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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Wed, Dec 17, 1997 edition
China Summit
also: Taiwan news, and a short note on KMT/army connections

Also in this edition . . .

1: China will not devalue currency, says Jiang
2: party to appoint spokeswoman and two others
3: DPP sends observers to Seoul
4: foreign trade continues substantial growth trend
5: territory plans to import more workers
6: police bring Hongkong tycoon in for questioning about shady land deal


Cooperation: Leaders wrap up summit with China
East Asian leaders wound up their first summit Tuesday with mainland China vowing to solve territorial disputes without resorting to force and Japan offering long-term support to the financially battered region.

But any hopes for a quick fix to the current regional turmoil were dashed with Japan in particular reiterating the need for painful economic adjustment following the collapse of regional currency and equity markets. Japan and mainland China also stressed the importance of adhering to prescriptions made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose strict conditions for financial assistance have been questioned by some Southeast Asian countries.

Leaders of the nine-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met separately with mainland Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to cement ties with the two giants into the 21st century. "China will never seek hegemony. China will always be a staunch force in maintaining regional and global peace and stability," Jiang said. "China will forever be a good neighbor, a good partner and a good friend with ASEAN."

The ASEAN leaders also met South Korean Prime Minister Koh Kun after a collective summit of all 12 countries on Monday, dominated by discussions on Southeast Asia's worst economic crisis in decades. A joint statement by the communist Chinese and ASEAN leaders specifically referred to disputes in the South China Sea, where China and four ASEAN members-Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam-have competing claims. The other five members of ASEAN are Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

During the separate ASEAN-Japan summit, Hashimoto offered long-term support for troubled economies while proposing closer security and political dialogues along with joint action in such areas as terrorism and the environment. Japan also offered up to US$18 billion in trade insurance for improving regional infrastructure, lower interest rates on yen denominated loans and a program to train 20,000 ASEAN nationals in Japan over the next five years. Hashimoto said the presence of American troops in Asia, mostly in Japan and South Korea, and closer ties with mainland China were crucial to regional security.

Summit: China will not devalue currency, says Jiang
Mainland Chinese President Jiang Zemin assured Southeast Asian leaders in a summit here Tuesday that Beijing had no intention to devalue its currency, the reminbi yuan (RMB), a spokesman said.

Mainland Chinese spokesman Shen Guofang said Jiang told ASEAN leaders that mainland China "will not depreciate its currency, the yuan, and this constitutes a positive effort for the stabilization of the financial markets in Southeast Asia."

In Beijing, economist Daryl Ho of Hong Kong-based brokerage firm Jardine Fleming said the RMB yuan will not suffer a substantial devaluation in 1998 despite the storm hitting many Asian currencies. "A substantial devaluation is unlikely" Ho told a press conference in the mainland Chinese capital Tuesday, adding "there might be a slight depreciation but it should be less than five percent."


Military: a short note on military and political connections in Taiwan
Yesterday's news that the military would not support a declaration of independence by the DPP raises interesting questions about the role of the military in Taiwan (and China and elsewhere). We should note the close relationship between party politics and military forces, as the latter entity expressed the party's power.

Under Taiwan's written constitution the armed forces are expected to provide for the common defence and yet not assume a posture which would 'encourage' Taiwan to move toward independence.

After 1949 the army resided firmly within the hands of the KMT and Chiang Kai-shek. The relationship between army and party has existed for many decades. Top officers, for example, were also party members; and if one did not belong to the party, military careers were not possible. Behind Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo stood the ranks of the armed forces.

When Lee Teng-hui became president, his mainland-China policies did not settle well with many officers who still yearned for unification. With the backing of Taiwanese people (those who were born in Taiwan and who did not come to the island in 1949 with Chiang Kai-shek) Lee successfully removed some influential pro-unification generals from the ranks. Of course he cannot remove each and every such officer. And there are still many officers who joined the New Party, the KMT off-shoot pro- unification party. Likewise, there are officers who, born in Taiwan, would not want to unify with the mainland. Some belong to the KMT---some to the DPP. Taiwan's military has gradually undergone dramatic changes. It is not totally controlled by the KMT any longer.

In addition, in order to receive more funding from the legislators, the military has to stay neutral among the different political parties. Officers who deal with the legislators have to appear to be just a public servant from one of the government units. They don't want to be labelled as a party member of the KMT. So, I think Taiwan's military has, step by step, become a unit separate from the political parties.

KMT: party to appoint spokesman and two others
The ruling Kuomintang is expected to appoint its first female spokesperson and two other top officials today in the first round of personnel reshuffles after the Nov. 29 elections.

