Taiwan, as the World Continues to Turn, a New AIT Director and More Ma Ying-jeou Problems

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Wednesday May 09, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) has a new director; Christopher Marut has replaced William Stanton; Stanton will complete his term of service in August. Marut has 27 years experience in the Foreign Service and much of that has been in the Pacific Region so he seems well suited to the position in many ways including a masters degree in national security and strategic studies at the College of Naval Warfare in Rhode Island.

In the meantime, the Taiwanese delegation has begun its US beef inspection visit; this is one of those glorified justification trips. One already knows what recommendations they will come back with. Ma Ying-jeou needs to give approval to the import of US beef before his inauguration on May 20, so he is under extreme pressure to live up to his shall we say, quid pro quo favors that he received for US support in his election bid.

Then in Kinmen, another embarrassing moment for the China friendly approach of Ma Ying-joke. It seems a Chinese tourist, the kind encouraged by Ma, has walked off with the Order of the Blue Sky and White Sun medal given in 1943 to the late General Hu Lian for his leadership and accomplishments in the Sino-Japanese War. Nothing is sacred to the Chinese tourists that they feel they can come and pillage with impunity whatever attracts them in Taiwan. Well it is just a KMT designated medal, so perhaps Taiwanese should not feel too bad about its being gone, but still something rubs the wrong way about the filching hands of the Chinese.