This week, the focus in Taiwan is on the possible change of KMT presidential candidate from Hung to Chu. In the world, the UN General Assembly wraps up and TPP negotiations conclude.
#Elections #KMT #Chu #RepealHung #TPP #UN #UNSCReform #Environment #GraceLeeBoggs #GraceLeeTaughtMe
Latest from Taiwan:
Here’s the run-down on KMT party central’s move to replace Hung with Eric Chu as KMT presidential candidate.1. With Hung Hsiu-chu’s low polls and the negative impact of her unification stance to KMT legislators’ re-elections, KMT chair Eric Chu discuss with Hung stepping down as presidential candidate, with Eric Chu himself to take over as candidate.
2. If Eric Chu does become candidate, he would have to step down as mayor of New Taipei City, which is sure to become a criticism later on in the campaign. An announcement to step down would occur around 10/16 to coincide the mayoral election with the other elections in January.
3. In order to replace Hung, the KMT would need to first amend the party charter, which does not allow for replacement of a candidate without an event of bribery, violence, illegal act, or criminal case. Then the KMT would need to repeal Hung’s candidacy, and then draft Eric Chu. On Wed, KMT party central decided on a single congress, expected to be held on Oct 17 or 24. Another date to watch is November 27, the deadline for presidential nomination.
4. Hung has threatened legal action, and there is potential for a lawsuit over the party having conducted procedures properly, or with due timelines. Hung’s camp also claims to possess recordings of Eric Chu that might show a transgression of Taiwan’s Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, which mandates fines and a min 3 years prison for offering “undue benefit” to a candidate in exchange for abandoning the campaign.
5. KMT supporters opposing Hung’s replacement protested in front of KMT headquarters Wed. Chang An-lo, the gangster “White Wolf”, also attended the protests. Some KMT members have vowed they will never vote for any other candidate if Hung is replaced.
6. Does a potential death-of-the-KMT come faster or slower with Chu as candidate? Does Chu’s candidacy show there is absolutely no unity within the party (and collapse is imminent)? Or does it let the KMT say Chu is bringing the KMT back to a more legitimate platform (and allow for a repudiation of Hung’s public statements on unification)? Finally, if Chu runs and loses, would the KMT turn to Wang Jin-pyng to lead the party?
Ongoing Trends in Asia and the World:
The concluded TPP negotiations, on Monday, Oct 5. Next step is ratification at home where needed.
- In pharmaceuticals, a 5-year minimum time period before a key type of drugs lose exclusivity. Twelve is the US-legislated minimum while most Asian countries have less than five. Low-income customers abroad could be hurt.
- In autos, import tariffs are waived if 45% of a vehicle comes from TPP countries. Under NAFTA, it’s 62.5%. The US cuts a 2.5% tariff on cars and 25% tariff on trucks, and US auto companies aren’t expected to benefit from the TPP.
- In agriculture, countries held firm on some protections, but agreed to ease up on others. Little change in Japan for imported rice, Canada for dairy, and the US for sugar. Winners are US beef and pork, and a big loser is US tobacco, which was not discussed in TPP negotiations.
- Hillary Clinton is officially against the TPP, which sets her at odds with the Obama Administration.
- China has been left out of the TPP, but has been in talks since 2012 with Asian countries on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement.
- In other news. At the UN, Xi Jinping announced a commitment to contributing 8,000 peacekeeping troops and funding, exceeding the 100 each from the US and Russia, in contrast to China’s own local aggression. Some think it’s about influence over African investments, but China is also funding African peacekeeping forces to help the African Union.
- Keeping up with the times. Also in focus with the UN was Security Council reform. Japan, India, Germany, and Brazil formed the “G4” seeking permanent membership. The EU wants an EU seat; Brazil’s Latin American neighbors don’t trust Brazil as spokesperson, and Japan and India have historic opposition from China and Pakistan. Most non-P5 UN members feel the structure needs to update to match the times, though.
- All interconnected. Smog from Indonesia has been a problem for its neighbors and reached Thailand for the first time Monday. The pollution has closed schools and stopped flights, and comes from palm oil and paper plantations burning forests illegally.
- Recurring themes. China’s international investments continue meeting hardship. China’s own economic contraction lowered demand for commodities from Latin America, while the usual environmental and political issues with partner countries continue.
Matters of Perspective:
- Pictorial Perspectives. A break this week from the usually longer perspective pieces. In Mongolia, an artist juxtaposes photos of past scenery into current settings to show the drastic effects of climate change.
For Something Completely Different:
- Grace Lee Boggs passed away at age 100 on Monday, October 5. Born in 1915, she was active since the 1940s in civil rights, and social and economic justice, and worked with Malcolm X. Even after age 95, she continued writing and speaking, and working to build community in Detroit, Michigan. Her philosophy on social change highlighted the need for community, connection, and personal change.
(Feature photo of Tamsui River, by Chieh-Ting Yeh.)