Cohen weighs in on Taiwanese politics in Wall Street Journal

Professor Jerome Cohen, co-director of the NYU School of Law’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute, and institute research fellow Yu-Jie Chen (LL.M. ’08) published an op-ed piece in the July 27 Wall Street Journal concerning the decision of Ma Ying-jeou (LL.M. ’76), president of Taiwan, to return to the chairmanship of his political party, the Kuomintang (KMT), after saying last year that he would not do so.

Cohen and Chen argued that the move could increase the effectiveness of the government. Since his election, Ma has found it difficult to push his agenda through the legislature, affecting everything from government investigations to appointments for the Council of Grand Justices. As KMT chairman, Ma can impose party discipline in support of his goals, influence the selection of legislative leaders and party officials, and attract administrative talent.

Ma’s return to the KMT chairmanship could also lead to improved relations between Taiwan and mainland China, the co-authors said. Since the president of China, Hu Jintao, is also chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, a meeting between two party leaders is a potential alternative to less feasible government-to-government talks. Cohen and Chen also urged the KMT to include the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), its opposition, in forum talks, and also encouraged the DPP to participate, despite its reluctance to engage with mainland China.

Posted on July 28, 2009