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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Negotiating Taiwan’s sovereignty

Since taking office last year, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has many times assured the public that his administration will deal with economic issues first and not engage in political negotiations with China until Beijing removes the missiles aimed at Taiwan. However, the Ma administration has reneged on this pledge, just as it has on so many other promises it has made.

In reality, political contacts between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have already commenced in various hidden forms.

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Nan Shan deal: Too much at stake

The government’s regulatory agencies last week lashed out at a Hong Kong consortium’s plan to sell 30 percent of its stake in Nan Shan Life Insurance Co to Chinatrust Financial Holding Co. However, the Nan Shan deal has also put the regulatory agencies’ credibility to the test, with the public watching closely if they will approve the deal eventually.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong-listed China Strategic Holdings Ltd — which, along with private equity fund Primus Financial Holdings Ltd, had purchased a 97.57 percent stake in Nan Shan last month from American International Group Inc (AIG) for approximately US$2.15 billion — announced unexpectedly that it planned to sell 30 percent of the Nan Shan shares to Chinatrust Financial for US$660 million.

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Obama’s Chinese lesson

US President Barack Obama’s visit to China was most notable for his hosts’ refusal to play his game. Nothing could have been more symbolically ludicrous and deflating for Obama and the dignity of the office of US president than speaking before a bunch of hand-picked university students taking part in a “town hall” address in Shanghai. Never mind that the students were mostly or all members of the Chinese Communist Party, that they asked vetted, even infantile, questions or that the students who sat behind Obama — and were thus visible to TV and online audiences — behaved as if they couldn’t understand a word.

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SEF-ARATS talks subvert Taiwanese sovereignty

The resumption of talks between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) has been flaunted by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as one of his major political achievements. With the fourth round of talks between SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) scheduled for next month, how should we assess these high-level talks?

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Did the DPP fall into a US beef trap?

The expediency with which the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration announced it was lifting a partial ban on US beef imports — and the predictable response this engendered from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) — raises questions about the government’s intent that go well beyond food safety issues. National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi’s (蘇起) admission that “poor communication” marred the announcement is insufficient to dispel doubts that the move by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-led executive branch was a strategy to further undermine the DPP’s already strained relations with the US.

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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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Newsflash

Both Google’s threat to withdraw from the Chinese market and the reaction of Western countries to the heavy sentence handed down to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) may be signs that the honeymoon period between the West and China has ended, Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) said yesterday.

Wang made the remarks at a press conference held in Taipei attended by a number of political activists voicing their support for Google and for Liu.