things out – not, when there is a history of conflict, or when, as the Economist has put it, Britain’s relationship with Russia is poisoned already.

Britain’s ultimatum for an explanation from Moscow had been contemptuously ignored,

writes the Economist. That may be so. Many Russian citizens have their rights ignored, too. But on a day-to-day basis, few people in the West would care. And if I were a Russian, I would probably find the British ultimatum just as comtemptuous – no matter if pro-Putin, anti-Putin or either.

After a first round of escalations, London now seems to be doing the right thing: they have sent (or will send) a sample of the Novichok nerve agent to the OPCW. That looks like a promising first step. The OPCW should also take care of further procedures, if there should be a chance to come to real conclusions.

Van Aken believes that both the British prime minister and the Russian president may have an interest in the current escalation. But May’s chances to rise to the “challenge” don’t look great, and Putin is going to “win the elections” anyway.

Rather, both of them appear to have concluded that they must serve their constituencies with instant certainties.

____________

Note

*) “The message is clear: We will find you, we will catch you, we will kill you – and though we will deny it with lip-curling scorn, the world will know beyond doubt that Russia did it.”

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