|Putin nominated for Chinese anti-Nobel peace prize - US arms deal won't be enough to Taiwan|
| [17.09.2011, 06:28pm, Sat. GMT]|
Other candidates include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South African President Jacob Zuma. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan are also among those being considered for the award.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been nominated for a Chinese alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize, Confucius Peace Prize, the Chinese news portal said on Saturday. The Confucius Peace Prize emerged for the first time in 2010, when it was suddenly announced by a shadowy group two days before jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in norway amid furious protests from Beijing.
In July, Berlin-based nonprofit organization Werkstatt Deutschland announced plans to give Putin the Quadriga Award as a "role model for enlightenment, dedication and the public good". The plan came under massive attack in the media and the political community. Many German public figures protested the idea, saying Putin's human rights record made him an unacceptable candidate.
Putin served with the KGB in East Germany for five years until German reunification in 1990.
Later, the organization reversed its decision to award Putin the prestigious prize.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev blasted the German organization for reversing its earlier decision: "I believe that any public organization awarding prizes may choose who to award and who not, who to like and who not. But if the decision was made, it should be implemented. Otherwise, this is a display of cowardliness and inconsistency."
The Confucius Peace Prize's first winner was former Vice President of Taiwan and Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan, for his contribution to developing positive ties between Taiwan and mainland China. Lien Chan did not attend the award ceremony in Beijing and had not officially heard that he had won; an aide said that they had only received "secondhand information from journalists".
Taiwan's government congratulated Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo for winning the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and urged the Chinese government to engage in the promotion of human rights as its economic power grows.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said in a press release that Liu's award was "not only an individual honor but also has great historical significance for the development of human rights in China."
Premier Wu Den-yih told reporters that Taiwan and Liu Xiaobo both promote freedom and human rights.
The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called for the immediate release of Liu and voiced its support for China's democratization.
US arms deal to Taiwan
The administration of US President Barack Obama began the long process of briefing the US Congress on Friday about a new arms sales package for Taiwan that does not include desperately needed F-16C/Ds, taipei times media said.
No official announcement has been made, but the full arms package is likely to become public next week when the White House formally sends it to Capitol Hill.
“The decision not to sell the C/Ds is political and not -strategic, therefore it can be impacted if politics are brought to bear,” US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers told the Taipei Times.
There has already been a major bipartisan push from members of both the US House of Representatives and US Senate to sell the advanced F-16s to Taipei and according to insiders that push will be further intensified this fall.
Republican Senator John Cornyn said on Friday that if the reports that Obama had decided not to sell the F-16C/Ds to Taiwan were true, they amounted to “capitulation to Communist China by the Obama administration.”
“It is a sad day in American foreign policy and it represents a slap in the face to a strong ally and long-time friend. This sale would have been a win-win, bolstering the national security of two democratic nations and supporting jobs for an American workforce that desperately needs them,” he said.
Just a few day ago, Cornyn and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez introduced legislation that would force Obama to sell the fighters.
Questioned about reports that Obama had decided not to sell the F-16C/Ds to Taiwan, US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said: “We cannot brief on foreign military sales until Congress has been formally notified, so I’m not in a position to discuss that beyond saying that any actions that we take are in line with the Taiwan Relations Act, and are focused on meeting the defense needs of the Taiwanese. But at this point, we cannot speak to that until formal notification of Congress takes place.”
The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) said that Taiwanese-Americans were deeply disappointed at the reports that Obama had decided not to sell the F-16C/Ds.
Taiwan opposition denies shift in China policy
Taiwan's pro-independence main opposition party on Sunday rejected suggestions that it was poised to radically shift its long-standing policy on mainland China, four months before elections.
"I do not rule out any possibility... as long as Taiwan people support it," the presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party said when asked if unification with China was an option, according to a report.
The Taipei-based United Daily News said Tsai Ing-wen made the comments during a press conference in New York on Saturday.