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Posts Tagged ‘Taiwan’

10th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the American Armed Forces has apparently traveled to China for talks with leaders in that nation. In order to provide some insight into these developments it is best to quote directly from the official Voice of America website, VOANews.com:

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, began a four-day visit to China Sunday for talks with top leaders and high-ranking military officials…Mullen said he will discuss stalled nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, the Taiwan issue, U.S.-China relations, territorial disputes in the South China Sea and other matters. The admiral is in China at the invitation of Army Chief of the General Staff Chen Bingde…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

It would appear as though American personnel and Chinese officials are undertaking efforts to discuss sensitive and significant issues which pertain to China, the United States, and possibly the Greater Asia-Pacific region. The ramifications of such discussions could have an impact not only upon US and Chinese policy, but also upon the policies adopted by the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, which includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), the so-called BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), or APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) members. Hopefully the meetings noted above will result in benefits for all concerned.

In matters pertaining to ASEAN it would appear as though that organization will be holding discussions with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) in order to share ideas regarding a framework for cooperation. To provide detailed information to the reader it is best to quote directly from the Oman Daily Observer website OmanObserver.om:

SALALAH — The Sultanate will host today deliberations of the first meeting of the working team of economic and trade co-operation between the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and Asean states at the level of experts and specialists. The two-day meeting, which will be held here, will discuss a framework agreement for the economic, commercial and investment co-operation, steps to start free trade negotiations between the two sides after the completion of studies and means of exploring investment opportunities on each other’s sides in the fields of construction, services and infrastructure…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read about this situation further.

Anytime trade negotiations commence it should be noted that well-drafted trade agreements can have a dramatic and positive impact upon the economies in the jurisdictions which engage in such frameworks. That stated, a well drafted free trade agreement takes time to craft and often comes about only after a relatively protracted period of negotiation. Therefore, those interested in seeing positive developments which further sustainable trade are likely to wait while an acceptable agreement is forged. In a previous posting on this blog it was noted that an American Senator recently proposed a US-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in order to facilitate further trade between the United States of America and the collection of nations which compose the membership of ASEAN. Hopefully all of these proposals culminate in beneficial trade circumstances in the future.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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9th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Bankruptcy Courts may soon be hearing cases involving bankruptcy petitions for couples who have entered into a same sex marriage. In order to provide further insight it is prudent to quote directly from the official website of the Reuters News Service, Reuters.com:

The U.S. Justice Department has dropped its opposition to joint bankruptcy petitions filed by same-sex married couples in a victory for supporters of gay marriage. The policy change is the latest setback for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which has come under increasing pressure since the Obama administration said in February that it would no longer defend its constitutionality. Until now, the Justice Department had routinely intervened to stop joint bankruptcy cases filed by same-sex couples. The Department’s position had been that the bankruptcy code only allows joint filings by opposite-sex spouses as defined under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage. In an unexpected turnabout, the department on Wednesday filed a request to withdraw its appeal in one such case. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler confirmed the policy change in an e-mail to Reuters on Thursday. “The Department of Justice has informed bankruptcy courts that it will no longer seek dismissal of bankruptcy petitions filed jointly by same-sex debtors who are married under state law,” she wrote…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this interesting article by Terry Baynes which was edited by Cynthia Johnston.

Although the main thrust of this blog is not centered upon the discussion of federal bankruptcy issues, this change in policy to recognize those same sex couples married under State law is certainly a victory for advocates of LGBT Equality. Concurrently, it is also a victory for proponents of States’ Rights, a doctrine which holds many of the prerogatives and laws of the States in high regard relative to those of the federal government of the United States of America. Meanwhile, advocates for full LGBT Equality must continue to wait for full legal recognition of equal rights until such time as the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is either repealed, replaced with legislation similar to the Respect for Marriage Act, or amended in such a way that true equality under the law is granted for the individuals involved while the prerogatives of the sovereign American States are respected. Something perhaps akin to the doctrine of “certainty” enshrined in the provisions of the Respect for Marriage Act noted above.

In an American immigration context, it should be noted that members of the LGBT community cannot be granted the same visa benefits in the same manner as other communities since same sex bi-national couples are not able to obtain travel documents such as the CR-1 visa, the IR-1 visa, or the K-1 visa in the same way as their different-sex counterparts. Therefore until such time as DOMA is repealed this situation is unlikely to change. In the event that legislation such as the Respect for Marriage Act, the Reuniting Families Act, or the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) is enacted by the Congress and signed into law by the President then a same sex bi-national couple may be able to petition for US immigration benefits for their spouse or fiance. As of the time of this writing, such a scenario is not yet feasible.

