時論廣場》這樣的外交成績單能換取選票?(方恩格 Ross Darrell Feingold)

時論廣場》這樣的外交成績單能換取選票?(方恩格 Ross Darrell Feingold)
四葉 小說

總統府提供

10月、11月,臺灣緊鑼密鼓地進行了一連串的外交活動。相較之下,11月26日即將登場的地方選舉勢頭卻是望塵莫及。

看似很熱鬧,史瓦帝尼、諾魯、帛琉、聖克里斯多福等友邦國家元首來臺造訪蔡總統,而賴清德副總統也親自去了一趟帛琉。很明顯,與其在造勢場合幫忙拉票,民進黨高層似乎更是重視拚外交。

英國國貿部國務大臣韓斯來臺促進雙邊貿易談判;立陶宛在臺北開設了貿易辦事處;美國也與臺灣舉行了「21世紀貿易倡議」的首度面談。另外也有加拿大、德國、印度、日本、烏克蘭,以及美國等國會議員團造訪臺灣。此外,臺灣也主辦了好幾個國際會議,像是包括玉山論壇、世界民主運動全球大會、中共權力變遷及治理趨勢國際研討會、奧斯陸自由論壇、臺美日國會議員戰略論壇等。

這一連串看似來勢洶洶的外交活動,讓民進黨得以宣傳自己交出了優異的外交成績單,進而拉擡他們在地方選舉的士氣。但在筆者看來,很可惜這一連串外交活動是重量不重質。

就來臺的層級而言,英國國務大臣(類似於臺灣副部長)訪臺早有先例。如2015年送柯文哲一隻精美懷錶卻被稱爲破銅爛鐵的英國交通部國務大臣也來過臺灣。關於英國,更值得臺灣所費心的,應該是前首相強森原本希望能在印太地區增加英國軍事參與度的企圖,很可能會被新任首相蘇納克出於預算考量而停止進展。蘇納克最近表態:英國「不排除對臺灣輸送武器的可能性」,但這與「確實向臺灣出售武器」是兩碼事。另一方面,臺灣的新聞也報導了最近英國拒絕發出給臺灣國安局在元首維安狙擊槍採購案的兩支步槍出口許可證,英國不給臺灣這兩支步槍,臺灣只好轉向美國購買。

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另外放眼最近在臺北舉行了各式各樣「會議」、「對話」、「論壇」,對臺灣政府來說看似可以替外交成績單加分,很可惜幾乎沒有引起什麼特別的外國媒體關注。玉山論壇來賓前澳洲外交部長畢紹普、前紐西蘭副總理彼特斯、前泰國副總理邦特和世界民主運動全球大會來賓諾貝爾和平獎得主瑞薩,都常針對現任者吐槽。邀請他們來臺灣不一定會替臺灣在外交上加什麼分。而原本萬衆矚目的人權倡議籃球員坎特原訂來臺參加奧斯陸自由論壇,但後來並沒有現身。

臺灣議題或許在美國和日本較能受到當地官員的重視,但東協國家則大多都會保持距離。如新加坡現任國務資政兼國家安全統籌部長張志賢以及新加坡副總理(未來的總理接班人)黃循財最近發表的聲明中,特別說出他們認爲臺灣的情況與他們支持烏克蘭的主權無法並論,他們更是重申新加坡會持續在美中爭端之間保持中立態度。前馬來西亞首相馬哈迪也批評美國衆議院議長裴洛西訪臺一事造成了臺海衝突升溫,更稱之爲「挑釁的舉動」。

而過去這兩個月,臺灣國際場合,如國際刑警組織大會(儘管東道主國印度曾聲明希望與臺灣建立更密切的雙邊關係,但似乎對臺灣爲受邀保持緘默),白宮主辦的第二屆反勒索軟體倡議、聯合國第27屆氣候峰會 (COP 27)、金邊東亞峰會和在峇里島舉行的G20會議,臺灣都被拒爲門外。 11月17日,美國前總統歐巴馬舉辦了民主論壇,臺灣亦未受邀,而外交部只能說「我國與美國各NGO及專業機構都保持友好連繫,若有具體結果,相關單位會適時說明」。臺灣政府只好在這些國際場合之間想辦法發聲,像是在會議進行的會場旁邊另開一個「場邊會議」來爲自己爭一口氣。也有不少臺灣的官員向海外媒體投書,高喊讓臺灣加入、自我宣傳臺灣的相關價值,但很遺憾都於事無補。

