::: TSR Weekly Report
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2017-09-25 | NO.21(38) epaper |
Note to Readers
TSR is pleased to announce newly published books about Taiwan and East Asia on its website and in its weekly newsletter. If you're a scholar or your book is coming out from an academic press, please send the title of your book and a link to the publisher's web site to TSR's Senior Editor, James Lee (JL18@princeton.edu).
Cross-Strait Relations
Office Repeats Commitment to Peace Across the Strait (2017-09-19)
(CNA) Despite China's use of the "one China" policy to suppress Taipei's presence in the global arena, the Presidential Office expressed its commitment to peace across the Taiwan Strait. A spokesperson from the Presidential Office accused China of employing "checkbook diplomacy" in pursuing diplomatic relations with Taiwan's allies, which would end relations with Taiwan as part of "one China." The spokesperson also said that Taiwan would continue to work to maintain peaceful cross-strait relations, which should be a shared responsibility between Taipei and Beijing.

Chinese Tourist Numbers Up for First Time under Tsai (2017-09-22)
(Taipei Times, By Shelley Shan) Chinese tourists to Taiwan has risen by 0.59 percent last month, which is the first increase since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May of last year. This is after the decline of Chinese tourism to Taiwan from 4.18 million in 2015 to 2.66 million in 2016.

Why Should We Pay Attention to China’s Televised Confessions? (2017-09-23)
(The Diplomat, By Dinah Gardner) Lee Ming-che's televised trial is the latest in a long line of media productions created by the CCP. However, his trial garnered relatively little global attention, compared to those that are routinely conducted by states such as Iran or North Korea. These not only show the CCP suppressing the work of human rights activists -- they also allow for public support of this suppression by encouraging viewers to view Western sentiments as anti-Chinese.

Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Taipei Forum Report on U.S. Politics and Asia-Pacific Policy under President Trump (2017-07-28)
(Taipei Forum) To better understand U.S. politics and Asia-Pacific policy under President Trump, a Taipei Forum Foundation delegation visited New York and Washington D.C. in early June 2017. The following reportcontains information and perspectives from the conversations between the group and U.S. officials and experts and is divided into six parts: current U.S. domestic politics, foreign policy making in the Trump administration, U.S.-China relations, U.S.-Taiwan relations, Taiwan’s major challenges, and the North Korea nuclear issue. A Chinese version of the report is available here.

Taiwan Sanctions N. Korea for Nuke Test (2017-09-20)
(Yonhap) The Taiwanese government has banned exports of oil products to and imports of textiles from North Korea in compliance with the latest UN Security Council resolution against the North‘s sixth nuclear test, although it is not a UN member nation, a US broadcaster reported Wednesday.

Could Improved Ties between Singapore and Beijing Bring an End to City State’s Military Links with Taiwan? (2017-09-21)
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) The visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to China could result in a decades-long military training programme between the city state and Taiwan – long a thorn in Beijing’s side – being put on hold, according to military observers and people familiar with the matter.

KMT Think Tank Questions Diplomacy "Black Budget" (2017-09-21)
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin) The KMT National Policy Foundation Think Tank questioned the new budget proposals, which would lower the national defense budget to a record low while almost quadrupling the diplomacy budget. Questions arose surrounding Taiwan's plans for the use of the diplomacy budget, with speculation that it would be used to promote secretive "dollar diplomacy."

Military Hopeful Over Cooperation with US: Sources (2017-09-22)
(Taipei Times, By Aaron Tu and Jonathan Chin) Taiwan's military is hopeful that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will pass in the U.S. Congress for Fiscal Year 2018. This act would potentially allow for U.S. port calls in Taiwan as well as Taiwanese port calls to U.S. ports. Taiwan has also looked into purchasing new weaponry for its air force, but the U.S. has shown reservations at Taiwan's ability to sustain such an advancement.

Taiwan Eager to Work on Cyber Issues with US: Tsai (2017-09-23)
(CNA) US Senator Steve Daines led a delegation to Taiwan this weekend, and at the reception, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her eagerness to work with the United States on cybersecurity issues. She discussed shared goals between the two countries in the region, specifically referencing peace and security in the Asia Pacific. Tsai also mentioned the prior collaboration the two countries have worked on, especially in the fields of defense and security.

Taiwan, India to Work on Healthcare, Delegation Says (2017-09-23)
(CNA NEW DELHI) Taiwan and India have discussed further cooperation in healthcare fields, specifically national health insurance policies and health information technology. The two nations also wish to work together to prevent epidemics. India remains a key player in President Tsai Ing-wen's New Southbound Policy.

Nation Must Be Friendlier to SE Asians: Lawmaker (2017-09-24)
(CNA) Lin Li-chan, a legislator in the Chinese Nationalist Party stated that if the government wants the New Southbound Policy to be successful, the nation needs to work to create a friendlier environment for citizens of Southeast Asian nations. This includes spending more time and money to promote the policy, hiring more Southeast Asian tour guides in Taiwan, boost tourism to Southeast Asian nations, and to include more operators in Taiwan's railway system that speak Southeast Asian languages.

'Treasure' Online Archive of US Documents Opens (2017-09-24)
(Taipei Times, By Peng Wan-hsin and Jonathan Chin) The materials obtained from the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) construct a history of Taiwan from a US perspective, project coleader Lin Yu-cheng said on Tuesday. They enable Taiwanese readers to view themselves from a different vantage point and challenge historical narratives created by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during its rule, Lin said.

Five More Allies Offer Support at UN (2017-09-24)
(CNA) Leaders from Kiribati, Saint Lucia, the Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Belize have advocated for Taiwan to be included as a member of the United Nations. This brings Taiwan's total support for inclusion in the UN to twelve out of its sixteen diplomatic allies.

