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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

The 'one-term' specter over Ma and Obama

In the wake of electoral setbacks suffered by United States President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, the Taiwan news media could not refrain from comparing the situation of the U.S. president with his counterpart, President Ma Ying-jeou of the rightist Chinese National Party (Kuomintang).

After all, Ma's ruling KMT has similarly suffered a series of defeats at the polls, beginning with a stunning victory by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in a legislative by-election in Yunlin County in September, followed by the loss of benchmark Yilan County and a poorer-than-expected vote tally in the Dec. 5 "three-in-one" local polls and a DPP sweep of three legislative by-elections Jan. 9.


Ma and Obama: like night and day

Last year was a bad one for national leaders around the world, most of whom were unable to hold their heads high. Although it is difficult to satisfy the public at a time of economic downturn, high unemployment, global warming and complex domestic political, economic and social problems, this is a test of our leaders.

Like US President Barack Obama, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) started off with high approval ratings and has since seen his popularity drop. But these two leaders have responded very differently to the situation.


Central bank must be independent

In recent days and weeks, the central bank has been busy refuting market rumors and media speculation that its repeated warnings on inflows of hot money and its checks on banks’ foreign-exchange transactions and forward trades have caused a decline on the stock market.

For its part, the central bank has done what it is required to do to safeguard the nation’s economy, monetary policy and price stability in the long term, although its recent rhetoric did have a direct impact on the exchange rate of the New Taiwan dollar and indirectly on the stock market. Make no mistake, the currency markets can impact equity markets in various ways — and vice versa.


Forcing Taiwan's KMT to Face the Reality of Loss

The death of a dream and the loss of a country are terrible things to face and admit. It has been sixty years since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost its civil war in China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drove them into exile. Sixty years! But even though sixty years have passed, many KMT members have still not gone through the five stages of the grieving process and come to accept that loss. Instead, they remain locked in one or other of the earlier stages of grief (denial, anger, and bargaining). Acceptance is too hard a pill to swallow, but as the KMT wallows in its grief, denial and pity, Taiwan suffers.


Taiwan-China ECFA unequal from start

Delegations from Taiwan and the People's Republic of China launched negotiations in Beijing earlier this week toward a controversial "economic cooperation agreement" that is being vigorously promoted by President Ma Ying-jeou's rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government as a panacea for our economic future.

Unfortunately, the talks, which are taking place under the framework of the non-official platform between Taipei's Strait Exchange Foundation and Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, promptly began with a major degradation of Taiwan's international status.


Chinese QDII an opiate, not savior

The local stock market has recently been the target of speculative investment from China’s qualified domestic institutional investors (QDII), but after a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cross-strait financial supervision took effect on Jan. 16, the bubble that had been growing for so long finally burst when the Financial Supervisory Commission announced an investment limit for Chinese QDII of US$500 million.

This figure was one-60th of the US$30 billion that certain media outlets had talked about when trying to hype the issue. Although the reported figure was later changed to US$1 billion, that figure was still twice the final amount. The overall market value of the Taiwanese stock market is more than NT$20 trillion (US$624.4 billion), so the NT$16 billion that China’s QDII will be allowed to invest will be a drop in the ocean. This shows how all the talk about Chinese QDII investment was a deliberate fabrication by the government to trick investors into thinking things were looking good, and a topic that big market players and pro-unification media blew out of all proportion.

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Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance convener Kao Cheng-yan, center, and others hold up signs with the text “Fourth Nuclear Power Plant referendum, let the public decide” outside the Joint Central Government Office Building in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Supporters and opponents of nuclear energy verbally clashed yesterday at a public hearing held by the Central Election Commission, as it reviews a referendum proposal on whether fuel rods should be inserted to start test operations of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City.

“How will we handle nuclear waste? How will we evacuate the millions of residents in Greater Taipei in the event of a nuclear disaster? I don’t think we should continue developing nuclear energy until we can answer these questions,” an anti-nuclear activist surnamed Sui (隋) said. “Moreover, a nuclear power plant can operate for up to 40 years, and produce hundreds of tonnes of nuclear waste. How much should we pay for 40 years of energy supply?”