24 July, 2005

chen maneuvers on apec

eTaiwanNews reports Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has offered meet China’s Hu Jintao at the APEC meeting in Busan this November, a move that may meet resistance from the PRC. While Taiwan obtained APEC membership in 1991, China has always pressured Taiwanese presidents to send an envoy rather than represent their nation themselves.

However, recent events, including pressure from America, have given Chen more confidence in his cross-strait diplomacy.  He sees this as a chance to put Hu on the spot to meet with him.  While it might be ideal if the meeting occurred, the Taipei Times editorial board surmises that a snub from China could meet Chen’s ends as well:

The other two possible outcomes both involve a slap in the face for Chen, if he is as determined as he seemed to be yesterday. But perhaps this is his strategy. Given the overwhelming stupidity of the current China fever among Taiwanese — some of whom would sell their birthright to export a container of mangoes — Taiwanese need to be reminded that China is not their friend. It could well be that Chen is setting himself up for a humiliation, to stage a little morality play in the most brightly lit arena available.

Not only has China taken steps to isolate Taiwan, it has recently been courting the opposition KMT, seeking to cast Chen as a radical who would upset the tense peace in the strait.  It seems that Chen would like to use APEC to strike back.

by @ 11:53 am. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

showdown in freedom park

Pro4 Pro-North Korean demonstrators first set their sites on tearing down the statue to General Douglas MacArthur located in Jayu (Freedoom) Park in Inchon, South Korea last December.  The statue over looks the harbor where General MacArthur and his soldiers made their famous Inchon Landing in September 1950 in a surprise attack that changed the course of the Korean War.  Now the protesters are back demanding the statue be pulled down:

"The statue is part of our humiliating history," said Kim Su-Nam, a 65-year-old activist wearing a yellow jacket inscribed with anti-US slogans.

"By dismantling the statue, we want to stoke an anti-US movement aimed at expelling US troops from the peninsula," Kim said.

Using a loudspeaker, he rebuked the pro-US demonstrators as "followers of the US colonial master".

However, this time the citizens of Inchon have rallied to protect their historical statue:

"We will never forget what he did for us. He is a hero who stopped the communization of the Korean peninsula," said Lee Jin-Ho, a 74-year-old veteran who fought alongside US soldiers during the war.

But forget is exactly what some South Koreans want to do.

After laying a wreath at the memorial, Lee joined hundreds of other pro-US demonstrators, including war veterans in their 60s and 70s, who gathered in the park on Sunday to block about 50 anti-US activists intent on pulling down the statue.

The pro-American demonstrators easily out numbered the pro-North Korean group and provided many money quotes like this one:

"Instead of quibbling, they should pay attention to North Korea’s human rights situation and the dictatorship of its Kim Jong-Il regime," Lee Phil-Han, a 56-year-old businessman in Incheon, said.

"We owe a lot to the United States which played a key role in our economic development. My notion is being supported by a silent majority of South Koreans."

The best quote  comes from former South Korean U.N. Ambassador Park Keun: 

"Not even dogs forget their benefactors."

Now if only the rest of the silent majority would speak up, maybe these idiot pro-North Korean groups would finally shut up and go away.

Pro2 Pro1

by @ 7:38 am. Filed under South Korea

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