First there were the usual happy noises from the US side. As Obama administration officials said nice things about the KMT-CCP closeness, Paul Wolfowitz, currently head of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said:
While the Taiwan Today piece above highlighted Wolfowitz's remarks on ECFA, the Taipei Times had a fuller article that gave a more robust picture of his remarks:
In related news, former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said May 17 that with the ECFA Taiwan will have “unprecedented access to the [mainland] Chinese market. Given its democratic system, its advanced economy and its centrality in global manufacturing and supply chains, Taiwan has the potential to become a leading economic and business-operations hub in Asia.”
In addition to benefiting the economy, the pact will also help meet Taiwan’s national security needs, he said.
Wolfowitz, current chairman of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, and a former deputy secretary of defense, undersecretary of defense for policy and assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs in the State Department, spoke at a conference on Taiwan’s economy at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington.
He urged the Ma administration to engage in in-depth consultations with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which has raised objections to the ECFA. “Taiwan needs the ECFA, and it needs an uncontroversial ECFA supported by both parties,” he said.
Wolfowitz pointed out that signing the ECFA will also promote relations between Taiwan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He specifically called on Beijing, once the ECFA is sealed, to declare that it would be happy to see the signing of a free trade agreement between ASEAN and Taiwan. (THN)
“What would make a real substantive difference would be if Taiwan could bring more international businesses to Taiwan. Maybe I am exaggerating here, but I think getting one major international corporation to make Taiwan the base for its regional operations would be worth more than all the possible memberships and participation in international organizations,” Wolfowitz said.It's always fun to compare outsiders with locals on the subject of Ma Ying-jeou. The pro-KMT paper UDN published another poll on Ma's satisfaction ratings, noting that 39% are satisfied, and 43% unsatisfied.
US business leaders found that Hong Kong provided a much more business-friendly environment than Taiwan, he said, despite the fact that Taiwan has major advantages over Hong Kong, including space and geography, air quality and freedom of expression, protection of intellectual property rights and the ready availability of Mandarin speakers.
Ma meanwhile announced a Golden Decade at his latest press conference.
Read that list carefully...
ROC President Ma Ying-jeou spoke of the coming “golden decade” for Taiwan while outlining his vision for the nation’s future at a news conference on the eve of his second year in office.
“I will do whatever benefits Taiwan and its people,” Ma said during his “Stride Forward, Create a Golden Decade” address delivered before a contingent of local and foreign media representatives at the Presidential Office May 19.
After nearly 24 months in power, Ma said the Kuomintang administration has succeeded in cracking down on corruption, promoting human rights, reforming financial policies, reaching consensus with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, initiating cross-strait dialogue, and expanding Taiwan’s international space.
- ....has Ma reached a consensus with the DPP? When did this happen?
- ....has Taiwan international space expanded? Or has diplomacy on Taiwan's behalf ceased?
- ....what corruption crackdown?
- ....human rights? There's been serious concern on that score among Taiwan watchers.
- ....cross-strait dialogue? Who is carrying that out? Did the Ma Administration initiate it, or was that the DPP (publicly) and the KMT (privately) years before Ma was elected.
So here we are: Only 3.75 percent of all administrative orders have been reviewed by the organ that supposedly keeps the government in check. And yet, Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) was telling reporters on Sunday that “All official dealings with China are supervised by the legislature … Everything is open and transparent.”But what would the week be without this gem of insight from our fearless leader:
Not only are orders not being monitored by the legislature, but amendments are being made that are so vague — intentionally so — that they can open doors to all kinds of abuse. Much as the “in the public interest” clause in the Computer-Processed Personal Data Protection Act (電腦保護個人資料處理法), amended on April 27, is vague enough to allow government authorities to interpret it in a manner that suits their needs, the amendment to the Act Governing Approval for Mainland Area Professionals to Engage in Professional Activities in Taiwan uses language (“making a contribution”) that can mean anything. What are “contributions” and who is the judge of that?
As I wrote in my review of Christine Loh’s (陸恭蕙) study of the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong, Underground Front, the danger of signing agreements Beijing-style is that everything is vague and open to interpretation — by those in power. Again, the entire negotiation process during the 1980s, in which the UK and Beijing prepared the terrain for handover in 1997, should be closely studied by Taiwanese watchers, as history appears to be repeating itself. One complaint on the British side and among those in Hong Kong who worried about their future, was that everything was done behind closed doors, by unelected elite with close ties to the business world, with little oversight or supervision, no public consultation. And a heavy does of vagueness.
“The US has never worried about its sovereignty as its economic ties with China tighten,” said Ma at an interview held by the Central News Agency (CNA), explaining the importance of the trade pact with China.No comment.
- Ma's Cronyism risks Taiwan's solvency, says Taiwan News (Video)
- Sinosplice on power struggles when speakers with different language expectations collide
- Canadian Intelligence says Chinese cyber attacks on Canadian targets growing.
- Jon Adams' excellent piece on the Lafayette Scandal at Global Post
- China unhappy with S Korea blaming N Korea for ship sinking.
- Taiwan imposes mandatory environmental education. No really, I'm not making this up.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!