BY WENDELL MINNICK
The Beijing-friendly KMT won 81 seats (71.7 percent) and the DPP only won 27 seats (23.9 percent) in the 7th Legislative Elections on Jan. 12. President Chen Shui-bian, who resigned as DPP chairman, stated that “this election is the worst setback in the history of the DPP.”
Chen also attacked
The legislative election comes just before the nationwide presidential election March 22 that pits KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou against DPP’s Frank Hsieh. The legislative results strongly suggest the KMT will regain the presidential seat it lost to Chen in 2000.
With a strong KMT-led legislature plus a KMT president, many expect a reversal of many of the DPP’s efforts to build a coalition for independence. This will be a relief to many in
Since the KMT lost the presidency to the DPP in 2000 and 2004, the KMT initiated an active campaign to disrupt the DPP’s ability to govern and opened a direct dialogue with
“If Hsieh wins, the KMT will repeat what it did in the past eight years. If Ma wins, defense purchases will be back. Not because KMT wants to strengthen security but because of the kickbacks,” complained the source.
However, others view a renewed KMT stewardship of the military as a positive development. Many argue that the KMT will strengthen the military as part of an overall strategy to establish a stronger position to deal with
Should Ma win the election, most expect he would initiate confidence-building measures across the
However, Ma’s plans might not go smoothly. Arthur Ding（丁樹範）, a cross-strait military affairs expert at the National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations, argues that “if Ma wins the election, the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] will also face a dilemma. Ma has endorsed One China, but with a different interpretation over what is One China.”
One of the key objectives of the KMT is to secure direct links between
A former official of the de facto U.S. Embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), argues that “no one knows exactly what the KMT will do, assuming it takes the presidency in March.”
The former AIT official said the KMT will be unlikely to save the deal offered by the Bush administration in 2001 for eight diesel submarines.
“One thing is true, the offer for submarines and other high-tech systems by the Bush administration is not likely to be offered by future presidents. However, with the 1,000-pound gorilla [
“Most likely, since the KMT is trying to build a more amicable relationship with Beijing, increase links and start a peaceful dialogue, they will not aggravate the gorilla and will not push for more major military systems,” said the former official.
“KMT officials have previously asserted to me that they don’t know how to effectively build a defense against the overwhelming numbers the PLA is throwing at them,” said the former AIT official. “With roughly 1,000 ballistic missiles facing them, they would have to purchase more than 2,000 PAC-3 ABMs to counter the threat. The cost of 2,000 PAC-3s would be more than they could afford, and finding enough competent army personnel to train and retain to man 2,000 PAC-3s seemed impossible.”
Should Ma win the election and begin negotiations with
“So the era of buying major systems from the