The year 2010 began with encouraging progress for a number of Taiwan’s long-delayed defense programs. But President Ma Ying-jeou may be finding it increasingly difficult to justify his support of continued defense procurements, given his desire to highlight the positive changes in cross-Strait relations as his presidency approaches the mid-term mark. Meanwhile, political battles also loom as the island moves closer to its historic trade pact with China. Reeling from a series of political setbacks in 2009, the Ma Administration has been trying to regain some initiative, with limited success. In addition, fiscal challenges can be expected to continue to hamper Taiwan, despite apparent signs of an economic recovery.
This report provides a brief overview of significant developments during the first three months of 2010, and examines some of the factors that influenced the course of events during this period.