DiplomaticTruce-

2020-08-13

DiplomaticTruce?

<>One sensible policy President Ma Ing-jeou has ever laid down is diplomatic truce between Taiwan and China.It aims at ending the one-upmanship in bidding for expansion of each other’s diplomatic club.Taipei now has only 23 diplomatic allies, against Beijing’s more than 140. The policy is sensible because the cash-starved Taiwan cannot afford to ante up to keep them or to acquire more, while the People’s Republic has more than it wants to have.

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<>And that policy seems working so far. Beijing has refrained from bribing Panama, Paraguay and El Salvador.Probably wishing to rejoice in his lasting diplomatic truce, President Ma is planning to visit San Salvador and Panama City shortly.

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<>He is scheduled to leave Taipei on May 29 on a six-day state visit to El Salvador, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.On June 1, he will attend the inauguration of Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, who said before his election he would switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.Ma will go to El Salvador and back to Taipei on June 6 via the United States, which the Waichiaopu toots as a diplomatic breakthrough.President Ma will leave again for Panama City in July for a similar state visit.

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<>Both state visits are absolutely unnecessary, however.They are not just a waste of money to give Ma added presidential trappings but may prove detrimental to the diplomatic truce he is so eager to have in place across the Taiwan Strait.

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<>The most important purpose of Ma’s visits to the two Central American countries is to reassure them of Taiwan’s economic assistance or pledge a little more of it which they wish to acquire. The promise can be made by a proxy just as well. Taiwan has ambassadors in San Salvador and Panama City who can make the promise or the pledge.

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<>On the other hand, neither the promise nor the pledge can stop either of the countries to defect to China, if Beijing decides to buy them.President Hu Jintao has all the money at his easy disposal to get both of them to cut off diplomatic relations with Taiwan before you can say Jack Robinson.As a matter of fact, he can do the same to reduce Taipei’s diplomatic club membership to all but zero.The Vatican cannot be bought, but Hu may acquiesce to Pope Benedict’s pontifical right to appoint Catholic bishops in China to set up diplomatic ties with the Holy See.

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<>Ma’s diplomatic truce works only if President Hu agrees.But Hu does not like Ma showing off his presidential trappings in a couple of countries which recognize Taiwan as the sovereign Republic of China.The more state visits Ma makes the more likely Hu may want to end their diplomatic honeymoon.

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<>What President Ma should do now is to stay in Taipei to do what he can to get Taiwan to cope better with the global financial crisis.

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