So what did Ma Ying-Jeou say?

Background see e.g., "Despite his clarification and similar statements by other officials, some commentators insisted that the AP report showed Ma's intention to start political negotiations with Beijing if he wins re-election." - Focus Taiwan

The full excerpt is now published (or here). This is what Ma actually said,
  • AP: So, do I understand you correctly that, if economic issues are
    resolved during your second term, during that term, you might move on
    to political questions?
    President Ma: As I said, it depends on how fast we move, whether these
    issues are satisfactorily resolved, and of course all the policies regarding
    the mainland are very sensitive, and we certainly will also make decisions
    on generally whether the decision receives popular support. So usually
    when we lay out our general policy, we will say that: first of all, it has to
    be something needed by the country; secondly, it has to be supported by
    the people; and thirdly, that it will be supervised by the national
    parliament to make sure that this is a policy basically meeting the needs
    of the people
This is what AP reported
  • In between the poles of union and separation, Ma said his government is prepared to discuss political agreements, including security issues, as soon as the priority economic issues are dealt with. He suggested that those political talks could start as early as a second four-year term if he wins re-election in 2012.
  • "We are not intentionally delaying the talks on political issues. Certainly the economic ones are more important to people here. People also support the idea (of) economy first, politics later," said Ma. Asked if he would move to political talks in a second term once economic issues are dealt with, Ma said "it depends on how fast we move." Political issues, he said, "will come after all the major economic issues are resolved."
Regarding the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, The AP reporter Hutzler has such a loaded question
  • [45:20]
    AP: Now, since you touched on the natural resources, the U.S. has voiced
    some concerns that, you know, there’s the Diaoyutai and then there’s the
    larger issue of the free passage of shipping through the South and East
    China seas and access to natural gas deposits or whatever might be down
    there on the ocean floor. And the U.S. has voiced concerns that the
    mainland is really trying to cut off access to foreign trade in that area,
    which would have, obviously, a poor effect on Taiwan, which really owes
    its existence to free access to those shipping lanes
    . So, do you share the
    concerns of the United States?
    President Ma: Certainly. I think most of the waters in the South China
    Sea should be open waters, the so-called high seas according to the Law
    of the Sea.
    And they’re open to international traffic for sure. Actually, as I
    said, countries started to occupy and garrison those islands a long time
    ago. So this is not a very new issue. We sent our troops, our Marine Corps,
    to station on those islands as early as 1956. Just 10 years ago, we changed
    that with Coast Guard instead of the Marines. I served in our Navy more
    than 30 years ago, and my unit had the responsibility to supply all these
    islands. So I understand this issue well.
    AP: So is China trying to interfere with the open water policy?
    President Ma: No. So far no. And I don’t think mainland China would do
    You know, when they are becoming a power in the region, they also
    become more careful about those issues. Certainly, it wants to maintain
    its sphere of influence but I don’t believe that will reach the level of
    interfering with international traffic
    AP: They often raise objections to the passage of U.S. military ships
    through the South China Sea and they have, at times, taken measures to
    block those ships from passing through
    . The argument that some people
    in the mainland make is that free passage does not extend to military
    , that that can be considered to be preparing the battlefield for the
    future. Does your government believe that these types of military
    surveillance activities are normal and should be allowed?
    President Ma: Well, certainly all the activities on the oceans, particularly
    in international waters, are regulated by the United Nations Convention
    on the Law of the Sea of 1982, which came into effect in 1994. It’s very
    important to note that there are rules of conduct. For instance, a warship
    is not supposed to sail through the territorial waters of other countries, but
    if the waters are too narrow in an international strait, then they certainly
    have to do certain things to make sure that it’s an innocent passage. There
    are rules. I think that each country should follow the rules.
No, Mr Hutzler , China did not object to free passage of international ships in the seas in question, not even US gunboats. China objects to US spy ships snooping some 20 miles by its mainland and main islands only, so far. This is what China's MoFA said regarding the "spy ship harassment" incident
  • "China has lodged a solemn representation to the United States as the USNS Impeccable conducted activities in China's special economic zone in the South China Sea without China's permission," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular news briefing. 
  • "We demand that the United States put an immediate stop to related activities and take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening," Ma said.
Passage is not, and has never been, China's complaint. Especially, if it is passing in the open sea far away from its naval bases.China complained about the "activities", not the "passage".

Mr Hutzler, you need to do your homework before an interview, and you need to go back to school to study how to write a report.


Anonymous said...

Apparently, the Impeccable was towing a sonar array specifically to capture the accoustic signatures of any Chinese attack submarines that happened to be passing by. If this isn't a hostile act, I don't know what would be.

If the Chinese had done the same thing off San Diego, it would have caused a major incident.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..."If the Chinese had done the same thing off San Diego, it would have caused a major incident."

Are you sure about that? I mean the Soviet Union did things like this for 40 years, sure the US did it too. Some people seem to think history starts and stops with everything Chinese.

anonymous II

Anonymous said...

When did the Soviet do this? Any reference?

Anonymous III

Michael Turton said...

The huha over the AP report was not started by AP, but by a CNA report of the AP report, which was originally headlined something like "Ma says political talks in the second term". AP's reporting was dead on target, of course.

As for the spying by the Impeccable, that is legal and normal -- the US and Sovs did it to each other, and the Russians still buzz US carriers from time to time. China is behaving like a declasse nouveau riche who has no idea what table manners are. BTW which nation maintains the largest fleet of electronics intelligence ships in the far east? That would be China.

Anonymous said...

Again, Michael Turton needs to provide proof for his dubious claims, that Soviet spy boats cruised 20 km off San Diego coast. Without credulous links this is just a groundless claim.

Manner and etiquette means you don't stalk in front of the front yard of others.

Anyway, the point is that US is complaining about freedom of passage. But freedom of passage has nothing to do with parking right next to your front yard. There are plenty of sea lanes in South China Sea China would not care and cannot control, as Ma correctly pointed out.

Anonymous III above

Sun Bin said...

I guess the lesson is we all need to keep our own recording for interview with reporters, any reporter, even if they agree to let you preview the draft. Even for the same language and same word, interpretation could be different.

For Taiwan this is such a sensitive issue, AP should simply reply to GIO that they have no objection to publishing the recording, rather than first refusing and then commented after the content was released. Unless, it is betting on Ma has something to hide about other parts of the content.