Taiwan Rejects Most of U.S. Arms Package Offered in 2001

June 16, 2007 at 9:20 am | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments

Jane Rickards in Taipei, June 16 2007 Washington Post

After six years of hesitation, Taiwan’s legislature voted Friday night to approve only a small portion of an $18 billion arms package suggested by the Bush administration as the best way to gird the self-ruled island against any attack by China.

The negotiated decision, which passed on a vote of 176 to 20, called for Taiwan to spend $300 million on military purchases from the United States. Legislators approved the purchase of P-3 Orion anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft but declined to equip the island with the advanced PAC-3 antimissile systems encouraged by the Bush administration, opting instead to update existing Patriot missile batteries.

Legislators also declined to purchase diesel-electric submarines as suggested by Washington but promised to study the issue further.

The approved purchases fall far short of the arms package proposed by the Bush administration in 2001 as the best way to meet the challenge of China’s military buildup. The legislature’s decision seemed likely to intensify complaints in Washington that Taiwan is unwilling to shoulder the expenses necessary to maintain a level of military preparedness.

Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy here, had repeatedly called on Taiwan’s government and legislature to come up with funds for the arms package suggested by Washington. But despite his appeals, and those of other officials in the Bush administration, the issue had long been bogged down in Taiwan’s partisan politics.

President Chen Shui-bian and his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party battled long and hard to get the arms package funded, calling it vital for Taiwan’s defense. But the opposition Nationalist Party, which controls the Legislative Yuan, refused to endorse it, saying the suggested purchases were too expensive, inappropriate for Taiwan’s needs and likely to fuel an arms race with the mainland.

Philip Yang, a political science professor at National Taiwan University, said the Nationalists decided to endorse at least the Orion aircraft purchase under the influence of Ma Yingjeou, the Nationalist candidate in the 2008 presidential election, who is eager to show he can deliver better relations with the United States than the often-contentious Chen.

Analysts said the approval of even a small part of the arms package might persuade Washington to approve a Taiwanese request for purchase of advanced F-16 aircraft. The budget called for buying the F-16s if Washington agreed to sell them, according to Su Chi, a Nationalist lawmaker.

The Bush administration had been unwilling to entertain the Taiwanese request for F-16s, saying the languishing 2001 arms package proposal had to be dealt with first.

There’s an arms “race” no matter what Taiwan decides to do. It’s not as if China slowed down its military buildup and modernization process over the past six years. It’s true that Taiwan cannot afford to engage China head on, but the island must possess enough of a deterrent to make the PLA think twice before attempting to “liberate” Taiwan.

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China’s Choice for Taiwan’s Next Leader

June 14, 2007 at 10:12 am | Posted in China, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

John Copper, June 14 2007 Taipei Times

Now that Frank Hsieh has won the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination and Ma Ying-jeou the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT), one has to wonder what preference China has for one or the other.

China’s pick would seem obvious. The DPP is the party of independence, anathema to Beijing’s leaders. Ma calls for unification — China’s declared policy. Chinese officials have applauded Ma’s positions on a host of issues. China has even published a complimentary biography of Ma.

But talk in some quarters in Washington has it that, strangely, Chinese leaders would rather Hsieh win next year’s election and become Taiwan’s next president.

At first glance this seems ridiculous, but it is not.

China has been very successful at isolating Taiwan under President Chen Shui-bian’s rule. Taiwan has fewer and fewer diplomatic friends and diminishing global support for anything it wants to do, including highly sensible efforts to participate in the WHO and other international bodies.

Even in Asia Taiwan has few backers. China is dominating regional economic and other organizations and has demanded that Taiwan be excluded. Taiwan’s status in the region has declined fast.

Meanwhile, under the DPP, Taiwan has become dependent upon China economically. More of its exports go to China than anywhere else. More than a million Taiwanese have gone to China, almost all to do business. Chen has overseen Taiwan’s integration with China commercially.

Taiwan’s relations with the US under Chen’s governance have deteriorated markedly. US officials have questioned whether the US should defend Taiwan. They have even denied Taiwan’s sovereignty (though that was no doubt to send a signal to Chen to stop provoking China, which the US needs to maintain stability in East Asia and for other reasons).

Beijing’s leaders thus feel time is on their side and they would like to continue with what they are doing — since they have been so successful at it.

