Taipei Mon Amour

At the moment, Taiwan is facing a new election, between the two main parties the DPP and KMT. The KMT are the old guard, who fled the Maoist revolution on the mainland, bringing with them the entire Chinese gold and foreign currency reserve. The DPP only came into existence in the mid-Eighties, as part of moves towards eventual democratisation.

To cut a very long and confusing story short, you just need to know that the KMT, despite having fled mainland China, are the party who most favour renewed cultural and economic contact with the Chinese government. The DPP are the ones who generally want an official declaration of independence from China; and despite being one of the boom economies of the Asian-Pacific, a lot of maps still show Taiwan as being part of China.

You have no idea how much this pisses off a lot of Taiwanese. Things got bad enough in the mid-Nineties that the Chinese military forces fired some 'test missiles' over Taiwan when they thought the then-DPP President was getting too cozy with Washington. Cue a major political crisis.

At the moment, the KMT are in charge again, and things are terribly cosy between President Ma and Beijing. Things, however, are not necessarily looking good for Ma in the upcoming elections, which means the DPP could wind up back in power. Which is why I find the following recent statement taken from the BBC news so weirdly entertaining:
"We don't need outsiders' help to win votes (said Sun Yang-Ming, vice president of the Cross-Strait Interflow Prospect Foundation, a government-linked think tank), but we hope they will avoid such actions as making threats or conducting military manoeuvres, including test-firing missiles."
Does make our politics look a bit bland, by comparison, doesn't it?

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