Taiwan’s Irritation Policy

Make neighbors less likely to help should China invade

Michael Turton , June 9, 2015 8:46am

I’ve often remarked on this blog that one of the Ma Administration’s policies is to put forth issues that will keep relations with neighboring countries and the US irritated, in order to reduce their willingness to intervene on behalf of Taiwan against China and to make Taiwanese feel isolated and resigned to becoming annexed to China. Note the obsessive focus on China, Japan, and the US — and the total neglect of Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia (a hearty dose of Han chauvinism is also a driver). The fishing disputes with Phils may cool, says an article in Forbes. Don’t worry, they can always be revived… or something else stoked up.

For Japan, the usual irritant is the Senkakus, but another issue is the Comfort Women issue, which Ma has stoked several times. Ma announced last week that a new Comfort Women museum would open in December in Taipei:

Ma has shown strong interest in the comfort women issue, saying that the system of wartime prostitution was an abuse of human rights and a serious war crime.

Four Taiwanese victims of the Japanese system are alive, with their average age exceeding 90, according to a supporter group.

In July last year, Ma unveiled an idea of setting up museums on China’s war against Japan and the comfort women in 2015.

Fortunately, Taiwanese are completely indifferent to Ma’s attempts to get them to hate on Japanese as stereotypical Chinese are supposed to.

Note that 200,000 Taiwanese served in the Japanese armed forces during the war, including thousands of aborigines. There is little official recognition of that in Taiwan. That generation is also nearly gone. It’s high time they got a museum since they, like the Comfort Women, like everyone who fought and suffered in WII on both sides, were victims of imperial expansion and aggression.

Michael Turton

A long time expat in Taiwan.