China's Expansionist passport mess. The Christian Science Monitor's piece on that contained a striking observation:
Taiwan and China have set aside differences over sovereignty since 2008, when the island’s conciliatory President Ma Ying-jeou took office. Mr. Ma’s government has signed 18 deals with China, drawing Taiwan closer to the world economic powerhouse. Talks on those agreements built mutual trust that didn’t exist before.The "common ground" has always been a fantasy of the Ma Administration, or more correctly, a fantasy served up to outsiders to sell Ma's policy of slowly putting Taiwan into China's orbit via economic agreements (which have always been intended to lead to the "inevitable" political negotiations). China has not relaxed its campaign to annex Taiwan and suppress its international profile. We have no FTAs despite assurances that once ECFA was signed they'd be a cinch. China's campaign to acquire Taiwan's technology and hollow out its industries goes on. Etc. The real question is why there was ever "trust" in the first place.....
The island’s foreign ministry says that trust is now being questioned. The ministry’s news release calls China’s passport issue “a provocative act that will … damage the mutual trust laboriously built by the two sides in recent years.”
Taiwanese opposition forces are protesting the Chinese passports because they worry that the government is courting China rather than standing up to it, but analysts say officials in Taipei are just as irked as their skeptics.
“Our government thinks that China betrayed common ground, which is that there’s one China but subject to different interpretations,” says Nathan Liu, an associate international affairs professor at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, citing the basis for talks and deals since 2008.
Of course, the popularity of the DPP's sticker campaign also shows how, once again, Beijing has made its ally Ma Ying-jeou look weak. How long will Ma keep the faith with the dream of Zion? It's hurting the KMT domestically at the moment....perhaps the claim that trust has been impaired is a form of damage control aimed at its domestic image: "we're going to take a tougher line from now on..."
- Nice to see: the Council on Foreign Relations is normally unfriendly to Taiwan, so it was great to see this piece on the media and democracy. There is also a robust and sympathetic discussion from Democracy Chronicles.
- Another issue for Taiwan's family businesses, which sometimes surfaces in the media, is the ongoing problem of the succession: who will take over when the awesome, godlike, morally unique Founder goes to the great Manufactory in the Sky? WantWant
- I've complained bitterly on this blog about the otherworldly nature of economic discussions that fail to take into account China's desire to annex Taiwan. Thanks for this, Taipei Times.
- "The Suhua Highway has been closed at least 35 times between 2008 and this year, including 18 times this year alone, Hsiao said, adding that the closures have caused business losses of more than NT$1 billion (US$34.43 million) in eastern Taiwan this year." Taipei Times
- w00t!!! w00t!!! w00t!!! Frozen Garlic is back! By-elections in Taichung!
- Drew goes up to Wushe/Wujie, and brings back some of the best pics he's ever taken. Amazing.
- Shulung North point and trail pics.
- Pat Cowsill's new place, The Hammer. Must stop in for a visit.
- China port operators acquire a stake in Taiwan terminal.
- 3.8% econ growth predicted for 2013.
- David graphs murder rate against death penalty use in Taiwan. Taiwan plans to ring in the Lunar New Year with executions.
- Taiwan working on forming a laser industry cluster in the southern Taiwan science park. Such clusters are a key social and geographic feature of Taiwan's industries and an important source of their competitiveness.
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