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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek

MARCH 3, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 8

Thunder Out Of China
But the noise could disguise a peace feeler

Cover: The Scapegoat?
Blamed for the riots surrounding the fall of Suharto, controversial ex-general Prabowo Subianto tells his story
- Investigation: No single "mastermind" was behind the May 1998 turmoil. There were many players, and many plots
- Insight: Re-examining Prabowo's record in East Timor
- Insider: How the general and son-in-law benefited - and was compromised - by being part of the First Family

Editorial: The Internet is the most compelling agent of economic reform
Editorial: A good year for Kim Jong Il - but watch out

Malaysia: The real campaign for national leadership heats up
- Anwar: A decision on Mahathir's testimony is put off again
- Shadows: A play looks at Malaysia's troubled political soul

Hong Kong: The former colony is starting to trust the motherland

Taiwan: Beijing demands unification talks - or else

Japan: Obuchi raises (but doesn't fire) the starting gun for polls

Cambodia: A culture of violence and impunity undermines justice

Fashion: The spirited new styles suit Asia's mood
- Accessories: The rule is - there is no rule
- Menswear: Casual, chic - and inspired by womenswear
- Kenzo: The Japanese couturier bids farewell to the catwalk Investors rush for a piece of a Hong Kong company with no history, few employees and lots of hype

Kosdaq: Korea's over-the-counter stock market soars

Scandal: Can Manila recover from the BW Resources fiasco?

Investing: Betting on the New India

The Net:
The freebie formula gets tested in Singapore

Cutting Edge: A keyboard you can fit on your Palm

Newsmakers: Japan's crown prince vents his anger

Viewpoint: To fight corruption, reform China's politics

If it's in Asia, it's in Asiaweek


Analysis and commentary from the Asian Edition of TIME Magazine
Asia's most comprehensive source for latest breaking news and information

Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui had dropped the first bombshell. Seven months ago, he told an interviewer that the island had a "special state-to-state relationship" with China, the closest Taipei ever came to declaring independence. At first Beijing seemed unsure how to respond. Critical rhetoric and a few military maneuvers soon gave way to silence. But on Feb. 28, that silence was dramatically broken when China published a lengthy White Paper setting out its views on Taiwan. Beijing reiterated its standing position that an independence bid or foreign intervention would be grounds for war. But this time, it added a new condition: Taiwan's continued refusal to undertake serious talks toward reunification could also lead to military conflict.

The paper was clearly timed to influence Taiwan voters, who will pick a new president on March 18. The statement challenges all three frontrunning candidates - Vice President Lien Chan of the ruling Kuomintang, independent James Soong and Chen Shui-bian of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. But its chief target seemed to be Chen. The DPP officially advocates Taiwan independence, even though Chen has played down the option in line with local public opinion, which favors maintaining the status quo in cross-strait relations.

Predictably, the Taiwan government rejected Beijing's analysis. "It is a known fact that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been under separate rule since 1949," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Henry Chen. He urged China to stop trying to intimidate Taiwan people. Similar sentiments were expressed by Lin Chong-pin, vice chairman of Taipei's policymaking Mainland Affairs Council. Notably, however, neither Lin nor any of the presidential contenders repeated President Lee's "two-states" formula - which Lien had highlighted only days before while outlining his own mainland platform. Instead, Lin suggested the two sides return to a flexible consensus that acknowledges the existence of "one China," but at the same time leaves the definition vague.

Beijing's statement rejected comparisons of China's division with that of Germany. And it ruled out self-determination for Taiwan as well as Taipei's demand that the mainland change its political system before serious talks could begin. Such calls, said Beijing, were "an excuse for postponing or resisting reunification." Yet, China has also softened some of its previous views. For the first time, Beijing said it would not treat Taiwan simply as a local government. It promised that the two sides would enjoy equal status in any negotiations - a longstanding, key Taipei demand. So beneath all the bluster, both sides seemed to be signaling grounds for potential compromise. The question is whether that will translate into a new dialogue as the post-Lee Teng-hui era begins in Taiwan.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


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Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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