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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

By all means, please interfere

The focus of this weekend’s ASEAN summit in Thailand was, as one would expect, the economy. With representatives from six extra countries attending talks — Australia, India, New Zealand, China, Japan and South Korea — all eyes were on the future of Asia’s growing economic strength.

But the summit also brought ASEAN’s human rights body to fruition after years in the making. Considering the poor records of many of ASEAN’s members, that should have been cause for applause. Rights groups both within ASEAN countries and abroad are, however, concerned that the body is little more than show.


The ‘former bitter rivals’ fantasy

No sooner had President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) launched his rapprochement initiative with Beijing than some international wire agencies began referring to Taiwan and China as “former bitter rivals.” This characterization of an ongoing process is not only inaccurate but also creates the false impression that the threat the Taiwan Strait represents to regional stability is a thing of the past. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Protection needed to dispel legal questions

The Council of Grand Justices released Constitutional Interpretation no. 656 on Oct. 16. Most of the justices agreed that combining former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) cases and his long-term detention were constitutional. However, six of the justices voiced partly or wholly differing opinions. The biggest controversy was whether the Taipei District Court’s change of judges in Chen’s trial after the combining of the cases violated the principle of legally competent judges.


U.S. needs balanced policy toward Taiwan

In his first meeting with the Taiwan news media last week, newly arrived American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei representative William A. Stanton focussed on reemphasizing that there will be no change in Washington's policy toward Taiwan under the new Democratic administration of President Barack Obama in line with the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).


Don’t put US credibility to the test

A Japanese reporter asks an intriguing question. China is fortifying its nuclear deterrent with road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the DF-31As showcased at the Oct. 1 military parade in Tiananmen Square, and with formidable Type 094 ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs). This weaponry will guarantee Beijing’s capacity to strike US cities in wartime. In light of that, can Japan count on the US to retaliate against a Chinese nuclear attack on the Japanese archipelago?

In theory, yes; in reality, it depends.


Can the KMT clean up its act?

The members of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) newly elected power center, the Central Standing Committee, resigned en masse at their first meeting, forcing a re-election. This is unprecedented in the century-long history of the KMT. Although it highlights the fact that the corruption that lies at the heart of the KMT has not disappeared, we will have to wait and see if this is the event that finally prompt party reform.

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A new analysis of China’s latest defense white paper concludes that it is part and parcel of Beijing’s “political warfare against Taiwan.”

The analysis by Richard Fisher, a senior fellow on Asian military affairs at the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the white paper “provides a disturbing insight into the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy of coercive envelopment of Taiwan.”

Fisher said the paper was “a stark reminder of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] ongoing strategy of economic and political ‘united front’ warfare combined with military intimidation, which the PRC could decide to change into a direct military campaign at any point in the future.”