It’s truly a day of new beginnings. Later today new President Ma is sworn in and will speak. What will the future bring? To get a sense of how far we’ve come, enjoy these slides from a US soldier stationed here in 1969-71.

Also today pro-independence groups will rally. Details from a friend:

There’s going to be a rally on May 20th, at 2:00pm in Daan park in support of safeguarding Taiwan’s sovereignty. The rally is mainly organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors along with several other pro-Taiwan independence groups. The rally will start at the Daan Park music stage at 2:00pm. For the first hour there will be some speakers, among them Su Beng. Then at 3:00pm people will walk to the Democracy Hall/CKS Memorial Hall. Of course, I will be “armed” with my camcorder to capture things.

The US-Taiwan business council announces that neocon Paul Wolfowitz will be the new Chair of the Council:

Paul Wolfowitz to Succeed William Brock as Chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council

The US-Taiwan Business Council is pleased to announce that Dr. Paul D. Wolfowitz has accepted the post of Chairman of the Board of the US-Taiwan Business Council.

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr. Wolfowitz to the Council. His extensive experience with policy, economic, and defense matters - spanning the breadth of the US-Taiwan relationship - makes him a perfect choice for the position. Dr. Wolfowitz has a history of public service and international scholarship, he has long been an articulate supporter of Taiwan’s vibrant democracy, and he is well versed in the complexities of the political, trade, and business relationship between the United States and Taiwan.

“I have seen first hand the important role that the US-Taiwan Business Council plays in bilateral relations, and I am honored to join its distinguished Board as Chairman” Wolfowitz said. “As we look towards an exciting future, with significant changes underfoot both in Taiwan and in the U.S., I am excited about this opportunity to work with the Council’s Board and staff on important initiatives, and hope to contribute to the Council’s ongoing success.”

Paul Wolfowitz is currently a Visiting Scholar in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. He most recently served as President of the World Bank and as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Prior to the Pentagon assignment, he was Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Wolfowitz has also served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and as Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State. He worked as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Programs at the Department of Defense and as Special Assistant to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Dr. Wolfowitz received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cornell University, and a doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago.

Previous US-Taiwan Business Council Chairmen include William E. Brock, William S. Cohen, Frank C. Carlucci, William P. Clark, Dan Tellep, Caspar Weinberger, and David Kennedy.

Wolfowitz is serving without pay, I heard. A friend pointed out that with the rise of China, it is difficult to find Washington players willing to serve in positions that might conflict with their China interests. Wolfowitz has plenty of East Asia experience, and is former President of the World Bank. He is also one of the major movers of our ongoing defeat in Iraq.

On the blogs, my friend Erik Lundh will fire up his new blog on Taiwan economic matters today. And I’m moving to a Wordpress blog on my own domain to take advantage of Wordpress’ greater functionality. Hopefully that move will be completed this week; still want to tinker with the look of it. My friend Fili was the engineer behind the move; many thanks to him. Comments are back on here at The View.

But in a world of constant change, one thing remains the same: the NY Times won’t get Taiwan right. The latest error, in an article on the Sichuan quake, annexes our fair island to China….

“The American embassy in Beijing and the American consulates in Hong Kong and across mainland China began flying the American flag at half-mast on Monday morning for three days of mourning as well, out of respect for China’s loss. The American Institute in Taiwan, which represents United States interests on the self-governing island, does not fly a flag because the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan and adheres to the legal principle that Taiwan and the mainland form one China.”

Actually, the quietly official US position is that Taiwan’s status is undetermined and has been since the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951. The last time that issue came up diplomatically was in 2007 when Chen Shui-bian sent a letter to the UN demanding entry as Taiwan in, and Sec-Gen Ban stated that Taiwan is part of China, at which point the US blew the whistle and said its position is that Taiwan’s status is undetermined (story on my blog). I heard also that the US flag does fly above AIT on holidays, but that is a minor point.