July 17, 2006: Taiwan now believes that China has 820 ballistic missiles aimed at it. Taiwan is spending more money on anti-missile systems.
July 16, 2006: The U.S. has agreed to sell Taiwan another 66 F-16 fighters, for about $47 million each. These are the latest versions, capable of going deep and attacking ground targets with smart bombs. Taiwan already has 145 older F-16s, and 240 other, also older, types of fighters. China is building a force of several hundred modern Russian fighters (Su-27s).
July 15, 2006: The continuing saga of Taiwan's search for eight diesel-electric submarines has reached a new phase. Basic problem has been that none of the countries that make these types of subs wanted to provide their design to Taiwan, because China has threatened trade sanctions. So now the plan is to spend about $360 million on creating a new design, in a separate (from the construction) project. There are already plenty of ship builders willing to defy China, and actually build the subs (at a cost of a billion dollars, or more, each). There are many U.S. firms that could design this new non-nuclear sub.
July 13, 2006: China has sentenced an Internet user to two years in jail, for posting material the government did not approve of. This is the latest of several prosecutions, intended to intimidate Chinese Internet users, and keep Chinese from posting anti-government comments and reporting.
July 12, 2006: China has relented and agreed to UN sanctions against Iran if Iran does not stop developing nuclear weapons.
The Chinese economy continues to grow at a double digit (11.3 percent) rate. The government is concerned about slowing it down lest there be severe problems in the banking and investment sectors. Decades of such growth have provided the government with large tax revenues, and a growing corruption problem. However, the government has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into infrastructure, producing new highways, railroads and dramatically rebuilt cities. More of the growth is now happening inland, as wages in the coastal areas rise so high that other developing countries are taking jobs away with lower wages.