Date of this Version
March 21, 2008 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
As American attention is captivated by the war in Iraq and, more recently, our own upcoming national election, another important event is about to take place on the other side of the Pacific Ocean: the presidential election of Taiwan on March 21 (March 22 local time). This event is of great importance to the United States for a number of reasons. First, there is the economic significance of Taiwan, which has emerged in recent decades as an important player in the global economy, especially in the IT sector. For instance, over 90% of the world’s OEM notebook PCs comes out of Taiwan factories, and Taiwan companies have also developed their own brand names, such as ACER. Besides, the island boasts companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker. America’s ninth largest trade partner in 2007, Taiwan has also been an important buyer of American weapons and other goods. Second, there is the geopolitical significance of Taiwan. U.S. links to Taiwan are a vital factor in the often fragile but increasingly mutually dependent relationship between China and the United States, countries that are widely viewed as the world’s two superpowers.