If Ma were to become president next year Chinese leaders would have some compunctions about continuing their isolation of Taiwan and other hostile, but highly productive, policies.

Hsieh is known to be a moderate and will probably try to foster better cross-strait relations. He also is known to dislike Chen, Beijing’s supposed nemesis. But will his policies be different?

Hsieh needs Chen’s help to win the election. He must also use the issue of Taiwan’s national identity and even independence to win votes. How can he, in view of that, pursue better relations with China? Beijing knows this. Also, Ma is not as good a choice as he may seem. He has been more critical of China’s human-rights abuses (which Chinese leaders don’t like to hear about). He is even known to have some sympathy for the Falun Gong, seen by Beijing as a conspiratorial and dangerous reactionary sect.

Ma talks as if he favors unification. But he has been at odds with party members who really support that policy. He says it is up to the people, knowing numerous polls show there is very little support for unification among Taiwanese, at least in the short term. This means he is unlikely to do anything about it.

Ma is certainly unlikely to live up to China’s expectations and Chinese leaders would be in the awkward position of dealing with their so-called favorite if he were elected.

Thus, ironically, it makes sense that China wants Hsieh to be Taiwan’s next president.

This article is right on the money. The CCP needs the DPP to continue to push for formal independence in order to have an excuse to villianize and isolate Taiwan. This would in turn generate greater anti-CCP (preferably anti-China) sentiments amongst Taiwanese voters, which would translate into greater support for the DPP and its formal independence cause.

Why is the U.S. Ignoring Taiwan?

June 13, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

Therese Shaheen, June 14 2007 WSJ Commentary

Even as the United States is engaged in a global war against Islamist extremists, it has maintained its focus on other, more traditional security commitments around the world. For example, the six-party talks on North Korea and continued support to the government of Colombia in its struggle against narco-terrorists show that the U.S. has not neglected its other important global obligations.

Except perhaps one.

The commitment we have made to defend Taiwan if the island nation is attacked by China may be floundering, in a growing gap between what we say we are prepared to do to honor that commitment, and what we actually are doing to ensure we understand — and can execute — our commitment.

Simply put, U.S. policy toward Taiwan — a pro-U.S. democracy with an emerging two-party system — appears to be drifting. Formal and informal contacts, already complicated by the absence of diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei, have become less frequent, less high-level and less hospitable. If we are not careful, we may find ourselves in a situation where we would have to extricate ourselves — gracefully or otherwise — from a commitment that will have become increasingly difficult to honor.

The heart of the problem is that there is very little transparency between the U.S. and Taiwan. Neither treaty, statute nor explicit policy stands in the way. Rather, credit bureaucratic policy drift, made possible by otherwise distracted policy makers, combined with over-reliance on wishful thinking with respect to the U.S.-China relationship.

As journalist James Mann has argued, today’s status quo has also developed in part because of the artful application by leaders in Beijing and their more ardent supporters in the U.S. of such terms as “provocative,” and “pushing the envelope” in characterizing Taiwan’s actions with respect to its status and its relations with China. The acceptance of such language makes it difficult for the U.S. to draw closer to Taiwan without risking Beijing’s ire.

The rhetoric-reality gap provokes obvious questions: What preconditions are in place to ensure that military action is a last resort? Under what circumstances would the U.S. intervene? What is the state of the Taiwan military leadership? How ready are Taiwan’s forces to defend themselves? How ready are U.S. forces to work with them, should that be necessary?

Taiwan might be more serious about providing for its own defense and less reliant on U.S. commitments if there were greater clarity into what they mean and how they might be discharged. But the limited interaction imposed by the reality of U.S.-China-Taiwan circumstances has made this goal difficult to achieve. Today, the bureaucracy makes decisions by self-policing an unstated policy of “nothing goes.” One recent example: In May, the U.S. National Press Club hosted a discussion with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian by video link. U.S. officials at the desk-officer level concluded that it would undermine policy to attend this public event, reasoning that Mr. Chen’s appearance was intended as an attempt to circumvent restrictions on senior Taiwan officials visiting Washington, D.C.

But the lack of interaction goes beyond one-off, questionable decisions such as that. Military officers at the one-star level or above, or the civilian equivalent, are not permitted to meet in Taiwan with their counterparts. While there is serious contingency planning at high levels on both sides, senior U.S. planners and decision makers do not interact with their Taiwan counterparts. The dialogue instead is conducted by proxy at lower levels of government.