好事多磨的「立陶宛駐臺北辦事處」在相對應的「駐立陶宛臺灣代表處」設立後一年才得以開設,但不久前立陶宛官方媒體以負面口吻指出臺灣遲遲未兌現對立陶宛所承諾的2億美元投資計劃,於是臺灣政府又立刻宣佈了對於立陶宛科技公司投下了首筆的小型投資案。

「臺美21世紀貿易倡議」與其說是臺美互惠的討論,更不如說是美國對臺灣所提出的單向倡議,對比2020年的「經濟繁榮夥伴對話」,「臺美21世紀貿易倡議進行」可說是換了個新名字重新上陣,內容了無新意,更別說達成什麼突破性的發展。

放眼歐洲,歐盟近期開始緩頰對中關係。德國總理蕭茲訪問了中國;歐盟外交與安全政策高級代表波瑞爾則是在一場公開談話中暗指「某人的一趟個人旅行導致臺海局勢更加緊張」,後來臺灣外交部十分罕見地反駁並譴責了他的說法。

這次的美國期中選舉,多數親臺灣的國會議員都繼續連任。然而在這之中,長期對臺友好的俄亥俄州共和黨議員夏波以及對臺灣問題直言不諱的維吉尼亞州民主黨議員路里亞卻都落馬未當選。而在習近平與拜登會晤之後,拜登總統強調美國反對任何一方改變現狀,這也是同時要提醒臺灣政府,拜登並未收回對臺灣所下達的「臨時限制令」。

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筆者多次強調,臺灣在外交政策上所設定的目標必須要更實際,如果一方面希望在國際間被視爲一個正常國家來對待,一方面又希望在國際場合能受到一些特別待遇,會變得四不像。筆者在此呼籲臺灣的選民眼睛要保持雪亮,這次要選的是地方代表與首長,而不是投給中央。外交票值得繼續觀察,留到2024年的總統大選再決定吧!

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(作者爲美國共和黨前亞太區主席)

英文原文:

Taiwan Local Election: A Foreign Policy Election?

【锦绣中国年】宁夏:塞上西北寻年味

By Ross Darrell Feingold

Former Asia Chairman, Republicans Abroad

Twitter: @RossFeingold

Given the amount of foreign policy activities in Taiwan recently, one might think that the local election (not a “mid-term” election as some foreign journalist and scholars mistakenly describe it) on November 26 is about foreign policy rather than issues of local governance, and that the Democratic Progressive Party also hopes voters consider the central government’s foreign policy achievements when deciding which candidate to vote for.

從小便秘到大?白汪「上廁所永遠一號表情」皺眉緊閉雙眼 拚盡吃奶力氣終於解放了

From countries that recognize the Republic of China, the leaders of Eswatini, Nauru, Palau, St. Kitts and Nevis visited Taipei, and Vice President William Lai visited Palau. The United Kingdom Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands visited Taiwan for bilateral trade talks. Lithuania finally opened its trade office in Taipei, and, the United States and Taiwan held the first negotiations of the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade.

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Parliamentarians from Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Ukraine, and the United States among other countries visited Taipei in October and November, and local government lawmakers also visited Taiwan, such as a delegation from Okinawa.

台鐵南迴線17時後各級列車全停駛 平溪深澳線陸續停開

Taiwan government officials, legislators, and scholars hosted or participated in a number of forums in Taipei, including the Yushan Forum, the World Movement for Democracy Global Assembly, International Conference on PRC’s Power Shift and Governance, the Oslo Freedom Forum, and a Japan, US, Taiwan lawmakers trilateral security dialogue.

However, these developments, if they were an attempt to introduce foreign policy “success” into the local election campaign, appear to put quantity over quality.

