Less than spectacular news.
Given the new direction of Taiwan-PRC ties, I cannot imagine any review of relations with Taiwan, informal or otherwise, to end well. Washington's interest and willingness to assist Taiwan with weapons sales, which are already the only serious thorn in US-PRC ties, will only decline as Taiwan becomes more dependent and perhaps eventually (God forbid) servile to China.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to visit Japan and China on her first foreign trip in her new position, with a senior congressional source saying Clinton would be certain to discuss Taiwan with the Chinese leadership.The source said the discussions would probably lead, on Clinton’s return, to an informal State Department review of US-Taiwan relations....
US State Department officials declined to confirm Clinton’s trip to China, but officials said in private that she was “leaning” toward visiting Asia at some point before US President Barack Obama meets Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) at a London summit in April.
Meanwhile, by-elections next month will provide a test for just how fed up or apathetic people in Taiwan are toward politics in this time of economic hardship. I expect apathy and record low voting percentages with strong blue machine turnout, so expect the KMT to fare well.
Former KMT legislator Lee E-tin (李乙廷) from Miaoli County lost his seat in the legislature after the Taichung High Court’s December rejection of his appeal against a Miaoli District Court ruling that annulled his election on vote-buying charges in last year’s legislative elections.Economically, things are almost as dark as on the political side:
Another former KMT lawmaker, Diane Lee (李慶安), resigned last month amid a dispute over her alleged dual citizenship.
The KMT has nominated Lee E-tin’s wife, Chen Ruan-ying (陳鑾英), to run in the Miaoli by-election, while seven KMT hopefuls will vie in a party primary to represent the KMT in Daan district.
A senior KMT official said that if the KMT wins the two by-elections, it would show that its support base is solid, but if the result were the opposite, then the party would “have to learn about its deficiencies and address them accordingly.”
The consumer confidence index plunged to a new record low in a survey released by National Central University Monday, a day after the government announced it would create 150,000 jobs.