Even simple meetings are less frequent in recent years. As late as 2003, State and Defense Department officials — albeit at the mid-grade deputy assistant secretary level — were permitted to meet regularly with senior Taiwanese officials including the foreign minister outside of Washington, D.C. That contact no longer takes place. At the highest levels, the U.S.-Taiwan relationship would have to get much closer to even describe it as “arms-length.” No cabinet-level officials have met their Taiwanese counterparts since the Clinton administration.

As for the Taiwan president, he traditionally has been permitted to enter the U.S. only during a “transit” to other countries. In the past, that so-called transit was in practice an opportunity for the Taiwan leader to meet distinguished Americans, make civic addresses, and otherwise be treated as a visiting dignitary. That policy, too, has decayed over the past several years. By 2006, through bureaucratic drift and a desire not to be too “provocative” given warming relations with Beijing, the U.S. offered only a brief stop in Alaska, which Mr. Chen declined. In January 2007, President Chen was permitted a short stop in San Francisco, but social, civic and press interactions were extremely limited.

Is this really the most effective approach toward the leader of a government we may have to shed American blood to defend? Might it not be better simply to acknowledge our unwillingness or inability to do what must be done to sustain our security commitment?

U.S. policy toward Taiwan may itself be provocative, but not because the U.S. seeks to do too much with Taipei. Instead, we appear uninterested in doing much at all to better understand the implications of our own declared policy. Of course, we do not owe Taiwan or any other country certainty about U.S. intentions. Strategic ambiguity is important and governments reserve that option, particularly with respect to the use of military power. What has evolved with Taiwan, though, is something quite different: Strategic avoidance of the unique challenges posed by maintaining a security commitment with a country with which we have no diplomatic relations.

This is a complex affair, not to be quickly or easily resolved. There are obvious first steps. U.S. Presidents frequently rely upon special envoys — formal or informal — to examine regional issues. For example, both Democratic and Republican Presidents have discovered sufficient U.S. interests in the Balkans, Western Sahara and Sudan to appoint distinguished Americans to address them.

But none of these matters had the potential to affect our strategic priorities as much as the U.S.-China-Taiwan nexus. A presidential envoy in this instance would not be without precedent. Former President Reagan relied upon trusted informal advisors, including National Security Advisor Bill Clark and Senator Paul Laxalt to serve as channels to former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. President Clinton followed this pattern and former Congressman Lee Hamilton also served as an envoy to Taiwan.

President Bush should consider assigning this matter to the attention of such an envoy. Someone with sufficient stature and political mien could open a window for the President into the three-party situation that now is not possible given the stunted inter-agency and diplomatic processes. This is no panacea. But it might help reduce the risk to our own credibility that stems from paying insufficient attention to security guarantees no one forced us to make.

President Bush and his national security team have remained commendably focused on a number of disparate challenges around the world. The President has shown he is prepared to bear any burden and pay any price in pursuit of democratic freedom in some of the unlikeliest places on the globe. At far less cost, a bit more transparency with a pro-U.S. democratic government that represents 23 million free people seems like something perhaps only he can achieve, given bureaucratic tendencies to the contrary.

Does China Want to Become a Democracy?

June 13, 2007 at 12:01 pm | Posted in China, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

Andrew Leonard’s How the World Works has a post entitled, “has Taiwan screwed up China’s chances for democracy?” In summary, the article talks about how Taiwan’s seemingly chaotic, infant democracy may be setting a bad example for China, and thus stunt its “aspirations” to move forward with democratic reforms.

However, I believe the more prudent question should be, “does China even want to become a democracy?” or even more specifically, “what are the CCP’s motivations and incentives in pushing for democracy?”

Aside from the conventional notion that as a population becomes more affluent, it would naturally become more inclined to seek out democracy, another major driving force behind Taiwan’s transition from authoritarian rule was the fact that the government was “originally designed” to be a democracy. Therefore, going ahead with democratic reforms would only further bolster the government’s legitimacy and thus worked in its favor. Additionally, it was also a lot easier for political dissidents (rights activists) to fight for human rights, free elections and so when these rights were already included in the constitution.