A United Kingdom Minister of State (similar to a deputy minister in Taiwan) visit to Taiwan is not unprecedented. Of more concern in Taiwan-UK relations is whether budget considerations may preclude new Prime Minister Rushi Sunak from following through on Boris Johnson’s plans for a robust British military presence in the Indo Pacific. Sunak’s recent statement that the United Kingdom refuses to rule out sending arms to Taiwan is not the same as actually selling arms to Taiwan, and in fact, Taiwan media reported in October that the United Kingdom denied an export permit for two rifles to be used by President Tsai’s protection detail.

The many recent “conferences”, “dialogues” and “forums” in Taipei attract little global attention. At the Yushan Forum, speakers former Australia foreign minister Julie Bishop, former New Zealand deputy prime minister of New Zealand Winston Peters, and former Thai Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana are critics of their home country government. At the World Movement for Democracy Global Assembly, speaker Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa is similarly a government critic. Inviting such critics to events in Taipei has the risk of a negative effect on those countries relations with Taiwan. Despite hopes earlier this year that basketball player and human rights advocate Enes Freedom would attend the Oslo Freedom Forum in person, he did not come to Taipei.

Although these events in Taiwan might be popular with American, European and Japanese government officials or lawmakers, government officials and lawmakers from Asean countries mostly stay away. Recent statements by Singapore’s Senior Minister & Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, and Deputy Prime Minister (and future Prime Minister) Lawrence Wong drew a contrast between Singapore’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and why it does not apply to Taiwan, and reiterated Singapore’s neutrality in China-US disputes. Former Malaysia Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad also recently criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei as it “increased tension” and was “a provocation”.

Taiwan was again excluded from multilateral events in October and November including the Interpol General Assembly (host country India, despite hopes in Taiwan it wants a closer bilateral relationship appears to have been silent about Taiwan’s exclusion), the International Counter Ransomware Initiative Summit at the White House, the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP 27), the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, and the G20 meeting in Bali. It appears that former President Barack Obama did not invite a prominent Taiwan participant to a democracy forum his foundation hosted on November 17. The pity party events hosted by the Taiwan government on the sidelines of multilateral events, the letters Taiwan government officials publish in overseas media to plead for Taiwan’s participation in multilateral meetings, or the various recent forums held in Taipei, do not remedy Taiwan’s exclusion from these events.

Lithuania’s office in Taipei opened nearly a year after Taiwan opened its office in Lithuania, and it followed a negative report in Lithuania state media that Taiwan is slow to make good on its promises to invest US$200,000,000 in the country’s tech sector (shortly after, Taiwan announced a small initial investment).

The US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade is a mostly one-sided initiative for the United States to obtain concessions from Taiwan, and appears to rebrand the U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue announced in 2020 for which there was no substantive outcomes.

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Recently the European Union began efforts to reduce tensions with China. Not only did German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visit China, but before that, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said the escalation of tension in the Taiwan Strait “was triggered by an individual travel of a personality that brought the Taiwan Strait at the edge of – I would not say a war, but – a lot of war games”. This prompted Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a rare public rebuke of Borrell.

In the US mid-term election, most Taiwan-friendly Members of Congress were re-elected. However, two lost their seats: Long time Taiwan-friend Steve Chabot (Republican of Ohio) and Elaine Luria (Democrat of Virginia), who in October 2021 authored a commentary in The Washington Post advocating to grant the US President authorty to send troops to assist Taiwan if there is war with China. Following the Xi Jinping – Joe Biden meeting, President Biden emphasized that the US opposes changes to the status quo by either side, a reminder to the Taiwan government that the Biden Administration’s “temporary restraining order” on Taiwan is still in place.

This author previously opined that Taiwan cannot achieve everything it wants in its foreign policy goals; in other words, countries treat Taiwan as a normal country rather than a country that deserves special treatment. Ongoing events continue to demonstrate this. Hopefully Taiwan’s voters will keep this in mind in the upcoming local election and vote based on who can best lead their local municipality and save foreign policy considerations for their vote in the presidential and legislative elections in January 2024.