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I applaud you in this "pre-emptive" letter writing to the U.S. media.

A couple of points I want to add (which I've made before elsewhere):

- The 2004 voided referendum was not only an example of the KMT disdain for the security of the Taiwanese people -- it was also a blatant example of the KMT's disregard for democracy. The KMT, afterall, demanded that there should be 2 ballot boxes during that election. Anonymity was breached during that referendum as a result -- noted by at least one major international democratic rights organization.

And wrt the Hitler/Chen effigy used prominently in 2 pan-blue rallies -- I think Mr. Russert should point to the fact that one of Chiang Kai-shek's sons was actually in the Nazi military himself. Oh! The irony that is the KMT!

It amazes me if you really think this is going to work. Here's some problems I see:

1. Ma is not coming to U.S. for an interview. He is a guest of the State department.

2. Telling the U.S. government official on how to conduct the meeting? May be you are just trying to be facetious. But I don't see the point.

3. The suggestions have to much overtone of Taiwanese domestic politics and one-sided opinion on Ma and KMT. I don't think it is wise to bring your own partisan issue to foreign government. I am not saying KMT are saints here. I won't spend any time watching KMT's supporter complaining to the U.S. about the result of the presidential election either. It sounds like Taiwan is the puppet state of the U.S.

4. It's unrealistic to think that U.S. will fight for Taiwan. Most people agree that current U.S. foreign policy on Taiwan is to keep the status quo. Not an independent Taiwan, nor an united China. It's good for the U.S. national interest. Don't let your ideology blinds you from seeing the reality. It's one thing that the U.S.
likes to present herself as the defender of democracy. It another thing when it comes to fighting for it. What has U.S. done to the North Korea? Nothing. Because they have nuclear arms. Why are they tough on Iraq and Iran? Because they don't have the nuclear arms yet and Bush's people think they can take care of them easily. They are wrong on Iraq and they are more cautious with Iran now. And you believe U.S. will fight a possible nuclear war with China over Taiwan? The whole idea behind the arms bill is U.S. saying don't count on them if we don't arm our-self. But they never say you can count on them if you buy arms from them. See how tricky it is? U.S. sell arms to Taiwan to make some good money, not commitment to friendship as some of us like to think. Don't get romantic about it. If the U.S. are really such a faithful friend, why aren't they happy about Taiwan buying arms from other countries? After all, U.S. is number one arms dealer in the world. However, they also need to be careful not to upset China. Traditionally, the U.S. foreign policy is always try to strike a fine balance between satisfying the military-industrial complex, global balance of power and national security. For the U.S., war is usually the last choice because it is usually the most costly in terms of human lives as well as financially, let alone politically.

The arms bill is very partisan issue. DPP is not that innocent either. Under KMT's ruling, the defense budget is above 3% of the GDP. It fell below 3% under DPP. I can almost guarantee you that DPP will block the bill if KMT gets the power. Just ask A-Bien. He tried to block the defense budget when he was the legislator.

5. Ma never said he trust China more than A-Bien. This is not true and reduce the credibility of your letter.

6. KMT doesn't have the majority in the national assembly. They have to work with PFP and you know PFP hates A-Bien and his big mouth. A-Bien blew this one.

These are just some of my two-cents. In summary, I think we can get more support if we stick to the issue with facts and discuss it rationally. Taiwanese are tired of partisan politics.

Let me just address your points one at a time:

1. The English media in Taiwan didn't provide us with an itinerary of Ma's stops, so I had no idea when I wrote the post whether reporters would interview him or not. He DID attend Q&A sessions with the press though, so I consider that close enough.

2. It's a pretty standard literary device among American newspaper columnists to write open letters like this outlining their questions for politicians. Sometimes their peers will ask the questions given in such letters, sometimes not.

I figure, now that I have my own blog, why should I let Bill Safire of the New York Times have all the fun?

3. I would characterize my questions as "tough" not "partisan". Of course, if politicians expect to be asked inane softballs all the time then they're going to object to hardballs. I could ask a nice "non-partisan" question like how many hours Ma thinks a person should go jogging a week if I wanted to, but it wouldn't really deal with the important issues facing the country. Not wanting Taiwan to be handed over to the Communists is not a partisan question. Or at least, it shouldn't be.

If Ma goes to America to defend his party's inaction on the special arms bill, then he SHOULD be asked tough questions. In a free society, that's what reporters are SUPPOSED to do. I've read that Taiwanese reporters asked the San Francisco mayor the cosmically important question of whether he thought Ma was handsome or not.

If I were editor of their newsroom, I would fire those reporters once they got home for professional incompetence.

4. Do I believe that the US will fight a possible nuclear war over China?

Allow me to reverse the question. Do you believe that China will fight a possible nuclear war over Taiwan?

Or, to put it another way, what makes you think that Chinese are lions, and Americans are cowards?

You also asked, "If the U.S. are really such a faithful friend, why aren't they happy about Taiwan buying arms from other countries?"

Actually, the problem now is that other countries are afraid to sell Taiwan weapons due to CHINESE, not American, pressure. The Chinese are the bad guys here, not the Americans.

I've addressed the question about America making "good money" selling Taiwan weapons previously, but I'll do it again. If selling weapons to Taiwan is so lucrative, why isn't everybody doing it?

The answer is Chinese pressure. Maybe the money isn't quite as good as you think it is.

I'm afraid I can't comment on your claim that Chen blocked defense bills as a legislator. I would need to know more about the particular circumstances involved.

I'm glad that you recognize the KMT's behavior in this case is partisan, though. I think it's very telling that you imply that the KMT will favor this bill should they regain the presidency. If that day comes, I'll skewer them for previously serving their own selfish interests instead of their country's. And if the DPP then blocks it without offering an alternative, I'll skewer them for exactly the same reason.

5. I never said that Ma trusted China more than Chen. I said Ma should be ASKED which one he trusts more.

(Still, if the shoe fits, wear it. Compare how many street demonstrations the KMT has conducted against Chen with the number they've had denouncing China. It's not an easy comparison to make, because I can't recall a SINGLE instance in which the KMT has EVER demontrated against China.)

The China Post (a KMT newspaper) recently praised Ma for his "neutral stance" between Chen and China. But Ma isn't a disinterested party in all of this. If Chinese missiles start flying, he's going to have to choose one side or the other.

6. "The KMT has to work with the PFP, and the PFP hates Chen."

Does the KMT really HAVE TO work with the PFP? Is there a law preventing them from working with the DPP to get the bill to the floor?

I don't imagine there is. However, we won't see the KMT cooperate with the DPP for the sake of Taiwanese national security. How much better it is for them to ally with the PFP and then blame Soong for their own intransigence.

Finally, I'd like to deal with the subject of rational discussion. If a political party wants their country to capitulate to the Communists, then blocking the arms bill is a completely RATIONAL means of accomplishing that goal. And tough questions asked about that are not irrational.

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