Now let’s look at China. The CCP’s only source of legitimacy would be if it holds on to its communist ideals and strive to bring “equality to all” (at least in appearance). The CCP along with the rest of world knows that today’s China is the farthest thing from a communist state as envisioned by Marx and Lenin. However, China is still considered a “communist state” as long as it is a one-party state in which the ruling party declares allegiance to Marxism-Leninism and in which the institutions of the party and the state have become intertwined. The CCP understands this concept all too well, because without its communist “appearance” it would merely be a self-appointed ruling party aka authoritarian regime, which would completely strip the CCP of its legitimacy. This explains why the CCP is so sensitive towards anything political and its efforts in upholding the image of Mao.

For now, China’s breakneck economic growth and the people’s general attitude of “money first, screw the rest” have so far diverted attention away from the CCP. However, it should be clear by now that the CCP’s is ONLY concerned with staying in power. The same may be true for most political parties, but under a democracy with multiple political factions to serve as checks and balances, politicians are more motivated to better serve the interest of the people. So once again, the question is, since it’s only concerned with staying in power, does the CCP have any incentives or intention to push for democratic reforms? I seriously doubt it.

Chinese Olympic Firms Deny Abuse

June 10, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Posted in China, News, Olympics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 奥运, 奧運, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

Michael Bristow in Guangdong, June 10 2007 BBC News

Chinese firms awarded lucrative contracts to produce merchandise related to the Beijing Olympics next year have denied claims they exploit their workers.

They have been accused of employing child labour, paying wages that are below the legal minimum and ignoring safety standards.

But two out of the four firms cited in a report published by an alliance of trades unions, non-governmental organisations and labour groups say they treat their workers well.

Perhaps the most serious accusations in the report relate to Lekit Stationery, a Taiwanese company that has been operating in the city of Dongguan, in Guangdong province, for the last 20 years.

According to the report, Lekit, which makes paper cups, notebooks and stickers adorned with Olympic motifs, employed children and forced them to work up to 13 hours a day.

“It’s not true,” company manager Michael Lee told the BBC. “We work for some of the best brand names in the world and they check our company every month.”

To prove his point, Mr Lee produced a framed certificate that had been hanging on an office wall. It was from a well-known Western stationery company and praised Lekit for its high “standards and practises in dealing with workers and their working environment.”

“It’s not worth it for us to hire 20 or 30 underage workers to increase our capacity. We would lose too much,” said Mr Lee.

He said the factory’s 420 workers earned a basic monthly salary of around 700 yuan (£46; $91). Overtime is paid at time and a half. Dormitory accommodation is free and the firm charges employees 6 yuan a day (£0.40; $0.80) for three meals.

In a bid to further convince the BBC that his company abides by the rules, Mr Lee conducted a tour of his neat-looking factory. It was Sunday, so only a handful of well-dressed workers were folding, stacking and collating paper products.

“There’s complete compliance,” the manager said as he led the tour past employees sitting next to fans that cooled them as they worked.

Outside the factory gates it was impossible to find anyone who could verify the claim that children had been employed at the firm…

Fleeing Taiwan

June 8, 2007 at 9:59 am | Posted in China, 經濟, 经济, Economics, News, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 4 Comments

June 8 2007 WSJ Review and Outlook

If you want to know which way Taiwan’s economy is headed, consider this: At a time when most Asian countries are trying to slow the flow of capital into their countries, Taipei is trying to stop it flowing out. Talk about a cure that’s worse than the disease.

New controls limit new mutual funds to NT$10 billion ($302 million) in offshore investing. The measure isn’t quite a formal rule — it’s a “guideline” hammered out in late May by the central bank and the Securities Investment Trust and Consulting Association, a mutual fund trade group. While the deal doesn’t appear to be legally binding, the bank reportedly will use moral suasion to enforce it, in part by slowing down new mutual fund applications for funds that plan to violate the cap.

The Central Bank of China (Taiwan) has been growing increasingly worried about the weakening of the Taiwan dollar, which has been on a downward trajectory for the better part of the past year. Other adventures in currency manipulation have included a recent bout of unanticipated open-market operations designed to spike exchange and interest rates as a way to “punish” those with the temerity to sell short the Taiwan dollar.

Now, at least, the central bank is inching closer to the true reason for the Taiwan dollar’s softness — investment outflows. Net outflows hit nearly $11 billion for the first quarter of this year. Taiwan’s net investment flows haven’t been in the black since the second quarter of 2005. Even in a region awash with liquidity and in the midst of a global bull market, investors just don’t want to put their money in Taiwan.

