Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Encircling China: Shooting Thru the Taiwan Straight

Not easy to navigate.... 

"Taiwan elects first female president, rejects pro-China party" by Christopher Bodeen and Ralph Jennings Associated Press  January 16, 2016

TAIPEI, Taiwa — Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as its first female president Saturday, handing her pro-independence party its first majority in the national legislature and rejecting the China-friendly party that has led the self-governing island for eight years. 

I hate to say it, but it looks rigged to me (same thing we are likely to get this fall, although if Trump keeps talking the way he is maybe not).

Voters concerned that Taiwan’s economy is under threat from China and broadly opposed to Beijing’s demands for political unification resoundingly chose Tsai over the Nationalists’ Eric Chu, a late replacement for his party’s original candidate, who was seen as alienating voters. 

I guess they will be tilting more toward the U.S. now, and Taiwan's rapidly improving ties with longtime foe China that are diminishing US influence can be bundled out the backdoor.

The result should be deeply unsettling to China, which may respond by further reducing Taipei’s already limited ability to win diplomatic allies and participate in international organizations.

In a statement issued after Tsai’s win, the Chinese Cabinet’s body for handling Taiwan affairs reaffirmed its opposition to Taiwan independence, but said it would work to maintain peace and stability between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Tsai said her victory was a further show of how ingrained democracy has become on Taiwan and showed that its people wish for a government ‘‘steadfast in protecting this nation’s sovereignty.’’ She too pledged to maintain the status quo with China. She said both sides have a responsibility to find a mutually acceptable means of interacting, while adding that Taiwan’s international space must be respected.

Chu resigned from his party’s leadership to take responsibility for the massive loss. In the final tally, Tsai won more than 56 percent of votes, while Chu had 31 percent and a third-party candidate trailing in the distance.

Making Tsai’s task easier, her Democratic Progressive Party won 68 seats in the 113-seat national legislature that has been traditionally dominated by the Nationalists, who took home 36, with the rest won by independents and smaller parties. Illustrating the extent of their defeat, the Nationalists had won 64 seats four years ago.

The United States, Taiwan’s most important ally and source of defensive arms, congratulated Tsai on her victory.

Those weapons sales can't dry up; U.S. war manufacturers count on those dollars!

‘‘We share with the Taiwan people a profound interest in the continuation of cross-Strait peace and stability,’’ State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a written statement.

Tsai said one of her top priorities would be to unite Taiwan in order to gain strength and respect from international society. Tsai also reaffirmed Taiwan’s sovereignty claim over East China Sea islands also claimed by China but controlled by Japan. She said Taiwan would also work to lower tensions in the South China Sea.

Tsai said she work to recruit talented people to her cabinet, increase the competitiveness of Taiwan’s export-oriented economy and safeguard the food supply following a series of scandals.

Her win will introduce new uncertainty in the complicated relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, which claims the island as its own territory and threatens to use force if it declares formal independence.

‘‘Taiwan and China need to keep some distance,’’ said Willie Yao, a computer engineer voting in Taipei who said he backed Tsai. ‘‘The change of president would mean still letting Taiwanese make the decision.’’

Tsai has refused to endorse the principle that Taiwan and China are parts of a single nation to be unified eventually. Beijing has made that its baseline for continuing negotiations that have produced a series of pacts on trade, transport and exchanges. Observers say China is likely to adopt a wait-and-see approach, but might use diplomatic and economic pressure if Tsai is seen as straying too far from its unification agenda. 

I like waiting and seeing, and I didn't see military pressure mentioned. That's good.

In its statement, the Taiwan Affairs Office reiterated its insistence on the ‘‘one China principle.’’

‘‘We are willing to strengthen contact with any political party or social group that agrees that the two sides of the Strait belong to one China,’’ the office said.

Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1885 to 1945 and split again from China amid civil war in 1949.

China had largely declined to comment on the polls ahead of the vote.

Tsai supporters appeared confident that ties with China would weather a change in government.

‘‘As long as Tsai doesn’t provoke the other side, it’s OK,’’ said former newspaper distribution agent Lenex Chang, who attended Tsai’s rally. ‘‘If mainland China democratizes someday, we could consider a tie-up,’’ he added.

Candidates from across the political spectrum sounded a rare note of unity Saturday after a teenage pop star posted a video online apologizing for having waved the Taiwanese flag on a South Korean TV program.

Sixteen-year-old Chou Tzu-yu, who performs under the name Tzuyu, had apparently been compelled to apologize after her South Korean management company suspended her activities in China for fear of offending nationalist sentiments on the mainland.

Ma, Tsai and Chu all condemned what they described as the bullying of a young girl.

‘‘This particular incident will serve as a constant reminder to me about the importance of our country’s strength and unity,’’ Tsai told reporters.


