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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

Week of May 22, 1998

HONG KONG-TAIWAN Taiwan's top mainland policy-maker quietly arrived in Hong Kong on May 10 for a four-day visit and was given "official treatment." Chang King-yuh, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, is the highest official to visit the territory since it returned to Beijing last year.

As official talks between Taipei and Beijing looked likely, Taiwan launched four days of war games. The maneuvers - repelling an imaginary attack - took place off the country's southeast coast, away from China, and were seen as less provocative than those in the past.


Week of May 15, 1998

Negotiators will go to Geneva on May 8 to push Taipei's bid to join the World Trade Organization. Its membership is effectively blocked since China, which has been trying to join for 11 years, still faces hurdles - although the WTO denies it has a policy of not accepting Taiwan before the mainland.


Week of May 1, 1998

Clinton in China: What About Hong Kong?

Washington says no final decision has been made yet, but sources in Taiwan's Foreign Ministry insist they have convinced the Americans to have President Bill Clinton visit Hong Kong on July 3, as the last stop on his 10-day visit to China. Beijing wants Clinton to be in Hong Kong on July 1, the first anniversary of the handover of the former British colony. The dispute is more than just a logistical quibble.

Taipei is fearful of yet another strong signal of international approval for last year's takeover. Their worry is that as Beijing's policy of "one country, two systems" succeeds - or even just looks like it is succeeding - in Hong Kong, international support for Taiwan's autonomy weakens. The issue is so important that President Lee Teng-hui himself has lobbied hard to make sure Clinton isn't in Hong Kong on the anniversary. For Beijing, Clinton's itinerary has significance beyond Taiwan's concerns. The mainlanders want the American president to visit Hong Kong as part of his swing through southern China, and not just as a departure point for his trip home. They want Hong Kong - now a Special Administrative Region - clearly recognized as an integral part of the country, more than some historic anomaly appended to the mainland.

The final announcement of the details of Clinton's trip will come when Secretary of State MadeleineAlbright goes to China on April 29 and 30. The presidential visit will end on July 3 - Clinton must be back in the States by July 4, the American Independence Day. The president straddles a tough political situation at home. Taipei has a lot of support within Congress and in the press. As relations between Washington and Beijing warm, how the issue of Hong Kong is handled could give another clear prediction of whose good will Washington values more, Taipei's or Beijing's.

CHINA-TAIWAN Representatives from both sides, ostensibly representing only quasi-official organizations, started three days of talks on April 22 in Beijing. Contact was cut in mid-1995 by China, when Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui made an unofficial visit to the U.S.


Week of April 24, 1998

A GROUP OF TAIPEI NEGOTIATORS WILL VISIT CHINA on April 21, the first delegation from the island in nearly three years. Chan Chih-hung, vice secretary general of the Straits Exchange Foundation, Taiwan's quasi-official negotiating body, is to lead the group, according to an initial report in the China Times Express.


Week of April 10, 1998

HONG KONG-TAIWAN There is plenty of speculation about who will buy Lim Por-yen's shares in Asia Television. The 83-year-old Hong Kong businessman is still in jail in Taipei, facing bribery charges. Rumored suitors include Beijing-backed tycoon Tsui Tsin-tong and Rupert Murdoch's STAR TV.


Week of April 3, 1998

"We cannot depart from reality and focus on very contentious political issues which are unlikely to bring results," Shi Hwei-yow, secretary-general of the Straits Exchange Foundation said. Shi flies to Beijing in April to resume contacts. He called for more flexibility from China.


Week of March 27, 1998

China Development Corp., the largest investment company linked to the Kuomintang, will pump $300 million into Southeast Asia as part of Taipei's efforts to boost ties in the region. The move was linked to a Taiwan delegation's nine-day tour of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.


Week of March 20, 1998

CHINA-TAIWAN Beijing's negotiating body on Taiwan, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, agreed to host visitors from Taiwan to re-start negotiations. Taipei countered with a timetable on talks which it says could lead to a summit between top officials.

ROLAND DUMAS, A FORMER FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER who now heads France's highest court, denied wrongdoing in a graft probe of the sale of warships to Taipei. The charges involve a $2.5-billion deal for six frigates in 1991. Initially vetoed by the French government after opposition from China, the deal eventually went through.>


Week of March 13, 1998

Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan made a four-day private visit aimed at exploring investment opportunities and strengthening bilateral ties. Lien arrived at a Subang airport building usually reserved for visiting heads of state. Reporters covering his arrival were barred from entering the building. A limousine with no flag and a police escort whisked him away.

The defense ministry will scrap the four-decade-old compulsory military service for higher-education students by the end of the year. It is part of the effort to cut down the size of the military forces. Each year up to 60,000 young men take six weeks of military training during their summer and winter vacations.


Week of March 6, 1998

BEIJING SIGNALLED IT MIGHT accept Taipei's terms for ending the 31-month old hiatus in semi-offical talks. China will host Taiwan's political envoy Koo Chen-fu "at an appropriate time." Koo's visit had been proposed by Taiwan in November and again in January.

CHANG KUO-CHENG, deputy director of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, says that under a new law anyone endangering flight safety could be fined or jailed for up to seven years. The new legislation includes a strict ban on the use of mobile phones aboard local airlines.


Week of February 20, 1998

SOUTH KOREA-TAIWAN Kuomintang secretary general John Chang is the highest party official to visit South Korea from Taiwan since Seoul dropped Taipei and recognized Beijing in 1992. He flew to Seoul on Feb. 11, two weeks before president-elect Kim Dae Jung takes office.


Week of February 6, 1998

CHINA-TAIWAN Beijing dropped its demand that Taipei recognize Chinese sovereignty as a precondition for resuming cross-strait negotiations. The mainland also renewed its call to resume the talks that were abandoned in 1995, when President Lee Teng-hui visited the United States.

NO SURPRISE - the ruling Kuomintang kept its hold on grassroots political power by taking 67% of city- and county-council seats, and 81% of township chiefs and mayors' positions. But the elections were discounted by many, who claimed widespread vote buying distorted the results.


Week of January 30, 1998

INDONESIA-TAIWAN Officials in Jakarta met with Taiwan Premier Vincent Siew, despite strong protests from China. His trip is part of Taipei's diplomatic offensive tied to the regional financial crisis, which Taiwan has largely escaped so far. Beijing rumbled a warning to Asian countries (Siew has recently been to Singapore) to "strictly honor their commitments to the one-China policy."

LIM POR YEN, detained in connection with a Taipei land scandal, was released on $297,000 bail. The chairman of Hong Kong's Lai Sun Group and Asia Television was seized at Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek airport on Dec. 16 as he was leaving Taiwan after being accused of bribing a county official.


Week of January 9, 1998

TAIWAN-SINGAPORE Vice President Lien Chan will make a private visit to Singapore for a New Year holiday. Lien will meet with Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, PM Goh Chok Tong and other government officials during his four-day "private vacation," Taipei newspapers reported.


News from Taiwan in 1997


News from Taiwan in 1996


News from Taiwan in 1995


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