Tsai calls Ma's handling of Tiaoyutai row unpresidential
The China Post news staff
September 8, 2012, 12:03 am TWN
The China Post news staff--Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou has not handled the Tiaoyutai Islands dispute in a manner befitting the office of the president.
Ma yesterday made his first-ever visit to Taiwan-controlled Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼), which is near the disputed Tiaoyutais. On Pengjia, Ma said he hopes the Tiaoyutais conflict can be resolved peacefully through Taiwan's East China Sea Peace Initiative. Ma told reporters that he has no immediate plans to visit the Tiaoyutais.
The former DPP head and presidential candidate was critical of Ma's declarations on the islet yesterday.
The head of state's main responsibility is safeguarding the nation's defense and sovereignty, but Ma has failed to assert adamantly and clearly that Taiwan — and not China — has sovereign claims over the Tiaoyutais, she said.
"We have yet to see the demeanor and stature appropriate to a president defending his nation's sovereignty," Tsai said on the campaign trail for the DPP's Lin Hsi-chung (林錫忠), who is running for Jiaoxi Township chief in today's three-way by-election.
Tsai said that the president should display a firm determination, clear attitude and diplomatic tactics.
Meanwhile, the DPP legislative caucus held a press event yesterday that also panned Ma's inspection tour of the Pengjia Islet.
NT$40-50 Million Trip: DPP
Ma's trip to Pengjia is costing taxpayers some NT$40-50 million, according to the caucus.
DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said yesterday that the islet tour is an expensive "political show" put on to distract the Taiwanese public from the economic downturn and the ruling administration's incompetence.
Ma "has not asked and has not cared" about Taiwan's fisheries industry for most of his tenure, according to Cheng.
Cheng said that former President Lee Teng-hui's administration held five rounds of talks with Japan over the region's fishery resources. The DPP administration held 13.
Ma has held just one so far, and has largely remained indifferent to the industry, to their place in the economy and to Taiwan fishermen's livelihood, she said.
Going to the islet now is "just an act of self-consolation," she said.
Ma yesterday was on Pengjia Islet, the part of Taiwan closest to the disputed Tiaoyutais. The Tiaoyutais are currently administered by Japan but are also claimed by Taiwan and mainland China.