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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Thu, Oct 9, 1997 edition
After progress report, Tung takes to the air
Chief executive fields questions on live radio talk show

Also in this edition . . .

1: Political changes in Hong Kong: is it 'a step back to democracy'?
2: Iceland's FM puzzled by Beijing's reaction
3: 22 nations support Taiwan's bid to rejoin world organization
4: King of Swaziland is in Taiwan, says he will not follow South Africa's example
5: at meeting, Central Bank's defence of NT dollar is praised
6: Taiwan's TSMC becomes first Asian microchip foundry to list on New York exchange
7: Kim Jong-il ascends to full rites of power
8: China to help restore temple in Angkor

We're publishing an abridged edition today . . .

Tung Chee-hwa: Chief executive takes to the airs on live talk show, fields listeners' questions
( Leader Tung Takes New Vision for Hong Kong to People ) Tung Chee-hwa fielded questions from listeners today during a live radio talk show, reports Inside China. Tung gave a two-hour progress report yesterday, outlining his administration's directions and policies for the forthcoming years. Today he took his message to listeners. Callers were reportedly mostly concerned over the state of housing and land prices. This is in a territory where rampant speculation in those markets has driven up costs to exorbitant and prohibitive levels. Mr Tung said his government would aim for a soft-landing in the market, staying away from actively bringing it to the ground unless absolutely required. Tung's approach has not pleased some people who would like to see the government to intervene. In a poll conducted by the territory's Apply Daily newspaper, 53 percent of 440 respondents said they were disappointed with his approach to curb prices by increasing the supply of land, reports Inside China. "Only 19.1 percent were satisfied with his supply-side approach. "

The government has always maintained a monopoly on land, parcelling out lots of it every year in auctions. Much revenue is garnered for the government and it affords a certain measure of control over limited a limited supply. Tung also said yesterday he would establish numerous committees and commissions to investigate various matters, and callers today asked if whether action on some issues would be better than consultation. Tung assured his listener that the 400 or so committees were important and necessary.

Inside China also writes, "Main concerns were over education, housing, the environment and the future of individual rights now that Hong Kong is part of China again." Tung said, people should nto be concerned about their rights, but he said the government would not tolerate, for example, a protest advocating the independence of Taiwan or Tibet.

Transitions: is it 'a step back to democracy'?
( Hong Kong in Uncertain Mood After 100 Days Under Chinese Rule ) The New York Times's Edward Gargan explores a changing landscape in Hong Kong, 100 days after the handover. He charts a transition from colony to Chinese city:

    "But the nature of Hong Kong's transformation, or indeed whether it has changed at all, is a matter of perspective. For many people, nothing has really changed, while for others this place has begun a transition to becoming just another Chinese city."

And Gargan notes how politics has become more conservative and less open. Interviewing David Chu, a wealthy developer who gave up his US passport when China resumed control of the territory, Gargan reports on the wealthy man's enthusiasm for the new administration. Yet, after some prodding Chu admits the political changes were not positive. "The political changes are a step back," Gargan quotes him. "But nobody is saying it is a permanent step back. It's a temporary setback for democracy. In every other respect of livelihood, absolutely nothing else is changed. Even the red Chinese flag -- I scarcely notice it."


Lien Chan: Iceland's FM puzzled by Beijing's reaction
To protest against a meeting scheduled between ROC Vice President Lien Chan and Icelandic Prime Minister David Oddsson, Beijing decided to cancel planned talks with an Icelandic businessman, Icelandic radio said on Tuesday.

The radio said Beijing had warned it would react vigorously if any European nations grant Lien Chan a visa and visits by him will damage their relations with China.

Taiwan newspapers said Lien would also visit Spain, possibly France and Belgium, and transit through the Netherlands, Austria and Singapore.

Iceland Foreign Minister Halldor Asgrimsson told the Icelandic daily Morgunbladid that he was amazed by Beijing's reaction. "We do not feel that this visit in any way changes Icelandic-Chinese relations and does not imply any recognition of Taiwan," the China Post reported quotes Asgrimsson. He said it has always been Iceland's policy to recognize the Beijing administration as the legitimate government of China. However, Asgrimsson said he cannot prevent a private individual from visiting Iceland because of the position he holds.

See also: and

United Nations: 22 nations support Taiwan's bid to rejoin world organization
There were 22 countries that lent support to Taiwan's request to rejoin the United Nations at this year's U.N. General Assembly debate, which started on Sept. 22 and ended on Oct. 7.

