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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Taiwan needs consensus before talks with PRC

In the wake of the sweep of three legislative by-elections by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, President Ma Ying-jeou and his right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) administration should cease their habitual "black box" decision making style in favor of a more open and consultative method that can build consensus on the critical challenges facing Taiwan.

Saturday's sweep by the DPP of formerly KMT held seats in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung Counties displayed the gap between the Ma government's policies and the public will and demonstrated the vulnerability of both the KMT's current huge legislative majority and even Ma's own chances of re-election in early 2012 if his government does not change its ways.

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PRC barks sanctions, but can it bite?

Following announcements by the Obama administration last week that sales of weapons systems to Taiwan approved by the previous administration would proceed, Beijing reacted with its usual contempt, claiming that Washington’s decision would undermine US-China ties and represented meddling in China’s internal affairs.

One thing that Beijing did differently this time, however, was up the ante by hinting that the sale could result in trade sanctions against the US firms involved. This unprecedented threat — ostensibly targeting Lockheed Martin Corp, which was awarded a contract to sell Taipei an unspecified number of Patriot missiles — was yet another sign that China now perceives itself as a “Great Power” and that it can now threaten countermeasures that hitherto had mostly been the remit of leading states like the US, or groups like the EU.

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The Dragon's Swagger

BEIJING — A U.S. official here told me he was “getting a little nervous about 2010” when it comes to Chinese-American relations. I’d say there’s plenty of cause for that. I’m not optimistic about the world’s most important relationship in the short term.

The Obama administration came in with a deeply held philosophical view about making the Chinese stakeholders, and partners, in an interconnected world. Human rights complaints were muted, the Dalai Lama put on hold, and President Obama swung into town in November with arms outstretched to the rising behemoth.

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Move to Replace Taiwan Editor Spurs Talk

About two weeks after one of Taiwan’s leading newspapers, the China Times, published a front-page story that called China’s envoy to Taiwan a “C-list politician,” the paper’s editor-in-chief was replaced.

The newspaper said the replacement was a routine rotation. However, it fueled talk at the paper and at the island’s other publications that the move was spurred by anger in China over the story and that it was another sign of China’s increasing clout in Taiwan.

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The Taiwan Arms-Sales Equation

When most Americans think of China, they recall the majestic 2008 Summer Olympics, cheap goods and some relative or friend who has just returned from visiting the economic wonders of Shanghai or Beijing. When they hear about Chinese protestations over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, as they did last week, they are often a bit surprised we even do such things anymore.

Yet the recent U.S. sale of Patriot antimissile systems to Taiwan is both strategically inadequate and long-delayed, and should be of great concern not merely to the Taiwanese but to the United States and its allies as well.

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DPP sweep boosts Taiwan democracy

Following its victory in a critical legislative by-election in Yunlin County in late September and a strong showing in local mayoral elections in December, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party scored another political triumph by sweeping three legislative by-election seats in Taoyuan County, Taichung County and Taitung County Saturday.

These results marked a major step toward the deepening of Taiwan democracy by showing the increasing independence of voters and their capability to exercise an unexpected degree of "check and balance" over the "one party dominant" Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government of President Ma Ying-jeou.

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Newsflash

The Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday said that it made mistakes that eventually led to the long lines in last month’s nine-in-one elections, adding that it would increase the number of polling stations in coming elections and review rules on when to hold referendums.

The 10 referendums held alongside the local elections on Nov. 24 were approved in October, leaving the government with less than two months to make the necessary adjustments at polling stations, whose planning had been finalized in August, the commission said in a report submitted to the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee, which is to be reviewed today.