TAIWAN INSIDER Vol. 2 No. 25

Week of June 20-26, 2015
Staff
By

The Asia and international editions of Time magazine publish an interview with DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen; KMT presidential candidate Hung’s master’s degree is in question; Hung clarifies her “one-China” stance, President Ma says third-party adjudication for South China Sea disputes is unpalatable to China. Welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider.

 

► PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS

TSAI ON COVER OF ‘TIME’ MAGAZINE: The latest Asia and international editions of Time magazine ran an interview with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential hopeful Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday, with Tsai featuring on the cover. The article introduced Tsai as a politician who, while confident about her chances in the election, has been strategically ambiguous on the independence-unification issue.

HUNG’S PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION: Responding to reports alleging that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is reconsidering Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) nomination to prevent the party’s integrity from being compromised due to questions over her master’s degree, the KMT said on Wednesday that it was “absolutely impossible” for any change to be made to the party’s decision to nomination as its presidential candidate. Hung denied the allegations on Wednesday, saying that she would file a defamation suit against media personnel who “viciously questioned her educational background.”

HUNG REJECTS TRIP TO US: Hung said it was up to her to decide whether she would make any visit to the U.S. as her party’s presidential nominee, although she said the U.S. does not understand her. Local media called her remark as “a slap in the face” for KMT chairperson KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), who said Hung would visit the U.S. in August or September.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) sided with Hung, citing his own experience of running for presidency twice without making any visit to the U.S. during his election campaigns. Chu denied Tuesday any difference he might have with Ma on the issue, and dismissed speculation that he plotted an attack on the authenticity of Hung’s master’s degree, while saying that the possibility of him making a trip to the U.S. in the presidential nominee’s stead could be discussed.

HUNG ON ‘ONE-CHINA POLICY’: Branded by some as a “radical pro-unification advocate,” Hung on Monday clarified her proposed “one China, joint interpretation” (一中同表) in lieu of the “1992 consensus” by referring the “joint interpretation” as “recognition of the fact that the Republic of China [ROC] government exists.” Many people regarded her proposal as implying a pro-China stance. The DPP called on Hung to explain her policy, saying that appeared to be different from President Ma’s “One China with different interpretations.” The green camp asked if she was pushing for unification with China.

DOUBTS OVER HUNG’S FOREIGN POLICY CAPABILITY: In response to DPP accusations that Hung Hsiu-chu’s ability to cope with foreign policy “could be nerve-racking,” Hung’s team on Tuesday accused her rival’s camp of mistranslating a word in the Time magazine interview with Tsai, saying that the alleged mistake had made the DPP “a laughing stock.”
The DPP’s remark came after Hung detailed her party’s cross-strait policy last Friday with emphasis on the adherence to the Three Communiqués signed by Washington and Beijing — the Shanghai Communiqué, the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Relations and the “817” Communiqué — as well as the Taiwan Relations Act. The DPP said, “It made no sense at all that Hung was trying to equate the ‘1992 consensus’ with the Three Communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act.

‘MEGA EVENT’ TO SUPPORT TSAI: A pro-Taiwan independence group that helped former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to power in 2004 will hold events in six special municipalities to boost the DPP’s morale for next year’s presidential and legislative elections. Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) will be invited to join as convener-in-chief.

SOONG’S PENDING CANDIDACY DECISION: People First Party (PFP) chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said he does not intend to run for a legislator-at-large position in quest for the legislative speakership if he does not join next year’s presidential election. Soong said his decision on the presidency would be determined as early as the conclusion of the KMT’s party congress on July 19, and by whether and how the KMT would accommodate its “local” factions, which are led by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

 

► ELSEWHERE IN POLITICS

S CHINA SEA TERRITORIAL DISPUTES: President Ma cast doubt on third-party adjudication as a feasible solution to resolving territorial claims in the South China Sea, citing Asian claimants’ “differed views on international law and peaceful resolution to disputes than the West.” He added that “third-party adjudication” is “never to mainland [China] liking.”

In a bid to assert Taiwan’s sovereignty, Ma said he did not rule out the possibility of visiting Itu Aba (Taiping Island, 太平島), the largest island of the Spratlys (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) in the South China Sea, where Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping territorial claims with China, although he has no immediate plans to do so.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong media reported that Beijing could deploy its J-11 fighter jets to the near-completion runways on its reclaimed land on the Spratly Islands.

