Thursday, March 19, 2020

After the COVID 19

* The coronavirus pandemic has hit the global economy hard. Indecies of major financial markets have dropped over, on average, 25% from the peak early in the year. In the foreseeable future, unemployment is bound to rise in most, if not all, economies, and people have started to go out less, spend less, and be more cautious with their money. If the pattern persists, a major global economic slowdown appears inevitable.

* Though experts and policymakers differ on how, and when, the pandemic will be contained, it is not too early to start thinking about recovery when the time comes. Most importantly, how would people restore trust in public institutions and how would people regain trust between and amongst themselves? That process will probably take longer than getting the virus under control, and that is the challenge in the post-COVID-19 days.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Week After

* The presidential and legislative elections are over in Taiwan, with President Tsai Ing-wen winning a landslide reelection and the ruling DPP retaining the majority in the Legislative Yuan (LY). Though many believed a Tsai victory was probable, most were surprised by the margin of victory, over 2.5 million votes, and the KMT's poor performance in legislative races.

* Calls for reform and leadership change within the KMT surfaced the day after the election. Chairman We Den-yih plans to submit his resignation to the Central Standing Committee on 1/15, and a new chair will be elected within three months. Among those interested in becoming the next KMT head, the challenges ahead are formidable, beginning with its China policy and the ability to attract younger voters in the future.

* Another four years with Tsai and a DPP administration are undoubtedly bad news to Beijing. However, it has no one to blame but itself. Besides what happened in HK since June 2019, the election outcome was a resounding rejection of the "one country, two systems" formula in Taiwan. In addition, the election results showed Beijing's policy toward Taiwan has been ineffective, to say the least. With little, if any, room for policy alteration in Beijing, there is no indication that relations across the Taiwan Strait will improve anytime soon. Moreover, in the immediate months ahead, the stalemate will likely remain and the already-icy ties may turn frosty.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Before Opinion Polls Close...

* According to Taiwan's Presidential Election Law, no opinion polls can be made public ten days prior to the date of the vote. With the vote scheduled for January 11, 2020, no poll numbers could be revealed or published after January 1.

* Following KMT presidential candidate, Han Kuo-yu, calling on supporters to purposefully mislead opinion polls when asked, it is the first time in Taiwan's young democracy that polls are no longer creditworthy. It doesn't serve as a barometer reflecting the true standing of candidates in an emotion-laden race, and no one knows how the 1/11 vote would turn out. Though the gap between Han and the incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen has been getting wider in recent weeks, few, if any, would take the poll numbers seriously. It is frustrating for some, but that certainly makes the final two weeks intense, engaging, and difficult to predict how the race would pan out.

* As for the fourth-time presidential also-ran, PFP Chairman James Soong, seemingly has remained stagnant in the 6-8% range. Soong's campaign appears to be an exercise for a select few every four years when the presidential race begins. 2020 is no exception. He did not make his bid known until late October. A make-shift campaign makes many wonder if he's serious. When the candidate does not appear to be serious, lackluster performance hence becomes the norm, which has been the storyline for Soong during the last twenty years.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Withering Away of the Third Force?

* With sixteen days left in Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections, the campaign remains a competition between the island's two dominant parties--the ruling DPP and the opposition KMT. Since public opinion polls have been largely discredited by KMT presidential candidate, Han Kuo-yu, it's difficult to know where the candidates stand--with any degree of certainty--with the electorate.  Some observers believe Han and the incumbent Tsai Ing-wen are separated by less than 5%, much less than what most polls have indicated. One thing is certain--the race will be tight down to the wire.

* While there had been heightened expectations on a third alternative to the longstanding Blue-Green dichotomy in Taiwan, such hopes were quickly dashed as PFP Chairman James Soong failed to earn the trust and secure the support from the middle-of-the-road voters. Soong came across not as a serious candidate who had been preparing for a 4th run at the presidency. This is why his poll standing has remained in the 6-8% range.

* While Taipei Mayor Ke Wen-je had made it clear that he'll likely launch a presidential challenge in 2024, Foxconn Founder and former Chairman Terry Gou has left the door open but held the cards close to his chest. While Gou has mentioned plans to keep himself active and visible in the public domain, there is no indication that any of the plans are imminent. Besides, without a grassroots organisation throughout the island, it's tough to make himself relevant when the time comes for the 2024 campaign.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

總統大選與兩岸關係


*隨著第一場總統政見發表會的舉行,台灣未來領導人的兩岸立場再次引起各界的關注。雖然意識型態不同、國家認同有異,但幾次總統大選以來,政黨的兩岸政策卻愈趨整合。只要以民眾福祉、社會穩定、以及國家安全為優先的兩岸政策,都應該有理性的空間討論,找出務實可行的政策方案。

一個基礎
台灣的未來必須由兩千三百萬人民以民主的方式決定。

* 兩個堅持
堅持以和平、非武力、對等協商的方式解決兩岸爭議
反對「一國兩制」,堅持台灣自由、民主、多元的共同價值與生活方式,永不妥協、絕不退讓。

* 三個尊重1. 兩岸應尊重彼此制度與生活方式的不同,凡事「異中求同」,不應「有我沒你」。
2. 兩岸關係發展必須尊重兩岸人民的歷史情感與自由選擇,但不該有「大小之分」或「輕重之別」。
3. 中國大陸應尊重中華民國存在的事實以及台灣民眾參與國際社會的強烈意願,不應強橫阻撓、限縮台灣的國際空間。

* 四個認知
海峽兩岸:1. 親近,不僅鄰近; 2. 分治,不會分離;
 3. 交流,不要亂流; 4. 合作,不談合併。
也就是:兩岸「親近但分治,交流且合作」。

五個超越

超越黨派、超越族群、超越地域、超越世代、以及超越意識形態,團結台灣2300民眾,建構「中華民國的國家利益」(National Interests of the Republic of China on Taiwan),做為未來兩岸政策的基礎與路線圖。