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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Ma administration rolls over again

This government’s ability to capitulate at the drop of a hat when dealing with China never ceases to amaze.

The latest example came on Friday last week when Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Chairman Sean Chen (陳冲) told legislators that he would not sign the cross-strait financial memorandum of understanding (MOU) if China failed to respect Taiwan’s request that his full official title appear on the document. He added that he would rather not sign at all if doing so would put “national sovereignty on the line.”

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Furtive government deals disturbing

Following the ruckus last month in which the government took the public and the legislature by surprise with its sudden announcement that it was lifting a ban on US bone-in beef imports, the government did it again on Monday night: It blitzed the public and lawmakers with a declaration that it had signed a financial memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China.

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Let them come, let them speak

With closer, more frequent and open cultural and academic exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) may hope to foster an image of rapprochement, if not understanding. While such contact is not new and happened, albeit in a low-profile fashion, during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, the seniority of the Chinese officials and academics invited to speak at forums in Taiwan and the coverage the meetings have received is unprecedented in 60 years of cross-strait diplomacy.

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USC's Annenberg School, Soft Power and Taiwan: Part III Responses

A classic statements contrasting hard power with soft power would be that of Joseph Stalin who asked, "The Pope, how many divisions does he have?" If ever there was a man of hard power, it was Stalin, and if ever there was a man of soft power it would be the Pope. Taiwan cannot liken itself to the Pope but facing the hard power of the People's Republic of China (PRC) it knows it cannot match the PRC plane for plane, missile for missile, ship for ship etc. What then must it do? This was the question raised and the direction suggested in the conference mentioned in Parts I & II previously posted on November 6 and 8. Taiwan needs soft power.

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Letting the public have its say on policies

The results of US-Taiwan negotiations on beef imports and the government’s subsequent attitudes and actions in dealing with the matter reflect the failings of a political system characterized by one-party rule.

The government ignored the importance of the issue from the start and paid no attention to South Korea’s problems after it allowed US beef to be imported again. Negotiations lasted for 17 months yet lacked communication with the legislature, opposition parties and civic organizations. The government was so arrogant that it did not even consult experts on mad cow disease.

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Misjudging public opinion

Taiwan is not only passive on cross-strait matters, it is at an impasse. Academics from Chinese think tanks made loud calls at a recent seminar in Taiwan for the two sides to begin political talks, while Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) proposed launching talks on a peace accord when meeting former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) at the APEC summit in Singapore.

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Newsflash

The Executive Yuan is only giving the Ministry of National Defense US$3.7 billion for the upgrade of the nation’s ageing F-16 aircraft, a decision that could have serious implications for the air force’s ability to ensure air superiority in the Taiwan Strait, the Taipei Times has learned.

As a result of that decision, the ministry has told the air force that it cannot afford to spend US$5.1 billion on the upgrade package, notified to US Congress in September last year, for its 145 F-16A/Bs.