筆者之前曾發表過,台灣政府在台灣被排除於國際論壇或其他國際間會議的情況下,便開始自組場外取暖大會。我們可以從最近的新聞發現,台灣政府似乎很喜歡進行這種向國際社會討拍的路數。

例如中國官媒大力批評反對溫哥華和高雄建立「友誼城市(Friendship City)」國際間對於這些市與市的關係是有正式定義的,但我時常看到有人會將兩者混為一談。顧名思義,姊妹通常比朋友來得更親密、更正式。也就是說「姊妹市(a sister city)」相較於「友誼城市」而言是更官方、更緊密的關係。

在台灣許多市府網站上可以看到他們所締結姊妹市與友誼城市的列表:台北列出了將近50個城市、台中近40、高雄近30。相較之下,比台灣城市規模大上好幾倍的東京市政府在其網站上卻只列出了12個相關城市。

跟中央的路線相仿,台灣的地方政府似乎也積極採取暖路線,想以城市外交的方式締結好朋友城市數量,來增添「數大即是美」的門面。高雄甚至還特地替這些好朋友城市做了精美的類觀光網站專頁,對於市府而言,能夠藉此躍上國際新聞版面(通常是當地的地方新聞)也算是美事一樁,畢竟這些報導比起市政內容的討論更為吸睛。但難道沒有民眾好奇,市府與外國城市簽訂一個又一個的市政外交關係,究竟對於我們市民的生活有什麼實質幫助或改善?

城市之間定期交流固然是件美事,例如在疫情期間,可以交換防疫政策等資訊進而推動當地的防疫措施。但在台灣通常我們看到市府官員「出國考察」之後、公開發表與當地官員微笑握手的照片之外,很少看到他們對於該地市政政策做出什麼仿效或檢討的發表。以陳菊在高雄市長任期的最後幾天為例,她在2018年3月以考察都市建設與綠建築為名,率團訪問美國紐約市、費城和華府,這3個城市不但非高雄市政府網站上所列出的姊妹、友誼城市,她回國後沒幾天,更是接任了總統府秘書長一職離開了高雄。

台灣政治的特殊屬性很容易讓市政外交等政策成為黨派之爭的手腕。如2019 年時任民進黨立委的余宛如在推特上支持布拉格市長取消與北京友好城市關係的決定,還加上「與其考慮與對北京友好的台北市結交友誼,或許可以考慮(台灣的)其他城市」,這在外國政府眼裡會覺得很不解,台灣人的砲口對內不對外,只會造成內傷。

高雄市極力爭取將溫哥華成為友誼城市名單上的一員,以新聞性而言或許可以讓他們得到一支記功,但事實上溫哥華和高雄早已建立了許多交流往來。例如在溫哥華已經有一年一度的台灣電影節、以及30多年傳統的溫哥華台灣文化節(TaiwanFEST),就算締交正式的友誼城市關係,也只是畫蛇添足。對於市府的公眾事務以及中央層級的外交狀況而言,也難以達到任何實質幫助。

另一個台灣特有的外交現象,則是在被國際會議排除的情況下,台灣時常在國際會議會場旁自己另外進行小型的邊角會議,也就是俗稱的場邊外交。最近台灣被排除在羅馬所舉辦的G20會議,就是一個很好的例子。在外交部長吳釗燮的訪歐行程中,不知為何他原本獲邀參加在羅馬舉辦的「對華政策跨國議會聯盟」行程臨時取消。同個時間點他轉而出席公開講演、會見了幾個國家的議員,並且在歐盟總部所在地布魯塞爾低調會晤了歐盟官員。

而最近剛在格拉斯哥舉辦的「2021年聯合國氣候變遷大會(COP 26)」也是另一個台灣進行場邊外交的例子。與年度世界衛生大會相仿,台灣政府在場邊安排了一個單獨的會面場所,以便於與其他國家的代表團接觸交流。在場播放的蔡英文總統錄製的致詞影片中,她提到了台灣優秀的氣候變化因應政策。很遺憾這次我們沒能見到台灣與英國一起合作促成台灣部長親自出訪的機會,相異於衛福部長陳時中親自出席世界衛生大會場邊並會晤了他國的部長級官員,這次台灣環保署長張子敬並未能親自出席COP 26的台灣日活動。

上週的台日交流峰會,也可以算是台灣向日本取暖討拍成功。雖然會上發表了「神戶宣言」,呼籲支持台灣參與更多國際間多邊組織,但與會者多來自地方政府,而非日本中央政府或國會。對於台灣的國際地位究竟能達成什麼新的進展也令人質疑。

在拜登總統和習近平主席舉行虛擬峰會的幾天前,台灣則祭出一個安慰獎:美國國會議員訪問台北。他們短短兩晚的訪問期間極少有公開的行程,很難想像如此低調的安排對於提高台灣在國際的能見度以及國際參與度能起什麼作用。而同時間由一些美國國會議員所提出的《台灣嚇阻法(Taiwan Deterrence Act)》草案,意圖增進台美軍事交流、並提供台灣適度軍事融資協助,也可以說是對於台灣國防與外交的給糖吃行為。

台灣這樣定期進行場邊取暖的方式來呼求國際社會同情的外交方式已漸漸成為常態。然而打悲情牌真的對於建立台灣的國際地位有幫助嗎?筆者認為台灣需要向國際社會展現自己對於經濟與國家安全的決心、跳脫悲情的角色,才能獲得更令人尊敬與欽佩的地位。希望有朝一日台灣人能挺直腰桿、有骨氣地對台灣抱持著憐憫與同情的他國說:「Thank you, but no thank you.(謝謝你的同情,但我們不需要。)」(作者為美國共和黨海外部亞太區前主席)

原文:

Pity Party Diplomacy to Close Out 2021

By Ross Darrell Feingold

Former Asia Chairman, Republicans Abroad

Twitter: @RossFeingold

This author has previously publicly commented about the Taiwan government’s tendency to organize or participate in “pity party” events when Taiwan is excluded from international forums or other similar events. Sadly, Taiwan continues this habit, with multiple recent examples.

Recently in the news is China’s government and media criticism of, and opposition to, the possibility that Vancouver and Kaohsiung might enter into a friendship city relationship (most people who are not in municipal government are unfamiliar with the distinction between a sister city relationship and a friendship city relationship though the organization Sister Cities International states on its website that relationships between friendship cities are less formal than relationships between sister cities).

Some Taiwan municipalities have friendship and sister city relationships that already number in the dozens: Taipei has nearly fifty, Taichung nearly forty, and Kaohsiung nearly thirty. By comparison, the Tokyo Municipal government lists only twelve such relationships on its website.

Similar to Taiwan’s central government pity party diplomacy, it appears that some municipalities engage in pity party municipal diplomacy in which municipalities add sister or friendship city relationships to achieve quantity over quality. It defies belief that Taiwan’s municipal governments can actively maintain so many relationships. Residents know that often the establishment of these relationships is more about a press release to announce the new relationship, than it is about providing any substantive improvement to the delivery of municipal services.

Certainly, periodic information sharing online (such as during the pandemic) might be productive. In person visits might be productive too if there are substantive outcomes for Taiwan’s municipal governments, though the perception is often that in person travel by Taiwan’s municipal leaders to other countries for “inspection” is more for holiday or their personal image than it is to provide benefit to residents. A prominent example occurred in March 2018, when then-Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu led a delegation to visit New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, just days before she resigned to become the Presidential Office Secretary General. None of the three cities she visited are among the fifteen US cities that Kaohsiung City Government lists on its website as sister or friendship cities.

Often the nature of Taiwan’s politics makes even municipal diplomacy a partisan issue. In 2019, a Democratic Progressive Party legislator at the time, Karen Yu (余宛如), tweeted in support of the Prague mayor’s decision to cancel sister-city relations with Beijing, but added that “instead of establishing sister-city ties with now pro-Beijing Taipei, other cities or counties might be better”.

The reality is that Vancouver and Kaohsiung already have strong ties, whether people-to-people or through events such as Vancouver’s annual TaiwanFEST, a large event that is over thirty years old. One additional friendship city relationship for Kaohsiung or any other Taiwan municipality might look nice on paper, but ultimately is an insufficient substitute for public and substantive action by foreign governments to expand relations with Taiwan’s central government.

Another recent pity party example is what occurred when Taiwan was excluded from the G20 meeting in Rome. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu simultaneously travelled to Europe which included public speeches and meetings with parliamentarians in several countries, and a low profile meeting in the European Union capital of Brussels, but for reasons unknown the plan for him to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China meeting in Rome did not come to fruition.

The recent COP 26 meeting in Glasgow was also another example of Taiwan’s pity party diplomacy. Similar to the annual World Health Assembly, Taiwan arranged a separate venue for its officials to engage with delegations from other countries, including a video address by President Tsai Ing-wen in which she discussed Taiwan’s admirable climate change policies. Unlike the World Health Assembly where in recent years Taiwan’s Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung attended in person and met with ministerial level officials from other countries, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration Minister Chang Tzi-chin did not attend the COP 26 Taiwan Day in person. It is unfortunate that Taiwan and the United Kingdom did not facilitate an in-person visit by a Taiwan minister.

The recent Japan - Taiwan Exchange Summit might also be included within pity party diplomacy. Although summit participants issued the “Kobe Declaration” calling for more participation for Taiwan in multilateral organizations, participants for the most part came from local governments rather than Japan’s central government or the Diet. Taiwan also recently had the consolation prize of US Congressmen visiting Taipei days before President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping held a virtual summit, though the two night visit and secretive itinerary that lacked public events did little to improve Taiwan’s current international participation even if the visitors intend to help Taiwan in other ways in the future. The Taiwan Deterrence Act proposed by US Congressmen to provide financing to Taiwan so that Taiwan can purchase weapons is also a form of diplomatic and security pity for Taiwan.

Taiwan’s periodic willingness to engage in pity party diplomacy or to accept the international community’s pity risks the international community accepting it as the norm. However, seeking or accepting the international community’s pity is not a good substitute for demonstrating to the international community that Taiwan’s government and people are determined to do what is necessary to ensure Taiwan’s economic and national security. Sometimes, Taiwan can demonstrate this determination by informing its overseas friends “Thank you, but no thank you”.

#台灣 #一個 #友誼城市 #溫哥華 #場邊