Structural factors are to blame. One culprit, ironically enough, is the restriction on corporate investment in the mainland. Taiwanese companies are allowed to invest only an average of 40% of their value (the limit varies by industry) there. But because such investment is so lucrative, Taiwanese companies and entrepreneurs are increasingly opting to work around the law. They can do this by setting up shop in less restrictive countries, leaving Taiwanese investors with fewer companies at home in which to put their money.

On a related note, Taiwanese economic policy hasn’t kept up with the times. There is still a strong regulatory and policy bias in favor of manufacturing over services, despite the fact that Taiwan is at the stage of development where it should be expanding its service sector. Spaghetti-like corporate structures and endemic insider trading also discourage investors from diving too deeply into Taiwanese equities. Bad policies and their outcomes — from a chaotic banking sector to hurdles for companies that want to on-shore research and development while offshoring manufacturing — leave many Taiwanese companies and their stocks underperforming.

To top it all off, there’s political gridlock when it comes to addressing many of these problems. Fighting between the two main political parties has kept the focus off improving the economic climate. It’s hard to think of any major economic policy overhaul in the past seven years.

In imposing limits on offshore investment, the central bank is asking Taiwanese investors to take one for the team by keeping more of their money at home despite the poor returns. But the bank is missing the point. The weak exchange rate is a symptom — not the disease — and capital controls will only make it worse.

June 8 2007 鉅亨網

如果你想要了解台灣經濟的走向,以下所述可以當 作參考:亞洲多數國家都在防堵外資流入,台灣卻反而 在阻止資金外流,要用這種方式來治療經濟惡化,乾脆 讓它生病算了。

台灣最新規定,新成立的基金投資海外的額度不得 超過新台幣 100億元,這種手段並不尋常。這項規定是 由台灣央行和共同基金交易團體-金管局在 5月底所訂 立。雖然此說似乎於法無據,央行據說將使用道德勸說 的方式予以貫徹。另外,對於有意違反這項規定的共同 基金,央行將放緩它們的申請進度。

《華爾街日報》指出,台灣央行越來越擔心新台幣 走貶,該貨幣去年多數時間處在貶值的狀態。央行干預 新台幣的冒險做法,包括近期造成市場騷動,無預警的 進行公開市場操作,目的在推高新台幣匯率以及利率, 藉此對魯莽放空新台幣的人士作出懲處。

台灣央行現在至少向新台幣走貶的真正理由-資金 外流,又邁進了一大步。今年第 1季淨流出台灣的資金 將近新台幣110億元。自2005年第2季以來,投資台灣的 資金淨額便未曾出現盈餘。即便亞洲地區資金氾濫,全 球多頭氣氛濃厚,投資人就是不願把他們的錢放在台灣 。

結構性因素是為主因。很諷刺的,罪魁禍首正是台 灣政府對於企業投資中國的限制。政府規定台灣企業投 資中國的資金不能超過它們資產淨值的 40%。不過由於 投資中國有利可圖,企業於是游走法律邊緣。他們在限 制較寬鬆的國家成立一間公司,迂迴進軍中國,這使得 台灣投資人可以投資的企業越變越少。

和上述做法雷同的,是台灣經濟政策沒能與時俱進 。台灣的法令和政策過度偏向製造業,忽視了服務業的 發展。事實上,台灣的發展已經到了一個階段,必須擴 大服務業的發展。通心麵似的企業結構,以及近來頗為 流行的內線交易,導致投資人不敢過度涉入台灣股市。 政策不良加上它的後遺症-從紛亂的銀行業,到企業希 望在台灣研發,在中國製造的做法受到阻礙,讓釵h台 灣企業及其股票表現不甚理想。

除此之外,由於台灣兩黨政治陷入僵局,導致釵h 問題延宕無解。兩個主要政黨的惡鬥,造成改善經濟環 境的問題遭到移轉。實在想不出,台灣過去 7年來,曾 經作出什麼比較重大的經濟決策。

為了加強對境外投資的規範,台灣央行希望台灣投 資人能夠顧全大局,儘可能把資金留在國內,儘管國內 的投資報酬遜色了一些。不過央行真的搞不清楚狀況, 新台幣匯率的疲弱不振,正是一個徵兆,不是一個疾病 ,控制資金只會讓病況變得更糟。

Taiwan Alarm at Costa Rica Move

June 7, 2007 at 10:06 am | Posted in China, Costa Rica, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 哥斯達黎加, 哥斯大黎加, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 3 Comments

June 7 2007 BBC News

Taiwan has ordered diplomats to shore up relations with its remaining allies after Costa Rica became the latest country to switch allegiance to China.