According to local reports, Huang Li-ching, director of the KMT's Taoyuan County division, has been picked to succeed as director-general of the Department of Cultural Affairs, who serves as the party's spokesperson.

The reports said legislator Chen Chiung-tsan (at large) has been tipped as director-general of the Department of Organization Affairs, and Shi Hwei-yow, former vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), as director-general of the Department of Secretariat. The appointments will be finalized after they are approved by the KMT's Central Standing Committee today.

But KMT Secretary-General John Chang yesterday declined to confirm the reports. Neither did he make any denial. Chang said the personnel arrangements will only be announced after the Central Standing Committee meets today. He admitted the three persons are excellent choices in terms of their images and integrity. Chang said the KMT will carry out a second round of personnel changes after the Jan. 24 elections for chiefs of townships, villages and cities and deputies to county and city councils.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)

DPP: party sends observers to Seoul
A group of opposition Democratic Progressive Party members, led by DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, will arrive in Seoul Tuesday to observe South Korea's presidential poll. During their stay there through Friday, the 16-member delegation, including five National Assembly members, will visit polling stations and meet with the three main candidates after the poll.

The presidential election on Thursday is closely contested by Lee Hoi-Chang of the revamped and renamed ruling Grand National Party, and main opposition National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) candidate Kim Dae-Jung. Seoul severed diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1992 in favor of Beijing. Kim Dae-Jung and Hsu Hsin-liang have known each other for several years.

Economics: foreign trade continues substantial growth trend
(source: Central News Agency) Taiwan's foreign trade continued to grow substantially in the first 11 months of this year, with export amounting to US$111.57 billion and import to US$103.84 billion, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Finance.

Trade surplus totaled US$7.73 billion in the period, a reduction of 38 percent from a year earlier, the statistics showed. Taiwan's export and import trade are expected to expand next year because of the devaluation of Taiwan currency and increases in domestic demand, said a ministry official.

Taiwan's surplus in trade with Hong Kong reached US$24.08 billion during the 11- month period, an increase of US$1.63 billion over a year ago. The surplus in trade with the United States totaled US$6.08 billion, a reduction of US$90 million from the first 11 months of 1996. However, during the 11-month period, Taiwan suffered a deficit of US$15.57 billion in trade with Japan, an increase of US$2.87 billion from a year earlier.

Exports from Taiwan in November amounted to US$11.41 billion, a hike of 11 percent over the same month last year. Imports totaled US$10.15 billion, an increase of 12.8 percent. Trade surplus in the month totaled US$1.26 billion, a reduction of 1.2 percent from the same month last year. Exports in November exceeded the US$11-billion mark for the first time, indicating that the devaluation of the Taiwan currency has helped sharpen the competitive edge of the country in the world market, the official said.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)


Labour: territory plans to import more workers
(source: Agence France-Presse) Hong Kong plans to import more foreign workers to cope with the government's mammoth housing projects, an official said Tuesday. Joseph Wong, secretary for educational and manpower, told a press conference that foreign workers were necessary in order "to ease any bottle-neck" in the labor supply. More than 21,000 extra construction workers will be needed by 2002 to fulfill the government's commitment to build 85,000 residential buildings over the next 10 years, he said.

Scandal: police bring Hongkong tycoon in for questioning about shady land deal
The shadow of a Taipei County land scandal yesterday loomed larger after authorities questioned Hong Kong media magnate Lam Pak-yan in connection with allegation of a second, larger re-zoning scandal.

The Investigation Bureau's Taipei office took Lam, chairman of Hong Kong-based Asia Television, and two of his secretaries for questioning on their alleged links with Chuang Yu-kun, a former director of the Taipei County Land Administration Bureau who has been under arrest since Chuang's alleged role in the Sanchih land scandal was revealed late last month.

Hsueh said Chuang had allegedly obtained some NT$100 million in bribes in exchange for providing information to Lam on the government's planned acquisition of a parcel of Taipei County land near the future site of National Taipei University. Lam is the registered owner of the land in question, the Central News Agency reported. Lam was detained at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport yesterday afternoon as he prepared to board a flight for Hong Kong. He had been in Taipei to attend Saturday's Golden Horse awards. Police said they had been waiting for several days for Lam to turn up at the airport. He was later transferred to the custody of the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office late last night.

Police said Chuang allegedly received the bribes to inform Lam, who also owns the Taipei-based Dollar Textile Corp., to procure land set aside for the university and surrounding areas in Sanhsia township. The media tycoon was said to have purchased the property when it was still a relatively cheap plot of farmland after Chuang allegedly tipped him off.

See also and

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)

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China Informed

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