Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Drive Bys for Wednesday

Defense News is reporting that the US has released Harpoon rounds to Taiwan. It's not a big arms sale (~$90 million), dollar-wise, but the sale of missiles to the island has raised hopes that the Bush Administration may ease the freeze. The missiles are to be mounted on the P-3C Orion subhunting aircraft whose purchase has already been authorized.

Corruption? The China Times claimed today that Merrill Lynch had sent two executives to Taiwan in connection with the investigation into former President Chen, and news reports also said other foreign financial houses were cooperating. For light entertainment, contemplate the news that the speaker of the Tainan County Council was indicted for fixing baseball games. This might be appalling, if it didn't happen every couple of years in Taiwan baseball. Hackers in China and Taiwan stole the personal data of President Chen and President Ma, among 50 million other records stolen.

Not that corruption matters since all of us in central Taiwan will be dying of respiratory disease anyway as Taipower attempts to push ahead with plans to build a coal-fired electricity plant in Changhua just 15 kms from the plant in Taichung which was identified in 2007 as the single most polluting electric plant in the world. At last we have leadership in something!

On the economic front China's weakening appetite for exports is slamming Taiwan, as export orders fell in July to their slowest pace in 5 years and leading economic indicators slipped. No problem, because Taiwan is building a massive resort north of Taipei on vacant public land that will be bigger than Disneyland:

Central government authorities have given a verbal nod to the 372 hectare (930 acre) Integrated Family Resort on vacant public land along the coast north of Taipei, Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei said.

Bidding will begin next year, he said, and construction should take three years.

"It's bigger than Disneyland, a lot bigger. It's a huge, huge place," Chou told Reuters in an interview after returning from Las Vegas to talk with four hotel firms about investing. "Only like this can you get international tourists to come."

The project is expected to cost at least T$10 billion ($328 million).

A promotional video for the park shows high-rises, including hotels and exhibition spaces, shaped like balls, eggs and blow-up inner tubes for tires.

Some resemble skyscrapers along the waterfront in Dubai, which Chou described as a model for his project. Developers in the fast-growing United Arab Emirates city are adding new islands, channels and gleaming high-rises to the coastline.

Perhaps that resort will help handle the influx of Chinese tourists President Ma says will come in September. If that doesn't work out, perhaps Taiwan's entry into robot markets can save us. Ma meanwhile claimed that GDP will grow 4.8% in 2008, above the government forecast. This is after revising his original 6% promise to 5%. As Ma warns China that it should respond positively to his truce US Treasury Secretary Paulson is on audio at the CFR discussing the right way to engage China.

Finally, a couple of posts down I blogged on the Olympic mess and the Chinese Taipei name game. The US Open (tennis) is now using Chinese Taipei. Check the drop down menu: it says Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). If you have a moment, contact them through the form at the bottom of the screen.


Tommy said...

The US Open thing is very interesting. If you click on Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), a screen opens with the Taiwanese players. Interestingly enough, they have a miniature version of the flag Taiwan uses for the Olympics. I wonder how that happened. I have read that any use of the Olympic rings or even arrangements of five rings is a copyright infringement. So could the US Open be infringing on Olympic copyrights by using the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag?

This is very fishy. I sent them a complaint about the name. I wish I made a difference to them.

Anonymous said...

I clicked in the link, and then had to click on quite a few more links to find the contact form. Here's a link in case others want to contact the US open:




I am an American citizen living and working in Taiwan.

Can you please explain to me why the US Open is now listing Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei"?

I'm sorry, but doing that shows considerable ignorance on your part, because "Chinese Taipei" is a made-up name. There IS no such place. Please check your world map-- Taipei is only one city in Taiwan.

Only China is Chinese-- no other place else in the world is Chinese. Taiwan is Taiwanese. Just as only Italy is Italian, and only Japan is Japanese.

If Germany told you to list Austria as "German Vienna", would you do it? What sort of pressure would be sufficient for you to list Australia as "English Canberra"? And what sort of opinion do you think people would then have of your organization?

Please don't bend so easily to pressure from China, because everybody knows that's what this is all about. Don't let China use your organization to politicize sports in this way.


John in Tainan, Taiwan

Richard said...

Here's the direct link to contact USTA:

I hadn't noticed them using Chinese Taipei in the past either although I've watched it every year. I suppose it's because Taiwan's guys hardly make it into the quarters, let alone 2nd/3rd rounds. But, I sent an e-mail. Looking at the other grandslams, they've all changed, or have been using Chinese Taipei, with Wimbledon completely leaving out the 'in parenthesis,' Taiwan after the Chinese Taipei.

Anonymous said...

"Ma meanwhile claimed that GDP will grow 4.8% in 2008, above the government forecast. This is after revising his original 6% promise to 5%."

Did Ma revise his goals for all four years? It doesn't make sense for trying to hit 5% for this year for sure, so I'm not sure what you mean (but that's because Ma apparently isn't saying something coherent).

cfimages said...

I wonder how Taipower's plans for their power station will mesh with the Changhua govt's proposal to build a massive entertainment resort complete with casinos and 5 star hotels in the same general area. It was only a month or so ago that they submitted the funding proposal to the central govt for approval.

無名 - wu ming said...

is that coal power plant the source of the mysterious taichung black dust that settled on everything? i lived there a decade ago, and was rather disconcerted by the black dust, having no idea where it was coming from.