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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

It’s time for electoral retribution

While campaigning in Yilan ahead of this Saturday’s local government elections, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) broke a ban on publicly discussing election-related opinion polls when he mentioned support figures for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates and those for the opposition.

Since taking control of both the executive and the party, Ma’s behavior has become increasingly irresponsible. If voters do not teach him a lesson in the elections and allow the KMT to emerge unscathed from these blunders, Ma is likely to pay even less attention to public opinion in future.

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Exit Saito, enter uncertainty

The resignation yesterday of Masaki Saito, Japan’s de facto ambassador to Taiwan, marks a new chapter in ailing ties between Tokyo and Taipei. The question is whether this represents a chance for the relationship to start afresh between the Taiwanese government and a new Japanese administration, or augurs a further deterioration.

Saito’s position became increasingly untenable earlier this year after he suggested that Taiwan’s international status is unresolved. The fact that this was true did not lessen the awkwardness of his injection into the debate on Taiwan’s sovereignty and identity. With a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government in power, and no shortage of KMT legislators ready to assail Japan over the smallest perceived slight, Saito learned the hard way that diplomacy and truth-telling are rarely soulmates.

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Taiwan Under Ma Ying-jeou, More Smoke and Mirrors as the Cross-strait Sell Out Continues

As Ma Ying-jeou works his shady cross-strait deals, he tries to flash the carrot of how China will save Taiwan. Forget the fact that the Chinese dumped poisoned milk products etc. on Taiwan. Forget the fact that the great China tourist influx failed. There, not only did the numbers not materialize, but even the few tourists that came, how shall we put it, were cheap. They did not spend much. Certainly not as much as the Japanese or even the Koreans whose tourists Ma should have promoted more in the first place. But let us return to the cross-strait promises. Again, the reality is proving the opposite. Opposite, unless you want to say that under Ma the rich will get richer, but the poor will get poorer. Examine the recent housing news.

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Lies, obfuscation and hypocrites

Responding to a recent article by Kyodo News Agency titled “When Taiwan-Japan relations run afoul, there’s always Hatta Yoichi,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Tokyo last week once again highlighted the government’s tendency to obfuscate and its refusal to acknowledge public apprehension about its policies.

The office called a passage in the report “groundless” that read “while Ma has wooed China, restarted formal negotiations across the Taiwan Strait and signed trade agreements with Beijing, Taipei’s relations with Tokyo have mostly stagnated.” Yet the office did not meet the allegations directly, choosing instead to rehash the old platitudes of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — no unification, no independence and no use of force — while adding that the ongoing negotiations with China are “based not on political but rather economic objectives.”

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Is the US marginalizing Taiwan?

US President Barack Obama’s first visit to China caused a dispute between Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties over whether it resulted in an upgrade or a downgrade of US-Taiwan relations.

In my opinion, the structure, wording and spirit of the US-China joint statement issued by Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) imply the removal of certain aspects previously accentuated in the US “one China” policy. My reasons are as follows:

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A recovery with concerns attached

The economy is finally showing signs of shifting from a slowdown to steady growth, with the Council for Economic Planning and Development’s economic monitoring indicators flashing a “green light” signal last month for the first time since May last year.

Until then, the economy had flashed 10 blue-light signals (recession) and seven yellow-blue light signals (economic slowdown) over 17 months amid the global financial crisis.

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Newsflash

Former US representative Tom Tancredo visited former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in hospital yesterday and expressed his concerns about Chen’s health.

A former representative from Colorado, Tancredo, 66, arrived in Taipei late on Thursday and visited Chen at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, accompanied by former Democratic Progressive party (DPP) legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮).