China's missiles may not be the biggest danger to Taiwan. An impending power shortage could cause blackouts within three years and weaken the nation's economy.
Power production is failing to keep pace with demand because of a ban on new nuclear plants and delays in completing projects already underway, says Jeffrey Bor, a fellow at the Chung-hua Institution for Economic Research, which advises the government.
"The chance of large-scale blackouts is quite high," he says. "Defense against missiles should be of lower importance because the chance of an attack is slim."
President Chen Shui-bian's government has ignored long-term economic planning because of his drive to secure Taiwan's formal independence from China, says political scientist Yang Tai- shuenn. Power supply disruptions may accelerate the exodus of Taiwanese manufacturers, who already fill more than 40 percent of their export orders through overseas factories.
There are a couple of good hacks on President Chen which anyone can recognize as pro-forma Blue propaganda. Threats of blackouts are the usual tactic whenever the nuke side wants to advance their cause, used back when the plant was first proposed (needless to say, no nightmare blackout scenario occurred).
In 2000 when the DDP came to power it proposed phasing out the nuke plant, but the KMT was committed to nukes and threatened to have Chen recalled over the issue. The DPP wanted to emphasize natural gas, but then natural gas prices skyrocketed, making that choice expensive and the DPP look foolish.
Is the government not focused on Taiwan's needs for energy? Here's a picture I took in Hsinchu last year:
The energy issue is a case of a genuine policy difference between the two parties that the DPP should be exploiting more. ITRI has a page on wind (Chinese, not so good) and a short precis in Anglais on wind in Taiwan.
[Taiwan] [DPP] [KMT] [nuclear power] [wind]