The Taipei Times reported that President elect Ma Ying-jeou had already flatpetered his first essay into the US-China-Taiwan diplomatic swamp:

The US administration on Monday sidestepped questions about whether president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would be permitted to visit Washington before his inauguration in May, while some sources said that Ma may already have sparked a diplomatic incident by expressing his wish to visit Washington before informing the US or the Ministry of Foreign affairs beforehand.

Yes, remember when Chen The Root of All Evil© Shui-bian was abused by Washington for going off without consulting anyone and upsetting apple carts all over the US-China relationship? My how soon we forget… but you can’t blame Ma. US-China relations are a minefield. It is entirely laudable to express such a wish and I sincerely hope he gets a chance to follow through.

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In case you were wondering what that unusual crunch was in the mystery meat at the local buffet yesterday, the US Defense Department confessed today that it had shipped nuclear fuses to Taiwan by accident….

The Defense Department mistakenly shipped secret nuclear missile fuses to Taiwan more than 18 months ago and did not learn that the items were missing until late last week, Pentagon officials acknowledged yesterday, deepening concerns about the security of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Officials with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) sent four nose-cone fuse assemblies to Taiwan in August 2006 instead of four replacement battery packs for use in Taiwan’s fleet of UH-1 Huey helicopters. The fuses help trigger nuclear warheads on Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles as they near their point of impact. It was unclear yesterday how the two very different items were mixed up at a warehouse at Hill Air Force Base in Utah and how they were shipped out of the country without notice.

Think China will believe a story like that? But it gets worse…using unidentified background sources, I have been able to obtain tomorrow’s headline in the Taipei Times:


Bureau of Reclamation Ships Hoover Dam to Taiwan
“Muggles!” blames expert. “They never notice when reality isn’t normal.”

AP (Phoenix) — Irma Levine, 58, of Austin, Texas, was leafing through her summer vacation photos of Hoover Dam again last week when she gradually realized something was amiss: there was no dam in the background. The next day, Levine alerted the Dept. of Homeland Security, which later that week confirmed by air reconnaissance that the dam was indeed missing. Yesterday at a Washington DC press conference, the Bureau of Reclamation, which is responsible for many of the nation’s dams, admitted it had shipped the dam to Taiwan in error in a deal for some locally-made karaoke machines. “We have no idea why it took us 9 months to catch the error,” said a Bureau spokesman. Taipei Times reporters learned today that the dam had languished behind a pile of plastic bottles at a Taipei recycling plant the whole time.