Nineteen of those countries are diplomatic allies of Taiwan, while the other three---Fiji, Jordan and Papua New Guinea---are not.

This was the least support Taiwan has received since it began its bid to rejoin the UN five years ago. In 1993, 24 countries gave either explicit or indirect support for Taiwan UN representation. The number increased to 26 in 1994, 29 in 1995 and declined slightly to 28 last year.

Wu Tzu-dan, director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, said the number does not necessarily fully reflect the effect of the Taiwan's recent promotional activities. He said substance is more important.

See also:

Swaziland: King is in Taiwan, says he will not follow South Africa's example
The King of Swaziland ended a six-day visit to Taiwan yesterday. He praised Taiwan's rapid progress and promised to promote Taiwan's readmission into the United Nations.

Swaziland will become one of Taiwan's two remaining allies in southern Africa after South Africa recognizes Beijing by the end of this year.

Observers said the close cultural and economic ties between the African nations could mean Swaziland would eventually follow South Africa's lead.

When asked if Swaziland would switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing, King Mswati III said, whatever South Africa does will not affect him. "They have their way and that does not have to be our way," the king said.

Before his departure, King Mswati III signed a joint communique with President Lee Teng-hui calling for the admission of Taiwan into the international community. The King did not say if Taiwan had agreed to grant additional aid to his country.

Central Bank: at meeting, bank's defence of NT dollar is praised
A high-level meeting was held yesterday to discuss urgent issues regarding the recently volatile foreign exchange markets. Premier Vincent Siew voiced strong support for recent actions taken by the Central Bank of China (CBC) to protect the New Taiwan dollar from depreciating sharply against the U.S. dollar.

Siew said that stabilizing the exchange rate of the local currency against the US dollar has become the government's most important task. He praised CBC Governor Sheu Yuan-dong's excellent performance in preventing the local currency from succumbing to the drastic devaluation experienced by other countries in Southeast Asia, through the use of powerful intervention in the local foreign exchange market.

Siew also instructed the Ministry of Finance to take measures to stabilize the local stock exchange if there are 'irrational' factors that emerge to undermine the performance of the bourse.

Siew asked the Justice Ministry to take effective actions to forestall money laundering and financial crime.

Moreover, Siew asked P.K. Chiang, chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, to monitor the latest economic developments in Southeast Asia, assess the possible impact of the ongoing currency crisis in the region on Taiwan's economic development, and develop effective countermeasures.

See also:

Semiconductors: Taiwan's TSMC becomes first Asian microchip foundry to list on New York exchange
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC), the world's largest semiconductor foundry service company, will be formally listed on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday (U.S. time), sources from Wall Street reported on Tuesday.

The listing will make TSMC the first Taiwan company to offer shares on the New York exchange and also the first microchip foundry in Asia ever to receive approval for listing on it.

To welcome TSMC's joining of the world's largest stock market, executives from the exchange will host a reception on the first day of listing in honor of TSMC Chairman Chang Chung-mo and other officials. Wu Tzu-dan, director of Taiwan's Economic and Cultural Representative Office in New York, will also be present at the reception.


Kim Jong-il: ( North Korean Ruler Named Leader of Communist Party ) The New York Times reports on the ascension of Kim Jong-il as general-secretary of the country's Workers' Party

( Party leader congratulates his DPRK counterpart ) The China Daily has a front-page story relating President Jiang Zemin's congratulations to the DPRK government. Jiang said, China and the DPRK are friendly neighbours linked by common mountains and rivers. "There exists a time-tested traditional friendship between the two parties, two countries and two peoples, which was personally fostered and developed by the leaders of older generations of our two countries." He noted how the Korean people have rallied behind the Workers' Party for the past three years.

( Kim's Accession Ignores Official Party Processes ) The Korea Herald offers more perspective, writing: "North Korea has become the first Communist state to complete a dynastic succession by making Kim Jong-il general-secretary of its Workers' Party Wednesday."

( Secretary Kim Jong Il elected WPK General Secretary ) The Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee and Central Military Commission have issued a special communique for the occasion.

Cambodia: ( China to Help Restore Cambodian Angkor Temple ) A Chinese team will arrive in Cambodia soon to assist those already working to preserve the deprecated Angkor temple complex. The Chinese will restore "Tevoda temple within Angkor Thom, one of the main temples in the 12th century complex," reports Reuters.

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China Informed

a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day