Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wed Round up

Fish farms in Pingtung

Chris Horton with an optimistic piece about the new skyscraper going up next to Taipei 101. I've always thought Taipei 101 was hideously ugly, and that without buildings around it, it is hard to get a sense of how tall Taipei 101 really is. So this new building is progress, of a sorts.

This NYTimes report says the US apologized for confusing the PRC and the ROC (not "China and Taiwan" as the headline says)...
A Chinese official said on Monday that the United States had apologized for a White House statement that misidentified China’s leader, Xi Jinping, as president of the Republic of China — the formal name for Taiwan.
One reason Taiwan has so much trouble is all the confusion between the ROC and Taiwan, deliberately fostered by successive KMT governments, and media inability/laziness to be precise. The "Republic of China" is not the formal name of Taiwan. It is the formal name of the government that administrates Taiwan. Taiwan is not part of the ROC under US practice, US policy, and international law.

This unclarity has consequences later on in the article.
In December, Donald Trump, as president-elect, accepted a telephone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, which broke with decades of United States precedent and was considered a snub for Beijing. The United States severed formal ties with Taiwan in 1979 as part of the so-called One China policy under which it recognizes Beijing as the government of China.

Mr. Trump later suggested that he might not be bound by the One China policy, but he reaffirmed it during a call with Mr. Xi in February.
Note the part I have bolded. The NYTimes correctly notes that we have a one China policy, but then stops short of reporting the entirety of our policy with regard to Taiwan: our one China policy does not include Taiwan in "China".

Why is it so difficult to get that clearly stated in the media? Instead, the NYT piece seems to imply that Taiwan is considered part of China under our one China policy. *sigh*

J Michael Cole rounds up the viciousness of the response to desperately-needed pension reform (TT here). The government simply can't afford to continue colonial transfers of wealth to the KMT and its servants via these pension programs, which are outrageous. For example, a friend of my wife's, whose father was the local town administrator back in the day, retired at 60 with a pension equivalent to the pay of an assistant professor, having worked as a mid-level bureaucrat in a small town and being a KMT member. She was brought into the civil service through her father's connections and never took the civil service exam. She owns two buildings downtown and collects rents on several businesses and apartments, and has turned against the DPP for cutting her pension from 70K a month to a more realistic 40K -- when young workers have starting salaries below that level. She gets the 18%, of course.

It's tempting to see these people as selfish, but it is more complicated than that. Many old people recall their suffering in the Taiwan Miracle years, the hard work and long hours they put in. This is their reward. Moreover, the Miracle by-passed many mainlanders who lacked the skills and local connections to open businesses and instead served the authoritarian state. Now they see themselves as collecting their just return.

Huang Tien-lin with an excellent piece in the TT looking at China's continued erosion of Taiwan's economy...
In the first quarter of last year, the economy contracted by 0.23 percent, then grew by 1.13 percent in the second quarter, 2.03 percent in the third and 2.58 percent in the fourth, while in the first quarter of this year the economy grew by 2.56 percent.

The stock market has been performing even more strongly. On June 27, the TAIEX closed at a 17-year high of 10,513.96 points. Compared to Jan. 25 last year, when the TAIEX slumped to 7,762 points, the index has risen by 35.45 percent, making it one of Asia’s top-performing stock markets.

However, warning signs have begun to emerge which require a speedy response.

The first was the Economic Development Council’s composite economic growth indicator, which has been recording month-on-month falls in growth since January. April’s figure left the economy only 21 points short of losing the index’s “green light” rating which signifies “stable growth.”

A second is that in the first five months of this year, 214 Taiwanese businesses received approval to invest in China — an increase of 120 percent on the previous year’s figure. It appears that Beijing’s active infiltration of senior civil service officials sympathetic to the pan-blue camp is beginning to bear fruit, while Beijing’s overarching strategy to overwhelm Taiwan’s smaller economy and integrate it into its own is yielding results.

Another aspect to the flurry of investment in China is that domestic investment is severely lacking. Private sector investment growth is only 1.95 percent. Beijing is keenly aware that the cross-strait stalemate is beneficial to Taiwan’s economic recovery.
Like I and many others have observed, and contrary to international media reports, Beijing must have cross-strait interactions because they are vital to its long-term strategy (which Huang discusses) of gutting Taiwan's economy, the prop of its democracy. That is why there is never a threat to Taiwanese investments in China, etc.

Huang's observation that the x-strait stalemate serves Taiwan's recovery is spot on. Note Huang's assertion that the KMT helped China-bound businesses, which resulted in sluggish inward investment. No kidding -- that preferential treatment of Taiwan firms moving to China, and of big business, not only harmed Taiwan, but cost the KMT the 2016 election.
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!


Anonymous said...

If you Taiwanese investment to China harmed taiwan. Why don't you allow Chinese investment in Taiwan to make up for it? :P

This kinda protectionism is futile. China is gonna be $30-40 trillion dollar economy in 2 decades. Taiwan will either have to completely integrate with China or gradually become poorer and poorer as taiwanese brain drain keeps increasing. All taiwanese will go to China to live & jobs.

Taiwan's fate is sealed. It will be completely integrated to Chinese economy whether it wants it or not

Anonymous said...

Dream on troll.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte Gao accuse Tsai administration of " abandon the fundamental concept of Taiwan being part of the ROC"