Taiwan as the World Turns: a Potpurri of Events

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Friday February 08, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Premier designate Jiang Yi-huah is entering office with the shadow of tax fraud allegations; not a good sing for coming year of the Snake; it makes one wonder if there is any association. Not a good sign if this is the guy that is supposed to get the economy rolling; let's hope he does not rob Peter to pay Paul.

Outgoing Premier Sean Chen who was predicted to last less than a year led his Cabinet in a mass resignation. As he did so, he praised his Cabinet for having built a solid foundation for the nation's economic recovery. Uhhh, wait a minute now, if they built such a great foundation, then why are you and them all resigning??

On the other side of the aisle, DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang returned from what he termed a "constructive" trip to Japan. It is good that he continued the connection with Japanese government officials; Taiwan and Japan have a common mutual threat in China. Both sides will benefit from closer ties; and Japan would be better off dealing with the DPP than the KMT.

Then on the other side of the Pacific pond, former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) gave an interesting comment and warning. The Chinese economic model is changing and returns on cross-strait economic exchanges may be diminishing.

In his words, "Taiwan was a real beneficiaryof export-led growth relying on essentially cheap labor, abuse of the environment and local corruption." Ouch, that one hurt!

But it hurts more that Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou is still stuck pushing to continue the old model. That does not look good for the year of the Snake. Stay tuned.