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Taiwan prefers to remain on the fence with Japan, US

By Zhou Zhongfei (Global Times)

08:03, August 30, 2012

(Global Times/ Sun Ying)

Editor's Note:

The Diaoyu Islands dispute touches the nerves of many in China. Facing rising tensions with Japan, there is a growing clamor for national cohesion and cooperation across the Straits. However, it seems rather difficult for Taiwan authorities to accept this. How should we interpret Taiwan's position over the Diaoyu Islands? Is unifying all Chinese to defend sovereignty possible? Two scholars share their views with the Global Times.

In a recent interview with NHK, Japan's national broadcasting organization, Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou claimed that Taiwan had no intentions to join the mainland in the Diaoyu Island dispute against Japan.

Regarding Ma's expression, the Sankei Shimbun commented that Ma's open attitude not to cooperate with the mainland was due to him cherishing relations with Japan and seeking to maintain a balance over the issue. While US scholar Richard Bush recently said that Taiwan has restrained itself over the sovereignty issue and emphasized a peaceful solution to territorial disputes, Taiwan has largely behaved as the US wished it to.

The Diaoyu Islands belong to the Ilan county of Taiwan, and the importance of cooperation across the Straits to safeguard the sovereignty of Diaoyu is evident. However, the situation is not promising. Ma has many other choices such as keeping silent on the Diaoyu dispute. But why did he choose to publicize the fact that Taiwan won't cooperate with the mainland over Diaoyu?

In the past, the Kuomintang stuck to the stand that maintaining territorial sovereignty and anti-Taiwan independence were inseparable. This has now changed. After the Kuomintang retook power in 2008, it redefined Taiwan's future as being in Taiwanese hands, replacing the former claims: unity, independence, and maintaining the status quo. Some argue that there is only a fine line between the current Kuomintang stand and what the Democratic Progress Party advocates: That Taiwan's future could only be decided at the ballot box.

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