Separately, the Philippines announced they will hold naval exercises with U.S. and Japanese forces this week on an island not far from the disputed Spratlys, where China’s rapid land reclamation work has escalated regional tensions.

PREVENTING CHINESE TAKEOVER: Writing on RealClearDefense, U.S. Naval War College professor James Holmes gave advice on how Taiwan could avoid a Chinese takeover and cautioned Taiwan of the danger of being taken in by “hooplah” over cordial cross-strait relations. Holmes also stressed the importance of being realistic about U.S. help in case of an invasion by China.

WARNING OVER CHINESE INVESTMENT: Civic group protesters warned on Monday against investment by China’s state-controlled China International Trust and Investment Corp (CITIC, 中國中信) in Taiwan’s CTBC Financial Holding Co Ltd (中信金控), saying this would lead to a wide range of “alarming political repercussions.” The activists cited CITIC’s withdrawal of advertisements from independent media outlets in Hong Kong in 2013 for political reasons as an example.

NO EXTRA LEGISLATIVE SESSION: Following cross-party negotiations, legislators have announced that there will not be an extra legislative session this year. As the plenary session ended on June 16 without passing any constitutional amendment bills, the plan to put proposed constitutional reforms to a referendum on the day of next year’s presidential and legislative elections to ensure sufficient voter turnout has therefore hit a dead end.

MYANMAR TRADE OFFICE IN TAIPEI: In a bid to promote bilateral trade relations and other collaborations, Myanmar established its trade office in Taiwan on Monday Myanmar does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

EU CRITICISM OVER DEATH PENALTY: Although human rights in Taiwan are at international standards, the 33 executions in Taiwan over the past six years remains a concern to the EU, according to the latest EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World released in Luxembourg on Monday.

EXPAT VOTERS TO RETURN FROM CHINA: A leading Taiwanese investor in China estimated that more than 200,000 Taiwanese living in China would return to Taiwan in January next year to cast their votes in the presidential and legislative elections.

CONFLICTING ADVICE TO TAIWANESE BUSINESSPEOPLE IN CHINA: Top officials attending a get-together for Taiwanese businesspeople based in China delivered conflicting messages to the event participants on Monday, with the Minister of Economic Affairs vowing to present a more investment-friendly environment to encourage investment to return home, while the Straits Exchange Foundation chairperson opted for Taiwan’s participation in Beijing “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative to boost local businesses’ international visibility.

KMT VICE-CHAIR EYEING LEGISLATIVE SEAT: Former Taipei mayor and KMT vice chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) is reportedly planning to contest for a legislative seat from Tainan, traditionally a DPP stronghold, in next year’s elections.

ACTIVE OPPONENT TO ADDRESS KMT COMMITTEE: The KMT has invited several public personalities not affiliated with the party — including an academic and active campaigner often seen on the streets protesting the government’s land policies — to its weekly Central Standing Committee meeting to deliver speeches. Those were held to fulfill KMT Chairman Chu’s promise for an “open KMT.”

MUSEUM DEDICATED TO WWII SEX SLAVES: A museum in memory of Taiwanese women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese Imperial Army during World War II will open in Taipei on December 10, according to a Taipei-based women’s rights group.

ANGER AGAINST REJECTION OF LOCAL COAL BAN: Yunlin County Wednesday defended its local autonomy, lambasting Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) and the Environmental Protection Administration over the central government’s question over the legitimacy of the local ban on the use of soft coal and petroleum coke — a solution to the county’s worsening air pollution due to the presence of Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) oil refineries.

 

► DEFENSE AND SECURITY

US-TAIWAN MILITARY RELATIONS: The U.S. Senate has passed a bill allowing active-duty flag and general officers to visit Taiwan, rendering opportunities to U.S. officers to familiarize themselves with Taiwan’s command centers, terrain and operational capabilities, and the weapons it requires. The policy switch, a result of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, could change and greatly improve U.S.-Taiwan military relations.

EX-AIR FORCE OFFICER ACCUSED OF ESPIONAGE: Taipei prosecutors indicted retired air force lieutenant colonel Liu Chi-ju (劉其儒) on Monday on suspicion of collaborating with a major espionage network on behalf of China. However, Liu’s exact whereabouts are unknown, as he has been residing in China running businesses since his retirement.

VETERANS WARNED OF CHINA’S ‘UNITED FRONT’ TACTIC: Veterans who fought in the Second Sino-Japanese War must watch out for Beijing’s “united front” campaign, and should avoid attending an event in September to commemorate what China claims is “the victory of the Chinese people” from 1937 to 1945, an eight-year war which was a part of World War II, the Ministry of National Defense urged on Tuesday.

