HowseriousisGouaboutTiaoyutai-

  2020-08-15  阅读 510 views 次 点赞数521

<>Terry Gou, president of the Hon Hai Precision IndustryCompany, said at a general shareholders' meeting in Taipei last Monday that he would like to purchase Tiaoyutai, which the Japanese call Uotsuri-jima of their Senkaku Islands, to facilitate the joint development of its undersea oil reserves. Hon Hai is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturing service with factories overseas, mostly in mainland China, where it employs 800,000 people, and which is its largest exporter. Gou's personal assets are estimated at US$5.69 billion, rated numerous times by Forbes as Taiwan's richest man. He alone certainly is capable of buying Tiaoyutai — which means “fishing platform.” Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo, is currently trying to raise enough contributions to buy the island and two other smaller islets of the Senkakus, a translation of the Pinnacles Islands the Royal Navy of Great Britain put on its charts toward the end of the nineteenth century.

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<>But nobody is sure if Gou is serious about the purchase of the uninhabited island, while Ishihara has made it clear that he would buy it to defend against a takeover by the People's Republic of China, which along with Taiwan and Japan claims sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais, or Senkaku Islands. Ishihara went to Washington a couple of months ago to broach his plan to buy Uotsuri-jima and two other islets of the Senkakus at a forum sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. He said he is close to reaching an agreement with the private Japanese owner of the three isles and the sale would be completed by the end of this year at the latest. Why should Tokyo buy the islands? It's because the Japanese government can't prevent China from taking them over, according to a jingoist Ishihara. “Tokyo has decided to buy the Senkaku Islands. Tokyo will protect the Senkakus,” he stressed, adding: “The Japanese are acquiring the islands to protect our own territory. Would anyone have a problem with that?”

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<>Well, Taiwan has a problem with it; so has the People's Republic of China. As far as the claim is concerned, that of Japan's is the hardest to justify, albeit Tokyo insists that its sovereignty over the Sankakus is indisputable. The only grounds for the claim is the American authorization of its administration of the islets given that Washington extends coverage of the U.S.-Japan Security Agreement to the Senkakus. Nevertheless, the United States has made it clear it takes no position on the sovereignty issue between Japan on the one hand and China and Taiwan on the other. So far Ishihara has raised more than 900 million yen from across Japan for the purchase.

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<>One day after Gou expressed his desire to buy Tiaoyutai, whose pinyin spelling is Diaoyutai, Hon Hai issued an explanation about its president's remarks at the shareholders' meeting. It said Gou made his remarks in response to questions a Japanese correspondent in Taipei asked. According to the statement, Taiwan's tycoon “suggested that China, Japan, and Taiwan work closely together to create a future. His suggestion is offered from the perspective of an entrepreneur in line with the principle of 'shelving the dispute to jointly develop' in the hope that the three parties to the dispute will be able to replace an international confrontation with the pursuit of common interests.” To sum up, Gou's purpose is to create a win-win-win situation for the three parties by cooperation in the development of undersea oil reserve within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of Tiaoyutai, which is nearer to Taiwan than to Tokyo, whose governor Ishihara wants to defend it against China.

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<>If Gou is serious about the purchase of Tiaoyutai and the two smaller islets Ishihara plans to buy, it is easy for him to do so. All he has to do is to ask the township of Toucheng in Yilan County, which has jurisdiction over the islets, to sell them to Hon Hai for tapping the oil reserves under their exclusive economic zone. Of course, the National Land Asset Administration of the Ministry of Finance has to approve the deal, but there can be no problem whatsoever with Hon Hai's purchase, just like Ishihara's now that the Japanese government has agreed to help the governor of Tokyo. As a matter of fact, Gou's counteroffer should be encouraged.

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<>Taiwan's stance on the eight Tiaoyutais is clear. It wants to have a modus vivendi of shelving the dispute over sovereignty for a compromise to develop the undersea resources of the small archipelago. Taipei hopes to talk with Tokyo and Beijing to reach a settlement on the sovereignty dispute among all three claimants, but Japan does not want any dialogue while China has yet to make clear its Diaoyutai policy except by chanting the mantra of its sovereignty over the islets and sending government vessels to keep an eye on how Chinese fishermen are operating there.

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<>It is the political impasse that the ultra-nationalist Ishihara is attempting to break in a last-ditch fight for continuing his fading political career by proposing to buy the Senkaku islands to defend them against the People's Republic. Gou's offer is a tit for a tat against Ishihara's jingoistic strategy.

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<>What Ishihara is doing is a one-man shadow boxing. He will be forced to find a sparring partner in Taiwan's business tycoon, who, incidentally, may truly wish to plough a billion or two dollars of his own money into a new business venture to tap the oil reserves around Tiaoyutai to help ward off a trilateral confrontation and make the three sides win. Don't forget Gou is a great entrepreneur. He started his Hon Hai multinational conglomerate from scratch and knows the time has come to explore in earnest for oil in an area which he says is much nearer to Taipei than Tokyo or even Beijing. He has to get China involved, simply because he has too much of a business stake there to leave the People's Republic out of the deal.

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<>The state of affairs concerning the Tiaoyutai, Diaoyutai or Senkaku archipelago is in flux. Should the Japanese government approve Ishihara's purchase, Gou will be encouraged to buy Tiaoyutai to create a new issue which would have to be addressed at once. If Japan decides against coming to the negotiating table, Ishihara has to be denied the purchase of Uotsuri-jima and the two smaller islets of Kita-kojima and Minami-kojima.

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<>〈本文仅供参考,不代表本会立场〉

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