In news related to China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) it recently came to this blogger’s attention that tensions appear to be subsiding with respect to the various issues surrounding the South China Sea. This assessment is made based upon apparent announcements from the Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario.  To provide more information it is necessary to quote directly from the website of Business World Online, BWorldOnline.com:

BEIJING –FOREIGN AFFAIRS Secretary Albert F. del Rosario on Friday said he and ranking Chinese officials agreed to settle the territorial dispute in the South China Sea through guidelines agreed upon by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) almost a decade ago.Mr. Del Rosario, who talked to foreign journalists at the St. Regis Hotel near the Philippine embassy, said “yes” when asked if his two-day visit was a success, adding that both side have renewed their commitment to bring stability in the area amid recent tensions. “The two sides reaffirmed their commitments to respect and abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and the ASEAN member countries in 2002,” Mr. del Rosario said, referring to his meeting with Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. “Both ministers agreed to further strengthen the bonds and friendship and cooperation between the two countries and to fully implement the Joint Action Plan,” he added. “Both ministers exchanged views on the maritime disputes and agreed not to let the maritime disputes affect the broader picture of friendship and cooperation between the two countries,” Mr. del Rosario further said…The South China Sea, which hosts the oil-rich Spratly Islands, has been claimed in part or wholly by Brunei Darrusalam, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. In a conference in Manila late this week, foreign policy experts called for a binding agreement among Spratly claimants to resolve conflicting positions…[sic]

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this insightful article by Darwin T. Wee.

As can be gathered from the excerpt noted above, there have been many geopolitical facets to the South China Sea dispute, but one notable aspect of this developing situation is that the parties have a seemingly genuine desire to deal with the matter reasonably and and peacefully. Hopefully this attitude will continue and these issues can be resolved to the benefit of all concerned.

At the time of this writing, China continues to show signs of increasing economic and political strength. These developments come amidst news that Malaysia has maintained trade discussions with various African and Islamic nations while simultaneously playing a role within ASEAN. At the same time, circumstances in the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have lead many to believe that all of these jurisdiction will show further economic flourish in the future. Vietnam and Taiwan are dealing with rather new issues as they find themselves confronting the rest of the world on somewhat different terms compared to times past. These developments have both positive and negative ramifications for these jurisdictions, but the overall economic and political forecasts for all of these places appears bright.

As the aforementioned dispute appears to be moving toward a resolution it is hoped that further disputes can be handled using some sort of framework which provides efficiency in adjudicating issues while simultaneously operating on terms which all parties concerned can agree upon.

For information related to same sex marriage and the intersection between State and federal law please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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26th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) may have witnessed what would appear to have been an inadvertent breach of the American border by a convoy of Mexican troops. In order to provide further insight into these developments it may be prudent to quote directly from the official website of the NBC affiliate KGNS-TV at Pro8News.com:

A convoy of three military trucks loaded with Mexican soldiers crosses the border at Bridge Number Two clearly violating  international law. It happens as Customs and Border Protection inspectors try to figure out what to do. A CBP spokesperson says they got on the phone with Mexican authorities after being alerted that the military trucks were heading their direction loaded down with soldiers and weapons. Mexican leaders say the soldiers, who had just been deployed to Nuevo Laredo, didn’t know the area, got lost and then made their way through Bridge Two. It’s important to note that CBP did not tell us about the potentially serious situation. It came from another law enforcement agency…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this informative article as well as the video coverage of this event.

Readers may be taken somewhat aback upon learning of some of these events as it is not everyday that Americans see such developments. That stated, this blogger would feel somewhat remiss if he failed to bring up a  similar incident which occurred in Spain a little over 9 years ago, if only to provide some perspective. To quote directly from a 2002 article posted on the official website of CNN, CNN.com:

British troops temporarily invaded Spain when a landing exercise on Gibraltar went wrong. About 20 Royal Marines landed in bad weather on a Spanish beach, thinking they were on British territory. They hastily retreated after locals told them of their error… Spain’s foreign ministry played down the incident as a harmless error that would not undermine negotiations aimed at resolving the Gibraltar issue…

Those interested in the full details of the aforementioned event are encouraged to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to ascertain the whole story.

Clearly, even in an international context, accidents can happen. Inadvertent mistakes can occur. Hopefully these events will be a lesson to America’s public servants about the need to anticipate unexpected events. This blogger must state that in all of his rather limited dealings with USCBP personnel they have comported themselves in a very professional manner. To be candid, USCBP has one of the more difficult jobs in all of the pantheon of American civil service as their responsibilities place USCBP officers in situations where they encounter the most unexpected events (as can be seen from the aforementioned quotation). It is likely hoped that these circumstances will provide insight to future officers. On a side note: unless there has been some very recent change of which this blogger is unaware, the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) currently chairs the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sub-committee on Customs Procedures. This post was handed off from the Japan Customs and Tariff Bureau in September of last year.