Taiwan is inviting foreign ambassadors and representatives posted in the country, including those from Japan, to attend a military display in July marking the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China’s victory over Japan in the war.

EX-NAVY CAPTAIN IN FRIGATE SCANDAL RELEASED: Kuo Li-heng (郭力恆), a former navy captain found guilty of accepting NT$1.1 billion (US$35.56 million) in kickbacks for brokering the deal of six Lafayette-class frigates in 1990s, was released from jail on Tuesday. Kuo only served a six-month term instead of paying a fine of NT$200 million imposed by the courts and avoided serving the 15-year term handed down by the Taiwan High Court in December last year because he had already served the maximum 20 years over another bribery case involving German minesweepers. The “light” penalty prompted outrage, with many people observing that this had allowed Kuo to hide his “bribe money.”

 

► SOCIETY

EXPORTS DECLINE: The value of export orders dropped 5.9 percent annually and 4.1 percent monthly to US$35.79 billion last month, the most significant decline in 22 months, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday. Officials attributed the decrease mainly to declining orders from China and Hong Kong, stressing that “increasing localization of supply chains in China is an issue that we have to face seriously.”

GREEN LIGHT FOR UNIVERSIADE PARTICIPATION: Taiwan will not be absent from the Summer Universiade next month in South Korea, despite concerns over an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), the Sports Administration said on Tuesday after weighing the participation by other nations and an evaluation of the health situation by the WHO.

TALENT DRAIN: The number of high-school graduates continuing their studies abroad has more than doubled last year compared to five years ago, a development described as detrimental to Taiwan.

FIRST SAME-SEX PARTNERSHIP REGISTRATION IN CAPITAL: Social Democratic Party (SDP) legislative candidate Lu Hsin-chieh (呂欣潔) and her partner took the lead Tuesday as the first couple to register their same-sex partnership under a new measure that Taipei city has adopted, a symbolic record in the government’s household registration system, though not legally binding.

LUXURY HOTEL SOLD TO CHINESE? The owner of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s (文華東方酒店) Taipei branch on Monday dismissed a newspaper report that the hotel had been sold to a Chinese buyer for NT$48 billion, a deal allegedly brokered by former CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控) vice chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒).

MCDONALD’S TO SELL LOCAL OUTLETS: All 350 local branches of McDonald’s Corp are up for sale as part of the U.S. fast-food chain’s global reorganization plan.

 

The Taiwan Insider is a weekly feature prepared by the Thinking Taiwan Foundation’s Chris Wang and staff members. Comments? Leads? You can reach us at editor@thinking-taiwan.com. Click here to subscribe to the Insider and receive it in your e-mail.

 

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One Response to “TAIWAN INSIDER Vol. 2 No. 25”

June 28, 2015 at 2:45 am, Peter C. Huang said:

S CHINA SEA TERRITORIAL DISPUTES:

The Islands in S. China Sea so important? Not really. 1. The fish is swimming all around seas why must think the Islands are so important for the fish and wasting spiritual and materials to struggle for them? 2. The importance of the sporadic Islands are no better than to have a leased base in a country nearby. 3. By today’s missiles age the Island can not endure a missile attack for its isolated and hard to continuous supply the base. Does the Island worthy of other country to launch attack against China’s occupying of them? 4. At present days struggling for the claimed overlapped Islands no related country can develop for them unless China with fishing them in troubled water getting upper hand. So why not let China to develop them and possibly bringing back interest to be enjoyed by the related countries? 5. Natural fuels under the Island’s seabed? The related countries have stretched swath offshore to develop the undecided value of fuel under their seabeds why must pay attention to the overlapped doubtful Islands? 6. China the same as the struggle-related country for the offshore oil, which country did get success to any of the so desired fuel from the sea near to any of them? 7. If US does not think that the Pacific is its specific lake then the tension can be appeased, leaving some space for China to turn around its offshore from E. China Sea to S. China inherited from its historical background then the peace between US and China could be reached. 8. The passage of S. China sea is not so important to China for a day of oil import 11 million tones from other countries may not rely on the passage. China has railroad from Burma via Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos into China; also having leased port in Pakistan for oil to reach China via railroad. And China can have energy from its border with Russia with some agreements reached already. So China may no need to struggle for the S. China Sea passage; instead, if US involves into the struggle its wasted effort would be larger than that of China for it.

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