Chinese and Taiwanese academics said that Costa Rica’s move could trigger a domino effect, with other Latin American countries following suit. Only 24 states now recognise Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province…

“I’ve asked our embassies to take extreme precautions against any further pressure by the Chinese communists,” said Foreign Minister James Huang, whose resignation offer was refused by the president.

Opposition legislator John Chiang warned that other Latin American countries might now also switch allegiance to mainland China.

“We must be on our guard as the Costa Rican move might trigger a domino effect. We should not underestimate the grave diplomatic situation Taiwan is in,” he said…

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said his country needed to develop closer ties with China for economic reasons. China offered Costa Rica “an astronomical figure” to leave Taipei’s diplomatic fold, according to Mr Huang.

Taiwan and China have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949, and both often accuse each other of using “chequebook diplomacy” to attract allies.

China sees Taiwan as part of its territory has threatened to use force if the island ever moved to declare formal independence.

It refuses to have diplomatic ties with nations that recognise Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu called on other countries in the region to establish diplomatic relations with China.

“We are ready to establish normal state relations with these countries. The Taiwan question is the sole obstacle to establishing diplomatic ties,” she told a briefing.

The remaining 24 nations that are allied to Taipei are mostly small and impoverished nations in the Caribbean, Africa and the south Pacific, including the Solomon Islands, Nicaragua, Panama and Burkina Faso.

Americans Want U.S. to Protect Taiwan

May 31, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, United States, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments

ustiawanchina

June 1 2007 Angus Reid Global Monitor

Many people in the United States believe their country should stand by Taiwan in case of a military confrontation with China, according to a poll by Zogby Interactive released by UPI. 53.5 per cent of respondents think the U.S. has a responsibility to defend Taiwan should it be attacked by China, while 36 per cent disagree.

Taiwan was formed in 1949 after the government of Chiang Kai-shek was forced out of China as Mao Zedong’s communists were gaining prominence. A series of democratic reforms implemented by Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui in the early 1990s allowed Taiwan’s residents to take part in free and fair elections. To this date, Mainland China considers Taiwan a “renegade province” and reserves the right to bring it under control.

In March 2005, legislators in China’s National People’s Congress passed the anti-secession law, which aims to prevent Taiwan’s independence. The legislation calls for the use of “non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On May 25, the Pentagon released a report titled “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, 2007”, in which it asserts the Asian country is engaged in “a sustained effort to develop the capability to interdict, at long ranges, aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups that might deploy to the Western Pacific.”

The report also explicitly says Beijing does not yet have “the military capability to accomplish with confidence its political objectives on (Taiwan), particularly when confronted with the prospect of U.S. intervention.”

pollresults

Asia Courts Japanese Engineers

May 25, 2007 at 3:45 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 經濟, 经济, Economics, 韩国, Japan, News, South Korea, Taiwan, Technology, 南韓, 台灣, 台湾, 新聞, 新闻, 日本, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

japanaesebraindrain

Martin Fackler in Hsinchu, May 23 2007 New York Times

One of the hottest exports from Japan these days is not video games or eco-friendly cars. It is engineers.

As the once-vaunted Japanese electronics industry has downsized to survive global competition, it has inadvertently set off a brain drain. Thousands of Japanese engineers and other industry professionals have gone to Taiwan, South Korea and China to seek work at aggressive, fast-growing companies on the prowl for access to Japanese technological skills.

But the recent outflow of job-seekers is a sign of just how much Japan has changed after a decade of increased competition, corporate belt-tightening and the end of lifetime job guarantees. This harsher world has led Japan’s famously conservative salarymen to become more aggressive in their job choices and to view their careers as something for their own benefit and not simply as service to their companies, employment experts said…

The government of Taiwan says at least 2,500 Japanese have moved there in recent years to work mostly in technology-related manufacturing industries…

The migrants are finding themselves welcomed with open arms and generous pay. Some countries, like Taiwan, are aggressively courting Japanese professionals. Companies in Taiwan are eager to gain access to Japan’s leading technology in areas like electronics, both to catch up with Japanese front runners like Sony and to stay ahead of fast-gaining Chinese rivals. The Taiwan government says it has spent $20 million a year since 2003 to recruit foreign engineers, including Japanese in such important industries as semiconductors and flat-panel displays…