In somewhat related news it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Foreign Minister of Singapore has noted his belief that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may have a role in dealing with tensions arising in the South China Sea. To quote directly from the website of Channel News Asia, ChannelNewsAsia.com:

INDONESIA: Singapore said ASEAN can play a role managing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The resource rich waters are being claimed – in part or all – by a number of ASEAN countries, as well as China and Taiwan. Tensions recently escalated between the Philippines and China over overlapping claims. Singapore’s Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said all parties must learn to resolve these occasional incidences, without increasing tension…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the appropriate hyperlinks above to read this story in detail.

Clearly, the nations which compose ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) are going to be increasingly important in any international dialogue pertaining to the South China Sea. The news noted above comes amidst developing news regarding talks between the United States and China. It would appear as though one of the main objectives of these talks is the maintenance of freedom of navigation at sea. However, maintaining such freedom can often require timely discussions especially in geographic areas with a history of tension. To quote further from ChannelNewsAsia.com:

HONOLULU, Hawaii : The United States and China were holding first-of-a-kind talks Saturday on rising tensions in the South China Sea, with Beijing angry over Washington’s support of Southeast Asian countries. Senior officials of the Pacific powers were meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, days after the United States rallied behind the Philippines and Vietnam which have been alarmed at what they see as Beijing’s growing assertiveness at sea. Kurt Campbell, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said ahead of the talks that he would make clear to China the “strong principles” of the United States in defence of freedom of navigation…[sic]

This blogger encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more.

Disputes occurring on the high seas can sometimes have implications for virtually every country around the world. As Southeast Asian nations continue to thrive and expand both in a domestic economic context as well as in an international economic context it stands to reason that their growth may be concerning to other jurisdictions in Asia. Meanwhile, the increasing prominence of the so-called BRICS countries in an international context has raised discussion regarding the geopolitical complexion of the future global economy. Hopefully, discussions pertaining to all of these matters will yield tangible benefits for the people who could be most impacted by events occurring in this region.

For information about conducting business in the United States of America please see: US Company Registration.

For information about legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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23rd June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that American federal legislators appear poised to introduce legislation aimed at legalizing marijuana in an intra-State context (although there do appear to be measures in place to deal with the possibility of inter-State smuggling and issues associated therewith). To provide better perspective on this issue it may be best to quote directly from Yahoo News Canada at Yahoo.com:

A group of US representatives plan to introduce legislation that will legalize marijuana and allow states to legislate its use, pro-marijuana groups said Wednesday. The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, and allow people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The bill, which is expected to be introduced on Thursday by Republican Representative Ron Paul and Democratic Representative Barney Frank, would be the first ever legislation designed to end the federal ban on marijuana. Sixteen of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes…

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more about these developments. Readers are also prudent to note that as of the time of this writing, marijuana is either illegal or its usage is highly restricted in many jurisdictions around the globe. Those Americans interested in learning more about such matters are encouraged to contact a licensed attorney in their jurisdiction. Readers should further note that usage of marijuana is strictly prohibited in the Kingdom of Thailand.

These developments are interesting as it would appear that the real impetus behind this legislative move stems from what would appear to be a genuine bi-partisan desire on the part of legislators to find new sources of tax revenue at the State and federal levels while simultaneously relaxing restrictive regulations that diminish the civil liberties of the American Citizenry. Readers are asked to recall that Representative Barney Frank has been a proponent of a more permissive regulatory structure pertaining to online gaming. Meanwhile, Representative Ron Paul has been an ardent advocate for American civil, individual, and States’ Rights for a number of years. It will be interesting how this proposed legislation fares in the nation’s Congress.

Although seemingly unrelated to the developments in the United States, officials on the island of Taiwan have recently noted that there is to be a relaxation of restrictions placed upon tourists coming to that location from Mainland China. In order to place these developments in context it may be prudent to quote directly from the website News.com.au:

TAIWAN has lifted a decades-old ban on travel to the island by individual Chinese tourists, saying visitors would act as “peace ambassadors” for the former arch foe. The first batch of independent mainland tourists, from Beijing, Shanghai and the city of Xiamen on the southeast coast, were expected to arrive next Tuesday, local media reported. Travel between the island and mainland stopped at the end of the civil war in 1949, and mainland tourists have so far only been allowed to visit Taiwan in groups due to official concerns they might otherwise overstay their visas and work illegally…

The administration of this blog recommends that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to learn more details on this developing story.

Clearly, intra-China tourism is likely to increase revenue and commerce for all concerned. As noted previously on this blog, China continues to show signs that there will be significant economic growth moving forward. It stands to reason that such growth may have beneficial consequences for other jurisdictions in the region as Chinese tourists travel to other locales and Chinese businesses trade and increase their presence in foreign venues. Hopefully these developments will be an economic boon to the Taiwanese economy.

For information related to pending legislation in the United States please see: Uniting American Families Act or Respect for Marriage Act.

For information related to legal services in Asia please see: Legal.

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