Year 2000 No. 51, March 20, 2000

Elections in Taiwan:

US Imperialism Arrogantly Meddles in China’s Affairs

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index : Discuss

Elections in Taiwan:
US Imperialism Arrogantly Meddles in China’s Affairs

Rover and Ford NEWS IN BRIEF:
Calls Grow for Boycott of BMW Cars
Ford Denies Plan to Cut 4,000 Jobs
House of Commons to Investigate Rover Sale
Stephen Byers Accuses BMW
BMW under Pressure to Help Tackle Job Losses

Ruthless Attack on Cuban Sugar Industry

US "Aid" Package for Colombia

NATO Expansion Threatens Russian Security

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Elections in Taiwan:

US Imperialism Arrogantly Meddles in China’s Affairs

On March 18, presidential elections took place in the island of Taiwan, in which the victorious candidate stood for "independence" for the island which since 1949 has been forcibly separated from the People’s Republic of China.

The political leaders of Taiwan, backed by US imperialism, have been using the occasion to re-assert Taiwanese claims to complete independence from the People’s Republic of China, to create hostility between the peoples of Taiwan and mainland China, and to make provocations and attack the Government of China. In the last few days Taiwan is reported to have put its armed forces on "heightened alert". For their part, the government of the People’s Republic of China, which in recent years has been able to restore both Hong Kong and Macau to Chinese sovereignty, has reaffirmed the long-cherished aim of the Chinese people to reunite China and Taiwan. It has suggested that reunification could take place on the basis of the "one country, two systems" formula, and called on the leaders of Taiwan not to delay talks on indefinitely.

The separation of Taiwan and mainland China first took place as a consequence of the invasion of the island by Japanese imperialism in 1895. It was then restored to Chinese rule in 1945 but was administered by the reactionary government of Chaing Kai-Chek which fled from the mainland China in the course of its defeat in the Chinese Revolution. Chiang’s government in Taiwan established itself through the most barbaric methods and was responsible for the execution of some 30,000 of the island’s population by 1947. Chiang’s KMT government have been in power ever since with the aid of US imperialism, which saw the island as an "unsinkable aircraft carrier", an important bulwark against communism and a strategic base in the Asia Pacific region. In recent years the US has again encouraged Taiwan’s claims for independence and has sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan straits, its largest show of force in the region since the Vietnam war. In the last few days the US government has summoned China’s ambassador and arrogantly demanded that China stop making demands for unification and warning against Taiwan’s politicians from using the elections as a means to assert independence

In response to the elections the Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that it is "glad to see the people of Taiwan can exercise their right", but it added that "the elections in Taiwan are local elections and election of leaders cannot lead to Taiwan being separated from the motherland by independent forces there. This cannot change the fact that Taiwan is part of China." A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry also warned the US government over arms sales to Taiwan and accused US imperialism of interfering in China’s internal affairs. He added that China "will by no means sit idly by if any situation that we do not want arises."

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Rover and Ford NEWS IN BRIEF

Calls Grow for Boycott of BMW Cars

Calls are growing for a boycott of BMW cars following the German company’s sell-off of Rover. Union leaders and Birmingham MPs are asking British consumers to think twice before buying one of the company’s luxury motors. Tony Blair is reported to be holding back from expressing support or disapproval for such calls.

Ford Denies Plan to Cut 4,000 Jobs

The Ford Motor Company has denied reports that it is to end all car assembly at the Dagenham factory, with the loss of up to 4,000 jobs. Ford announced three weeks ago that it was carrying out a review of its world-wide production facilities. This review is expected to be completed in May and lead to closures. A spokesman said no decisions on the future of the plant had yet been reached.

House of Commons to Investigate Rover Sale

An investigation into the Rover sell-off has been announced by the House of Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee. Committee chairman Martin O’Neill told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour that the inquiry would begin within a fortnight, and would seek to establish a firm record of the events surrounding the sale. It will also explore what options there are for finding an alternative buyer for Rover, look at the government’s role in the affair and ask whether it could have done more.

Stephen Byers Accuses BMW

Stephen Byers, the Trade and Industry Secretary accused BMW of secretiveness over the sell-off of Rover which had undermined the chances of providing a regeneratin package for the West Midlands. He said that he had been misled at a meeting with BMW director Prof Werner Samann six days before the sale was officially confirmed. Stephen Byers said that the German car maker was still assuring him that plans were in place to reduce losses at Rover. It is understood that Prof Samann later apologised to Mr Byers, saying that he was unable to discuss the sale with him for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

BMW under Pressure to Help Tackle Job Losses

Pressure is mounting on BMW to make a large contribution to the regeneration efforts needed to cope with the expected Rover job losses. Trade and Inudstry Secretary Stephen Byers and delegations from trade unions will be visiting BMW’s Munich headquarters over the next week to discuss the impact of the decision which according to them came as a "shock".

Article Index


Ruthless Attack on Cuban Sugar Industry

Losses resulting from the US blockade and aggressions affecting the Cuba’s main industry total more than $11.1 million USD, announced Andrés Sarasola, consultant to the minister of the sugar industry, during the presentation of expert testimony in the court where the lawsuit against the United States is being heard.

According to an article in Granma International, listed among the main causes of this loss was agricultural sabotage; arson committed against sugarcane plantations, warehouses and other installations in the sector; destabilisation of the work force; breakdowns obliging the sugar mills to store cane for prolonged periods, thereby severely reducing its sugar content; and threats of armed aggressions requiring the mobilisation of workers from the sector into combat posts.

However, the expert stressed, the first attack, direct and ruthless in nature, against this industry was the cancellation of the sugar quota by the US National Security Council at the beginning of the 1960s which totally closed off access to a market where Cuba had sold 60% of its sugar, the mainstay of its economy.

This had serious repercussions for the first harvests after the triumph of the Revolution. The loss of the market also forced Cubans to import machinery from distant countries lacking in experience of sugarcane technology, and whose equipment was poorer quality and frequently inadequate, according to expert Juan Godefoy García, who also testified during the hearing.

Andrés Sarasola explained that the equipment brought from the former Soviet bloc required a vast amount of fuel, which together with other factors, contributed to a huge increase in production costs, in the production of raw as well as refined sugar.

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US "Aid" Package for Colombia

On March 9, the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives passed an emergency supplemental aid package. This supplemental package includes $1.7 billion in "aid" for Colombia, most of which is destined for the Colombian military. The package includes $400 million more for Colombia than originally anticipated. It confirms that under the pretext of "stemming the drug trade" and ending the armed conflict between the liberation forces of FARC-EP and the Colombian military and the fascist "self-defence units", the US stepping up its interference and intervention in the South American nation.

It is reported that this aid for Colombia’s military was approved by the House Appropriations Committee without any significant human rights conditionality or aid for the 1.8 million people in Colombia who have been displaced by the violence or being massacred by the fascist forces.

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NATO Expansion Threatens Russian Security

Valery Manilov, first deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said in Moscow on March 11 that Russia remains staunchly opposed to NATO expansion and views it as a threat to national security.

The Russian leadership "has not changed its position regarding NATO's enlargement," he said, according to the Itar-Tass news agency. "NATO's enlargement to the east envisages moving the bloc's military component close to Russia's borders and poses a potential threat to our country," Manilov said. He said Russia would "act toward this threat with means and methods that are inherent in our national policy and possibilities." He went on to say, "These measures may be asymmetrical, but in any case they will be effective."

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