Sunday, August 24, 2008

News Shorts

Quote of the day from an overseas Taiwanese friend, on turnout at a pro-Taiwan demonstration in the US: I told my mother today, "Well if Taiwan was invaded you'd see as many Taiwanese out today." She shot back, "Taiwan is already invaded, fool!"

Well, Obama has picked Biden. An interesting choice, an Establishment senator from working class roots. Xiangwei has collected a bunch of news articles from the Chinese press on Biden in China. Biden favors "engagement" with China, whatever that means. He also appears to think positively about Taiwan. UPDATE: Nope, I'm totally wrong. Biden appears to be useless on Taiwan. See comments below + some other stuff I hope to have up soon.

I was contemplating this e-government survey that puts Taiwan at number 2 in the world. Better than any medal at the Olympics. Taiwan has also seen $60 million in investment in the new software park down south, but everyone here is crying over the baseball team, which will do nothing to better the people's lives. Get some perspective folks, and cry over things that matter, like jobs, foreign policy, and the environment.

Ma has once again called on the US to speed up the arms approval.

The Chen Affair continues. First, former First lady Wu says the money wired overseas came from election funds, which would make it legal. How dumb is it to wire money overseas when every policeman and prosecutor in the nation is watching you, and when Taiwan is a member of an anti-money laundering group? The Chens found three witnesses to say that First lady Wu managed the campaign funds. A former cabinet member is also questioned in connection with the funds. A KMT legislator goes down on bribery charges, prosectors seek a 10 year term. KMT attack dog Chiu Yi, who has been flinging accusations right and left, got sued by Taishin Bank for repeatedly alleging that it had paid off President Chen. Suing Chiu Yi is a bit like whipping a sadist; it just excites him. He sued back, the papers reported the other day. The Ministry of Justice said that the findings in the Chen probe will be back in one week. Prosecutors have been looking at Chen since '06. Can anyone explain why they didn't find $21 million just lying around in Chen's accounts?

The Humane Society has an interview with one of the people behind the recent decision of the National Palace Museum to take Shark's Fin soup off the menu. It would be great if Chinese would give up the habit of eating this soup, which has no real nutritional benefit and does great harm to the environment.

The Daily Yomiuri reports on the proposal to build a bridge between Jinmen and China.

Finally, everyone has heard that GDP growth is expected to slow to 4.3% this year (Ma save us!). Conventional wisdom is that the slowdown is due to the problems overseas, but in fact Kathrin Hille of the Financial Times reports that it is actually weakening domestic demand that slammed the economy first:

In the three months to June 30, Taiwan’s gross domestic product increased 4.32 per cent over the same period last year, down from 6.25 per cent growth in the first quarter, the cabinet’s statistics agency said.

The numbers mean that the government of President Ma Ying-jeou is set to miss even its revised growth target. He won the elections in March on a pledge to help the economy grow by 6 per cent. The government later said that in the face of the global slowdown, it would seek to achieve 5 per cent.

“Domestic demand was weak and came in far below expectations, and [only] strong demand from emerging markets helped to still achieve decent growth,” the statistics agency said.


Ma has saved us from 6.25% growth! We're so lucky to have him in charge! The government is pinning its hopes on tourism and infrastructure to boost the numbers next year, according to Hille:

The cabinet had hoped demand would strengthen following a deal with China under which its citizens can visit Taiwan as tourists. But the situation has failed to improve as the local stock market has shed gains, inflation has increased public worries, and the expected tourists have failed to appear.

But officials hope more tourists will arrive next year and, along with the effects of an infrastructure spending programme, will give a boost to confidence.


However, analysts quoted therein observe that government growth forecasts are too optimistic, and slumping external demand, following on the heels of slumping domestic demand, will hit the economy again. All the Asian economies are taking a beating at the moment, so clearly it isn't Ma's fault. The real test will be how the Ma Administration responds to this mess. At present I don't think inflationary spending on infrastructure projects is the way out....



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. Thanks for quoting mine.

Would you like to host a column on my blog on Taiwan's future and its relationship with China?

www.chinationreport.com

Anonymous said...

It's not my business, but I've read many of chination's posts on Profret's blog. Imho, this person is a one sided, PRC nationalist troll. Be careful dealing with this site.

Maoman said...

Taiwan has also seen $60 million in investment in the new software park down south, but everyone here is crying over the baseball team, which will do nothing to better the people's lives.
Bread and Circus, but more circus than bread, it seems.
The Humane Society has an interview with one of the people behind the recent decision of the National Palace Museum to take Shark's Fin soup off the menu.
Great news! I was at that restaurant last month (very nice place, btw), and I was a little dismayed to see all the different shark fin soups they had on the menu.

marc said...

Re the Humane Society taking Shark's Fin soup off the menu at the NPM:

tsk, tsk. More desinicization!

Readin said...

Senator Biden "appears to think positively about Taiwan"? No. He's close to Ma on the Taiwan issue.

In 2001 Biden said, "that we support a one- China policy, but it rests upon a cross-strait dialogue where the countries, where the parties, mutually arrive at how unification will take place peacefully"

and later added

"You are no longer an independent country. You are no longer an independent nation-state. We've agreed that you are going to be part of China and that you will work it out under what conditions. So don't go declaring independence"

http://www.taiwandc.org/twcom/99-no5.htm

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2001/09/12/102583

Anonymous said...

Slowdown in China Hits Taiwan

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121969075330470021.html?mod=googlenews_wsj