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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Ma still unclear on Taiwan’s status

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) often asks his critics why they question his determination to uphold Taiwan’s national interests and dignity as a sovereign nation. A review of some of his remarks will perhaps provide the president with a hint as to why so many people continue to remain stubbornly unconvinced.

On Monday, when meeting with Texas Governor Rich Perry, Ma referred to Taiwan as a “province” when speaking of the sister-state relations between Taiwan and Texas. Even though Resolution 81(R) HR, 1593 passed last June by the Texas House of Representatives, describes the link between Texas and Taiwan as a “sister-state relationship,” Ma chose to say “sister state and sister province” relationship when he expressed gratitude to the governor over the passage of the resolution.

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New opportunities for Taiwan

Recently, there have been a number of labor protests in China, something rarely seen since the Chinese Communist Party took power. These protests were sparked initially by conditions at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, which led to a spate of suicides and resulted in the company promising to increase wages by 122 percent.

This was predictably followed by demands from other workers’ groups for pay increases and, with tacit official approval, the minimum wage was raised. These changes are moving beyond the relatively wealthy areas of the Pearl River Delta manufacturing region and around Shanghai, further inland to regions such as Jiangxi and Shanxi provinces. If the trend continues, it could spread throughout the country. Although this is an internal matter for China, it also represents a huge opportunity for Taiwan.

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Ma hails ‘Taiwan Province’-Texas ties

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) referred to Taiwan as a “province” yesterday while describing the sister-state relationship between Taiwan and Texas, rekindling the controversial issue of his perception of Taiwan’s status.

Ma told Texas Governor Rick Perry during a meeting at the Presidential Office that the country’s relationship with Texas was a close one.

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PRC aims to cut off U.S. arms to Taiwan

Former American Institute in Taiwan chairman Richard Bush pointed to the essential dilemma in cross-strait relations last week when he questioned why Beijing is still deploying missiles to threaten Taiwan despite the "reconciliation" policy of President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government.

Unfortunately, Bush, now director for East Asian policy studies at the Brookings Institution, failed to note that it is precisely the capitulationist nature of the KMT's "reconciliation" with the Chinese Communist Party that has placed Taiwan in an increasingly unfavorable position in dealings with the PRC. The KMT has been conducting negotiations with its former bitter rival since KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan embarked on a kowtowing visit to CCP General Secretary and PRC State Chairman Hu Jintao in Beijing in April 2005 and Ma has made the "reconciliation" and an unilateral "diplomatic truce" official policy since taking office in May 2008.

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High Court extends former president’s period of custody

The Taiwan High Court yesterday extended former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) detention by two months on the grounds that he may flee the country if released.

The ruling dashed his family’s hopes that Chen, whose current detention order expires on Wednesday, would be released following their request to Swiss banking authorities that money be sent to a bank account designated by the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office. Taiwan High Court judge Teng Chen-chiu (鄧振球) has previously said the move could enhance the chances of the former president being released.

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Workers in China will stand up for their rights

When people talk about “bearing a cross,” they usually mean being oppressed, going to jail and suffering physical torment, so it’s surprising to hear a Taiwanese tycoon who lives in luxury and flies in a private plane saying he is “bearing a cross” because some employees at his factories in China have killed themselves. Even if he is as upset as he claims, the phrase is poorly chosen. If those workers could enjoy even 1 percent of the tycoon’s daily comforts, they probably wouldn’t want to jump off roofs.

Living in luxury and bearing crosses — this strange combination highlights how businesses investing in China are entangled in a heartless and contradictory world. On the one hand, these employers provide impoverished Chinese with employment opportunities, while on the other they rely on the Chinese government’s repressive policies to help them exploit the workers and amass great wealth for themselves.

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Newsflash

Despite a major new report by the US’ Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) making it clear Taiwan’s Air Force is in poor shape, it is by no means certain that Washington will sell Taipei the 66 advanced F-16C/D fighters it wants, sources in Washington said.

A White House source said US President Barack Obama had not made up his mind about the sale.