Lee Teng-hui: Tiaoyutai, or Senkaku?

Lee Teng-hui: Tiaoyutai, or Senkaku?
Bevin Chu
September 07, 1996

The China News
Letters Editor

Dear Sir/Madam,

Some trusting souls in Taiwan are patiently awaiting R.O.C. President Lee Teng-hui to take decisive action against the naked Japanese bullying of Taiwanese fishermen attempting to lawfully fish in Chinese territorial waters.

They must have been on vacation last summer when Lee held his now infamous interview with the late Japanese journalist Ryotaro Shiba. Lee brusquely ordered his entire staff out of the room, even the secret service detail entrusted with his personal safety, so he could indulge in a nostalgic lovefest with his long lost compatriot. Lee, in a confessional mood, revealed that he had “thought of himself as Japanese” and reminisced how heartbroken he was upon learning that Japan, having lost its savage war of aggression against China and America, was restoring Taiwan (of which Tiaoyutai is a part) to China.

Does the term “Stockholm Syndrome” ring a bell? No? How about “Quisling”? Does anyone care to bet that Lee, who to this day speaks better Japanese than Chinese, thinks of the Chinese island by its Japanese name “Senkaku” rather than by its Chinese name “Tiaoyutai”?

Compare Lee’s theatrical show of bravado in response to Beijing’s missile tests with his reaction, or more accurately, non-reaction, to repeated blatant Japanese gunboat intimidation. Not a peep. Not a whimper.

To anyone who genuinely imagines that Lee Teng-hui would dare give offense to his beloved Japanese colonial masters and defend the territorial integrity of the nation to which he is President and Commander in Chief, my advice is “Don’t hold your breath.”


Bevin Chu
Taipei, Taiwan, China


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