28 February, 2006

chen cuts budget

While AsiaPundit has been critical of Chen Shui-bian’s economic policies, the Taiwan president’s move to abolish the National Unification Council should be welcome. Chen has just saved the taxpayers of Taiwan 32 bucks per year.:

We got rid of a US$32 budget item, and managed to piss off the two most powerful nations in the world. What do have for it? Anything concrete? Maybe for an encore, Chen can personally call the heads of the Hong Kong triads and tell them their wives are ugly and their children are stupid too.

While AsiaPundit welcomes any attempt to rein in wasteful spending, he opposes Michael’s suggestion about the triads. It would be safe to assume that the gentlemen of Hong Kong’s top crime families have attractive wives and even more attractive girlfriends. Plus, taunting the triads would be a serious provocation.

MeiZhong Tai offers a brief wrap on the issue - which includes Michael’s post. The consensus on the other side of the Strait, generally, does acknowledge that the NUC was an obviously insignificant and outmoded institution.

Taiwan’s Other Side, a resolutely pan-blue blogger, sees has harsh criticism of the move.:

This is a move that has no widespread popular support - the office is yet another harmless idiosyncrasy in the dual identity of the Republic of China on Taiwan. Removing it provides no benefit for the people of Taiwan, at the price of straining relations with not one but TWO of Taiwan’s major trading partners. A bold move to be sure, but why? CSB has, as usual, offered no explanation of how removing the UC will benefit anyone except his own craving for publicity. This is just another publicity stunt that comes at a painfully high price.

Ranc, as well, notes that this will be seen by the Communist Party as a significant provocation that will require a significant counteraction.:

Beijing has to have a big reaction. If Chen could get away with this, there will be no return for the independence movement. The reaction could be a SUBTLE one, unlike the 1996 war exercise, but it has to be BIG and OBVIOUS. The point is to show the COMMITMENT and CAPABILITY of Beijing stopping the independence movement. Expand the military immediately, for example. Or show off a really really powerful weapon that the world has never seen before, if there is such a weapon. In any case, the commitment has to be real for anyone to believe you.

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by @ 8:17 pm. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

2 Responses to “chen cuts budget”

  1. Hiren Says:

    What about the Indian buget? That was also released today.

  2. Michael Turton Says:

    Beijing was asking for the US to pressure Taiwan’s government, according to a Forbes piece I got off Simon World today. TOS as usual is a bit over the top — the stock market rose and the NT$ climbed, and most of the people support the move, at least according to polls done from outside the Blue world.

    It is unfortunate that the legislature is controlled by the pro-China parties and thus refuses to permit the DPP to do anything, even things the KMT did when it was in power (like buy weapons). Chen’s scope for action is limited to what he can do with government organs and agencies.

    I think the view above that Beijing will do something is correct. Like Ranc, I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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