The past three months saw a continued souring of public opinion and the end of the honeymoon period for President Ma Ying-jeou’s government, and the continued delay of Congressional notifications for U.S. arms sales added further strain to an already difficult period. Challenges extant both in the economic sphere and with domestic administration may have significant implications for cross-Strait affairs, as well as for Taiwan’s national security policy.
While Taipei was bolstered by its diplomatic victory when the Bush administration finally submitted the notifications to Congress for a scaled-back arms package in early October, much uncertainty remains regarding the best way forward for Taiwan’s national defense establishment. Debates on defense and national security issues are expected to rage in the coming months as the Ma administration transforms its strategic vision into policy.
This quarterly report will provide an overview of the major political events in Taiwan during the third quarter of 2008, together with an appraisal of the developments and trends that are likely to influence defense and national security issues on the island, a status update on US-Taiwan defense relations, and an update on the progress of current Taiwan procurement programs.