The largest number of offers are from companies in booming China, she said, but those with the most coveted skills tended to get hired by companies in Taiwan, which are rushing to close the technological gap with Japan…

Hiroshi Itabashi was an engineer with more than 20 years experience at a midsize Japanese television maker when he got a phone call out of the blue in 1999 from Delta Electronics, a fast-growing Taiwanese electronic components company…

“They gave me this exciting opportunity to build a whole new business from scratch,” said Itabashi, 56, who asked that his former Japanese employer not be identified. “This is something you can’t do in Japan. These days, Japanese companies always seem to be closing down operations, not starting new ones.”

As Mirror Images Emerge, Taiwan, China Can Reconcile

May 6, 2007 at 8:39 am | Posted in China, 經濟, 经济, Economics, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Taiwan, 军事, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 2 Comments

waitinggame

John C. Bersia, April 30 2007 Orlando Sentinel

Like bad Chinese food, the Beijing-Taipei flap over the 2008 Olympics torch relay leaves a funky, disappointing aftertaste. It is not what one should expect in connection with an event that celebrates human capability, spirited competition, collective pride and unity.

Ironically, the torch relay — advertised by China as the most inclusive in history — has ignited a firestorm of divisiveness more than a year before it is scheduled to light up the Olympics’ opening ceremony. Beijing wishes to run the torch through Taiwan as a continuation of its trek across parts of China, thus underscoring its claim to the island. Taipei seeks a route through third countries.

Whether this issue is resolved or not, the contentiousness between China and Taiwan — after nearly 60 years — has grown tiresome. No wonder some people throw their hands into the air and exclaim, “Why don’t they simply duke it out, and let the winner take all of China?”

Chinese leaders certainly appear prepared — and at times eager — for confrontation. The threat of military force lingers just behind their lips every time Taiwanese officials toy with notions of independence. But surely Beijing’s communist rulers know that an invasion of the island would fail, even if they managed to obliterate Taiwan. Most damaging, such action would deprive them of their only significant claim to legitimacy: Chinese economic strength.

If, because of war, China lost the ability to bring large numbers of have-nots to a higher standard of living each year, the Chinese people would stand up again — this time, with their pitchforks aimed directly at the leadership that supposedly liberated them in 1949. The Communist Party would die overnight.

Bear in mind that none of this discussion has considered the impact of China-Taiwan conflict and disruption on the regional and global economies. Clearly, this is not a civil spat that should be allowed to burn itself out.

So, what are the other options?

The tedious status quo, for one. Another would be for Taiwan to follow in the footsteps of Hong Kong and Macau, and end once and for all the artificial separation of China. Beijing would love that decision; indeed, it has dangled many incentives before Taipei to induce it to end the rift. Looking to the Hong Kong example, with a 50-year transitional agreement guaranteeing the district’s way of life, many analysts see opportunities for Taiwan. In fact, Taipei has the leverage to demand much more from such an arrangement.

It has little reason to take that route, though. After all, Taiwan occupies the higher ground in terms of its democratic government and free-market economy. China is still traveling down a sometimes herky-jerky road to reform. The controlling impulses of its moribund ideology hamper political development. Democratic practices are evident only at the village level. In addition, excessive state influence lingers over China’s economy, despite its power and numerous free-market elements.

Further, I do not buy the idea embraced by some that Taiwan might more effectively work to change China from the inside than it can in its current position.

I would prefer to see the opposite, that is, for China to join Taiwan, and have every expectation that reconciliation is possible later in this century. After all, Beijing and Taipei grow more interdependent with each passing year. Pressures for wider reform within China will not pause. Eventually, a “Big Taiwan” will rise on the mainland. At that point, when the two systems mirror one another, they will merge.

In the meantime, the key will be for sensible heads to prevail, particularly during moments of tension such as the spat over the Olympics. China and Taiwan must, at all costs, avoid sacrificing their vast mutual interests on the altar of their aging dispute.

Reunification is an option, but Mainland China must provide Taiwan sufficient motivations to do so. At its current rate of progress, it will be decades before “mirror images” emerge across the strait, especially if the CCP intends to hold on to power.

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