Thursday, May 13, 2010

ECFA Wrap

Like the Shadow out of Mordor, integration with China through financial integration with China proceeds apace as the KMT reassured markets that Taiwan was still on the auction block with the appointment of the former Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Chairman Sean Chen as new vice premier. The position came open with resignation of Eric Chu to run in the November election for mayor of the newly created Shinbei City, the City Formerly Known as Taipei County. ECFA, and President Ma, are strongly supported by the global financial industry.

The Mainland Affairs Council poll finds majority support for ECFA. Also, MAC announces that 99.9% of the North Korean population really did vote for President Kim. Seriously, just for comparison, this figure is a third higher than the more realistic Global Views poll in March, which had "supporting signing ECFA" at 46%.

This week's flap: Reuters reported that Chairman Tsai of the DPP said that the DPP had organized a group for talks with China, but this was quickly rebutted by the DPP....
In a press briefing, DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) yesterday said Tsai did not address the issue during the interview, which took place in English. He also denied that the DPP had any plans to organize a group for such a purpose.

The party later released a statement to add: “What Chairperson Tsai said during the interview was that there are many non-governmental organizations and think tanks that the DPP has long relationships with … If China engages in dialogue with these groups, it will help them understand more about the DPP.”

“However, Taiwan is a democratic society, and these groups are independent and are not part of the DPP,” the statement said.

The DPP’s China policies have come under increasing attention after a series of public comments made by Tsai hinted at a subtle shift in how the party would conduct future cross-strait dialogue.

Tsai said in the interview that the DPP would “pursue a separate dialogue mechanism with Beijing, possibly under the umbrella of an outside organization, to seek peace and ‘teach Beijing about the island’s democracy.’”
This was followed by the usual Beijing demand that the DPP give up independence, which was followed by the DPP reiteration that they are always ready to talk to Beijing, provided Beijing does not demand that Taiwan annex itself to China. Of course, the DPP raised the issue of whether Ma had in fact conceded the island's independence in the talks, sparking this editorial from Taiwan News:
President Ma Ying-jeou should explain clearly to the Taiwan public whether his rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) has accepted political preconditions for engaging in talks with the People's Republic of China, including for the negotiation of the controversial "Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement."

Taiwan's 23 million citizens deserve a clear and frank explanation of the political preconditions for the negotiation of 12 cross-strait agreements between the KMT government and the PRC's Chinese Communist Party regime in the wake of statements by an official PRC government spokesman that such talks are predicated on acceptance of Beijing's goal of "peaceful unification."
Judging from the number of observers in the US who appear to believe that ECFA is just a trade pact (hey it says so in the media, right?), there are many people in the US who haven't grasped this point: in order for talks with China to proceed, Ma must have had to give on the sovereignty issue. That's a PRC precondition. Since such a move would be deeply unpopular in Taiwan, naturally the KMT has been laying down a barrage of words to keep this out of the public view. The DPP should continue to press Ma on this issue.

Where did Lien Chan and the rest of the KMT Old Guard go off to? When the did the focus shift to Ma?

Upcoming protests against ECFA May 20-22 and June 6. The announcement from the Referendum Committee of the Executive Yuan on a referendum on ECFA is due on June 3. The conventional wisdom has it that no referendum will be permitted. My thinking is that a referendum would likely fail due to the time-tested KMT tactics of inducing fail, and thus, if the KMT is smart they will permit the referendum, whose outcome they can control, to go through. However, the recent defeat in the Penghu may scare them off such a move.
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4 comments:

Islander said...

Michael-

You have a broken link to the Frank Ching article.

"Broken clock right: Frank Ching makes sense for a change."

Thomas said...

Liberty Times had a story that quoted an anonymous official regarding the referendum. As the official is anonymous, who knows how true this is, but the argumentation makes sense.

http://libertytimes.com.tw/2010/new/may/13/today-fo7.htm

The referendum would probably not give a satisfactory result to Ma. This is because either not voting in the referendum or voting against the ECFA could either be possible protest tactics.

So, due to the fact that the ECFA is so controversial, the referendum, from the start, is stacked against Ma. If it fails, he can't claim Taiwan supports him. If Taiwanese oppose it successfully, then he can't proceed at all. The risk side for him is huge.

So the LT's source says that Ma will try to get it all done quickly.

In a way, he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If the referendum is rejected, the DPP can paint him as a liar for having said that he does not oppose referendums. If the referendum is allowed and he proceeds before the referendum is held, then he can be painted as too in a rush. If he allows the referendum, then he must be absolutely certain that he can get 4.33 million votes in his favor.

By the way, you did not mention that, while the MAC vote showed a majority in favor of the ECFA, this number was down from the last time the MAC conducted the vote. I think that the last support number was about 56 percent.

Jonathan Benda said...

The Motor Vehicle Office test: The English isn't as bad as I thought it would be (at least it's not "Google-translator-written") but there sure are some weird questions.

17. The driver's clothes and appearance should(1)have no limits(2)be clean and dignified(3)are not important.

The answer is ... 2?? Why does the MVO care?

Jonathan Benda said...

OK--I take back the first part of my comment after reading this question:

"277.If the driver finds the streetlight fades away that might be the pathway breaking off, the bridge break down, or the road surface collapsing, the driver should: (1) stop driving and check the situation. (2) Ignore this situation and keep driving. (3) Turn off the headlight to avoid the light reflection."