August 28, 2009

Invitation to Dalai Lama puts Taiwanese president in a pickle

dalai lama, taiwan, chinaThe Dalai Lama's impending visit to Taiwan puts President Ma Ying-jeou in a pickle. It seems the invitation extended to the Dalai Lama is owing—at least in part— to local politics: From the New York Times:

The invitation to the Dalai Lama, according to news reports, came from the leaders of seven southern cities who belong to the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which promotes formal independence and has its traditional base of support in the south.

Analysts saw the move as lose-lose for Mr. Ma and win-win for the opposition. George Tsai, a political analyst and professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, said Thursday that the invitation was “purely politically motivated, aiming to harass both Ma and China.”

“While both Ma and Beijing are put in a very awkward position, the D.P.P. is in an absolutely no-lose position,” he said.

China is now Taiwan's largest trading partner, and while China has not given up its claim on Taiwan, by economic necessity the two have become more tightly linked in recent years.

Update: More on the tough bind President Ma Ying-jeou finds himself in here.

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