The result was an earthquake of an election:

"The quake disrupted travel in Taiwan just before the start of the Lunar New Year. Tainan residents said the tremor had felt considerably stronger than any they could remember on this island where earthquakes are frequent."


"The extended Lunar New Year holiday officially started Monday, but celebrations were subdued and both President Ma Ying-jeou and President-elect Tsai Ing-wen canceled the handing out of envelopes of cash in their hometowns, a holiday tradition for Taiwan’s leader. The spectacular fall of the high-rise, built in 1989, raised questions about whether its construction had been shoddy. More than 100 people are believed to be still buried in the collapsed building from a disaster that struck during the most important family holiday in the Chinese calendar — the Lunar New Year holiday."

Coincidence or the humming of a HAARP?

Survivors pulled out from building 2 days after Taiwan quake

That is worth celebrating.

"China cuts contact with Taiwan liaison body" by Christopher Bodeen Associated Press  June 25, 2016

BEIJING — Beijing said Saturday it had cut off contact with the main Taiwan liaison body because of President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation, ratcheting up pressure on the new Taiwanese leader.

In a statement posted on the website of the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, spokesman An Fengshan said contacts between bodies responsible for ties had been suspended starting from Tsai’s May 20 inauguration.

“Because the Taiwan side has been unable to confirm the ’92 consensus that embodies the common political foundation of the one-China principle, the mechanism for contact and communication between the two sides has already been suspended,” the statement quoted An as saying.

The ’92 consensus refers to an arrangement made in 1992 under which both sides acknowledged the existence of a single Chinese nation comprising both Taiwan and the mainland. That understanding underpinned dialogue between the sides that allowed them to build ties and partially overcome enmity stemming from their bitter split amid the Chinese civil war in 1949. Tsai has neither formally endorsed nor repudiated the construct.

The Chinese statement, which came after Taiwan protested Cambodia’s deportation of 25 Taiwanese Internet scam suspects to China, appears to signify a significant step in retaliation for Tsai’s pro-Taiwanese independence stance.

Hackers hiding in Cambodia?

Although China says Taiwan has been part of its territory since ancient times, the sides have only been unified for four of the past 120 years. Taiwan functions as an independent country and does not acknowledge Beijing’s claim of authority over it.

Speculation has been rife since Tsai’s inauguration that China would take measures to compel her to endorse the “one-China principle” that Beijing says underpins all political contacts between the sides.

Tsai departed Friday on her first overseas trip since taking office, amid speculation that China might seek to tighten its diplomatic stranglehold over the island.

Tsai left on separate visits to allies Panama and Paraguay, stopping in Miami on the way out and in Los Angeles on the way home. She is due to attend the formal opening of new ship locks on the Panama Canal before delivering a speech to Paraguay’s parliament Tuesday.

You will never guess who she ran into!

Taiwan has formal diplomatic relations with just 22 nations as a result of China-imposed isolation. Most allies are in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the South Pacific.

A renewed effort to win away Taiwan’s remaining allies would further indicate China plans to get tough on Tsai’s administration.

China in March established formal diplomatic ties with the small African nation of Gambia, which had severed relations with Taiwan in 2013. That was seen as a move toward abandoning the unspoken diplomatic truce between the sides that lasted for eight years under Tsai’s China-friendly predecessor.


Time to batten down the hatches in Taiwan:

"164 people in China have been killed by floods, hail, and landslides since June 30. Unusually heavy rain has pounded southern China in recent months, triggering severe flooding along rivers, including the Yangtze. Meteorologists blame the floods on a particularly intense El Nino weather pattern."

Hopefully that will abet and winter will be a tad cooler.

"Taiwan president apologizes to aboriginals for suffering" Associated Press  August 01, 2016

TAIPEI — Taiwan was inhabited by a variety of tribes for thousands of years before Dutch colonizers began importing Chinese laborers in large numbers during the mid-17th century.

The Dutch were expelled by Chinese privateer Koxinga, whose successors were then defeated by the Manchu Qing dynasty as part of their conquest of most of China. It was loosely administered from the mainland until becoming a province in 1885 under foreign pressure and was made a colony by Japan in 1895.

At the end of World War II, Taiwan was handed to Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China, whose government relocated to the island in 1949 after being driven from China by Mao Zedong’s communist forces.

President Tsai Ing-wen was elected by a landslide in January elections that have thrown a shadow over the island’s relations with China, which claims Taiwan as a part of its territory from ancient times.

Her view of Taiwan as a colonial society clashes with Beijing’s claim that the island has always been an inherent part of China, which must eventually be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.....

Hard to port, engines in reverse!


Someone tell that guy to put on a pair of pants.

UPDATE: The black ditch forced the Philippine force to turn back.