Taiwan's President seeks closer economic ties with Beijing

I attended the Taipei press conference of President Ma Ying-jeou of the Republic of China on Taiwan on May 19. The event was to mark the midpoint of his first four year term. His approval rating has dropped to around 40 percent since his landslide election. Taiwan's high unemployment rate in the wake of the global recession plays a part in this, but there is also concern that his "detente" policy to "reduce tensions" with the People's Republic of China on the mainland is risking the island democracy's freedom. Ma's Koumintang (KMT) party is supported by business interests who have invested heavily in China to gain access to its large market and labor pool. Ma's centerpiece is a new Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with Beijing that would provide for further economic integration. Critics fear that economic integration will lead to political unification and the loss of Taiwan's de facto independence. Ma was clearly trying to guard his flank on...(Read Full Post)