It was good that Stanton reminded readers of the pro-KMT UDN that the people of Taiwan should control how fast and how far engagement with China must go. Thanks! In the AIT summary on its website that is also mentioned. Stanton also spoke on the long-standing visa waiver issue:
Continued engagement is the best guarantee for maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, said William Stanton, director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), in an interview with a local newspaper on Thursday.
In the interview, Stanton reaffirmed that the US welcomes cross-strait engagement. However, he added, as Taiwan is a democratic country, it is up to the people of Taiwan to decide the speed and direction of such engagement.
Saying that quite a few Taiwanese people remain wary about the cross-strait detente, evidenced by the results of a series of local opinion surveys, Stanton said it is an issue that Taiwan’s current and future governments have to address.
Because Taiwanese citizens don't have to apply in person, the system can be gamed by Chinese who want to use Taiwan passports to enter the US. This lack of security in the application process is a big problem for the US.
Nevertheless, he said that the US is now in a dilemma over the issue because, while the US truly intends to grant Republic of China passport holders visa waiver privileges, it also hopes Taiwan can live up to the conditions set forth by the program.
Noting that the VWP program has many requirements, Stanton said the major hindrance to Taiwan’s inclusion was its failure to demand that its citizens apply in person for their passports.
And don't expect those F-16s any time soon. Stanton downplayed their importance in the interview. Taiwan recently said that it was suffering budget problems and couldn't afford systems it had already purchased.
The F-16s look like they are out of the question. Ironically the affected systems are part of the $6.4 billion dollar sale earlier this year that had China tying its underwear in knots.
The affected purchases include 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which were part of a $6.4 billion arms sale that set back U.S.-Chinese relations when it was announced in January.
Ruling party legislator Lin Yu-fang has issued a statement saying Taiwan also wants to postpone the purchase of six Patriot anti-missile batteries. In each case, delivery of the weapons would be delayed by three years.
Lin cited production schedules in the United States as well as Taiwan’s budget problems. The island is facing its third consecutive budget deficit.
- From 2009: Taiwan's killer mudslides
- Kaiyuan Monastery, reputedly Taiwan's oldest.
- David Reid looks at the Prediction market for 2012 and the five cities, which interestingly has Tsai slightly up on Chu in Xinbei.
- Did you know that Tonio Andrade's poorly-titled but otherwise wonderful book about the colonization of Taiwan, How Taiwan Became Chinese, is online?
- Ben on the outstanding verdict in case of the DPP councilors accused of destroying a historical relic.
- "Maritime Security in Southeast Asia: U.S., Japanese, Regional, and Industry Strategies" By John Bradford, James Manicom, Sheldon Simon and Neil Quartaro (NBR Special Report, November 2010)
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