The Atlantic reports that US Vice President Joe Biden is going to be in charge of China during 2012, which will feature leadership transitions in China, in Taiwan (hopefully) and in the US with election and second term of President Obama. Biden is not known to be a friend of Taiwan; with new leadership in Beijing, the Obama Administration is likely to begin with another round of concessions on permanent issues for temporary gains. The article says:
The view of some of the administration's China-handlers is that management of US-China policy has become so central to a vast array of other policy challenges that the administration's approach needs to be both broad and managed with "a deep and senior bench." The evolution of many functional offices at the Department of State and Treasury tasked with various line items in the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue has helped stabilize many aspects of the relationship and has helped to benchmark meeting to meeting progress on core concerns.The US-China relationship will be very interesting during Obama's second term....
WSJ blogs on the sudden re-appearance of Chen Shui-bian as it is likely he will attend the funeral of his wife's mother next week. Chen Shui-bian will receive permission to attend, will only be given three hours out of prison, will spend only a half-hour at the services, and must wear shackles and leg irons and be attended by guards at all times. Most of that is according to the law. There doesn't seem to be anything very political about the KMT's decision, in fact they seem to be loosely following the law -- the smart move for them would be to grant special clemency, let him speak to the press, and generally cause a ruckus that would harm the DPP four days before the election. But they hate him too much.
It's way cool that Korea is now a cultural exporter, with K-pop making it big all over the world. Unfortunately competition with Korea is a sore point for the locals. Case in point....
In 2010, Taiwanese TV stations aired 162 Korean dramas or an average of 13 dramas per month. They broadcast as many as 120 Korean dramas in last year`s first half, yet Korean dramas have faced a flurry of negative sentiments there. In September 2011, Wu Denyih, Taiwan`s administration chief, said, “Taiwanese TV programs are outdated and boring, and are filled with Korean dramas,” criticizing the excessive airing of Korean shows. Recently, Taiwan’s National Communications Commission requested that Taiwanese broadcasters refrain from airing Korean dramas. As an example, one TV station was advised to air programs other than Korean dramas for at least one hour between 6 p.m. to midnight per day.The weirdness of Taiwanese avidly watching Korean soaps despite the sensitivity of Taiwanese about things Korean has yet to be fully plumbed in the media or academia, AFAIK. The Taiwan National Communications Commission (NCC) recently ordered Gala TV to reduce its broadcasting of Korean soaps. Interestingly, this does not seem to have become an election issue for either party.
The Asian manufacturing picture is clouding, says WSJ. Manufacturing data have contracted for the fifth straight month in Korea and the seventh straight month in Taiwan (but the rate of decline is slowing). WSJ writes:
In Taiwan, HSBC's PMI remained well below 50 in December, though at 47.1 it did beat November's 43.7. Some 70% of Taiwan's gross domestic product comes from exporting electronic components, technology products and petrochemicals, leaving the small island particularly exposed to a global slowdown.
The effect of this steady slowdown on the Jan 14 elections may be muted because it has been so steady; people are adjusting to it as the new normality. Local makers like bike industry firms are waiting to see what will happen after Chinese New Year, as Europe implodes and America dithers, amid fears that the China market is looking like the bubble there might finally go ka-boom.
Portnoy has a great collection of Netizen's questions for the President over at Ballots and Bullets. Consider:
The ECFA that Government signed with China is designed to reduce the bilateral trade restrictions, however, the biggest barrier between Taiwan and China is nothing but Internet and information. It is well known, China’s Golden Shield is the most complex system for filtering and control of Internet speech. The gradual implementation of the Web site registration and users’ real-name system, among other measures, are turning the Internet in China into an Intranet. Many websites from Taiwan are blocked in China, and many Chinese websites in are extremely slow in Taiwan, which is extremely inconvenient for netizens to communicate on both sides. If you are elected, will you prioritize this issue, and how will you negotiate with China?Finally, Taihan has an excellent post on Taiwan's short-term energy security prospects. This is a comprehensive review and no excerpt can do justice to it. Go thou and read!
- WaPo hosts a video offering interviews with Ma and Tsai and coverage of the election. It's the usual line from Ma. He is always on message.
- Last DPP poll has Tsai up by a point. So they say. The KMT says its polls show their guy will win.
- AP actually reported on allegations that Ma is using the security forces to spy on Tsai Ing-wen. .
- Drew says Ma distances himself from the 1 Bike 1 promotion which looked like a thinly disguised campaign rally.
- Ang Lee drives US effects firm investment here in Taiwan.
[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! Delenda est, baby.