Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ma to Go to US to Sell Arms Bill

Mayor Ma and Chairman of the KMT is off to the US this week. I'll be watching this one closely, as it will be an important test of the fairness and accuracy of US media. Not to mention of Ma's ability to get along with the US and present a positive image. I hope some pro-democracy types show up to ask him some tough questions at meetings and conferences! The AP article from Peter Enav is not bad at all, using the term "pro-China" to refer to certain members of the KMT, which is a strong start. Too bad it doesn't include Ma under that rubric. It also does a good job of presenting the way the Blue camp has blocked the arms package, and pointing out how empty and pro-China its objections are:

The Nationalists insist they are not the problem on the weapons package. They say they favor an alternative version, as long as it does not force the island into a no-win arms race with Beijing.

"Our position is clear," said Nationalist Party spokeswoman Chen Li-wen. "We are fully committed to Taiwan getting the means to defend itself."

But the Nationalists haven't come up with an alternative plan - despite repeated promises to do so. This has raised suspicions that some elements in the Nationalist camp are letting pro-China tendencies dictate their stance.

In contrast to the president's party, the Nationalists favor eventual union with the mainland - though without putting a time frame on it. An ally, the People First Party, is even more enthusiastic about a China merger.

Political scientist Emile Sheng of Taipei's Soochow University, said "Of course there are people in the Nationalist Party who think that because the party can have good relations across the strait, there's no reason to buy all these weapons."

Sheng says that Ma would like to break the logjam on the weapons package but may be constrained by the pro-China members of his opposition coalition - especially in the PFP.

"The PFP are really hawkish on the issue," he said.

On a recent visit to Taipei, U.S. Congressman Rob Simmons - a Connecticut Republican - said time was running out on the Taiwan weapons deal.

"The administration is clear on the arms sale," said Simmons, whose district includes one of four companies bidding to build submarines for Taiwan. "But in three years, the policy could change because the administration will leave ... and we don't know the next administration's position."


1 comment:

Kanwa-Kyudai said...

It is a bit hard to believe that Taiwan has some politicians who want to sell their country and live under the rule of the Communist Party. Do they really want Taiwan to reunite with the PRC? And what profits will they make out of such a dangerous political deal?

Which is more lucrative for them, the president of the ROC or the governor of Taiwan province? Is it a piece of tactics only to win support from the voters who are concerned about Mr.Chen's radical movements? I wish it were just one of the same old political games.