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June 23, 2017

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Pan-green camp pettiness comes out over NPM row

In response to the recent controversy between the National Palace Museum and Tokyo National Museum, several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers blasted the administration, saying that its actions were putting Taiwan-Japan ties in jeopardy. The accusations of these lawmakers reveal a very peculiar train of thought in what is hopefully representative of only a small portion of the pan-green camp.

The pan-green camp has always been quick to criticize the government of either not doing enough to protect the nation's dignity or "belittling" national sovereignty. And yet when it comes to Japan, things are apparently different.

The controversy between the National Palace Museum and the Tokyo National Museum stems from the fact that the latter failed to abide by its contractual obligations to ensure that the National Palace Museum's formal and full title would be properly referenced in all promotional materials for a planned exhibition of its artifacts on loan in Tokyo. Posters in the Japanese capital were discovered carrying the name "Taipei Palace Museum" instead. The omission of the word "national" in the title implies that either the museum is a private institution or that the R.O.C. is not a nation. Incidentally, some sectors of the pan-green camp have openly said that the R.O.C. is not a nation, and that Taiwan is actually U.S. territory.

When it realized the posters were misprinted, the National Palace Museum notified the Tokyo National Museum that it would not give the green light to the exhibition until contractual obligations were fulfilled. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a protest with Tokyo, and the first lady decided to postpone her visit to Japan for the exhibition's opening ceremony.

Instead of lending their support to the administration over what is obviously a justified attempt at making things right, DPP lawmakers accused the government of destroying Taiwan-Japan ties.

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