Speakers Talk Presidential Elections (2017-09-24)
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin) Scandals have often changed the landscape of elections, such as the scandal behind former president Chen Shui-bian which later affected the scandals campaigns of Frank Hsieh and Su Tseng-chang in 2008. Besides scandals, China and the U.S. have also attempted to play roles, with the U.S.'s influence being stronger. One example is the United States's criticisms of Tsai during her first presidential election that ended up putting a lot of pressure on the Democratic Progressive Party.

Developers Helping Vietnam, Indonesia with Highway Plans (2017-09-25)
(Taipei Times, By Lee Hsin-fang and Jonathan Chin) As part of Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, Taiwanese developers have been involved in the planning of new highway systems in both Vietnam and Indonesia. Involved firms also will be pursuing contracts to actually build the highways. Winning infrastructure contacts remains to be one of President Tsai Ing-wen's three big points regarding the New Southbound Policy.

Taiwan Bids to Stimulate Spending, Investment to Boost Economy (2017-09-26)
(Reuters) Taiwan aims to stimulate consumer spending and spur private investment as part of measures to boost its trade reliant economy, Premier William Lai Ching-te said on Tuesday. Lai, speaking in Taiwan’s parliament, or Legislative Yuan, for the first time since he took office this month, also said the government aimed to expand international cooperation and is looking to sign trade agreements overseas.
PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
Transformation of Taiwan's Reserve Force (2017-09-20)
(RAND Corporation, By Ian Easton, Mark Stokes, Cortez A. Cooper, and Arthur Chan) As the political-military challenge from the People's Republic of China grows in the years ahead, Taiwan's reserve force may need to play a more prominent role in Taipei's strategic relationship with Beijing. The authors of this report assess Taiwan's current reserve force and discuss steps that Taiwan can take to enhance the role of the reserves in deterring and, if necessary, defending against a cross-Strait invasion.

Assessing the Sino-Russian Baltic Sea Drill  (2017-09-20)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Richard Weitz) Now the Chinese Navy is developing an enduring international presence, as seen by its recent sending of an “intelligence” ship near Alaska to monitor a concurrent THAAD test (CNBC, July 14). Perhaps the Chinese objections to U.S. FONOPS near China may decline as the PLAN develops the capacity and practice to engage in such blue-water patrols itself.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Japan Claims Chinese Ships Again Sail Close to Disputed Islands in East China Sea (2017-09-25)
(Agence France-Presse) Chinese coastguard vessels sailed near disputed islands claimed by Japan and China in the East China Sea on Monday, marking the second such incident in less than a week. The four ships entered the waters surrounding the island chain, controlled by Japan and known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in China, at about 10am and were moving in a southwest direction, according to the Japanese coastguard.

The Korean Peninsula

Prospect of Atmospheric Nuclear Test by North Korea Raises Specter of Danger (2017-09-22)
(New York Times, By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad) Stopping Kim Jong-un from conducting a nuclear test over the Pacific may be as dangerous as letting him go ahead.

Ending North Korean Brinkmanship (2017-09-23)
(East Asia Forum, By Vinod Saighal) A possible way out would be for the United States, China and Russia to issue a joint ultimatum to the North Korean leader to come to the negotiating table and force him to put a cap on his country’s missile and nuclear production. This would be followed by complete dismantlement over a given period, with verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency and designated neutral country experts.

North Korea Says It Has the Right to Shoot Down U.S. Warplanes (2017-09-25)
(New York Times, By Rick Gladstone and David E. Sanger) The country’s foreign minister also said the North considered President Trump’s threatening comments about the country and its leadership “a declaration of war."

China Imports 1.6 Million Tonnes of Coal from North Korea in August Despite Ban (2017-09-26)
(Reuters) China imported 1.6 million tonnes of coal from North Korea in August, the largest monthly volume since February when Beijing issued a blanket ban on the trade, Chinese customs data showed on Tuesday. The figures also showed that China’s petrol and diesel exports to North Korea and iron ore imports from the isolated nation fell in August following the United Nations’ latest sanctions.

U.S. Adds More Sanctions on North Korea
 (2017-09-26)
(New York Times, By Rick Gladstone) The Treasury Department blacklisted eight North Korean banks and 26 individuals in a further drive to choke North Korea’s access to global finance.

Other Regional Issues

US Asia Policy: Post-Rebalance Strategic Direction
 (2017-09-19)
(The Diplomat, By Mercy A. Kuo) Daniel Russel, a Senior Foreign Service member at the US Department of State, offers his insights into the US rebalance towards Asia as well as how US policy has changed since rebalancing in regards to security and alliances in the region.
U.S.-China Relations
What Was Steve Bannon Doing Meeting With Wang Qishan? (2017-09-25)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) Ex-White House Senior Advisor Steve Bannon reportedly made a visit to Beijing last week to secretly meet with the CCP head of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Wang Qishan. Wang and Bannon may have met in an effort for the CCP to better understand the inner dynamics of the Trump administration. The meeting also suggests China's inability to figure out the Trump administration's positions on several key issues.

In Ivanka’s China, Business Ties Shrouded in Secrecy (2017-09-26)
(Associated Press) It is no secret that the bulk of Ivanka Trump’s merchandise comes from China. But just which Chinese companies manufacture and export her handbags, shoes and clothes is more secret than ever, an Associated Press investigation has found. In the months since she took her White House role, public information about the companies importing Ivanka Trump goods to the US has become harder to find. Information that once routinely appeared in private trade tracking data has vanished, leaving the identities of companies involved in 90 per cent of shipments unknown.

Kissinger Urges Greater Cooperation with China as ‘the World’s Centre of Gravity’ Shifts (2017-09-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Robert Delaney) US elder statesman Henry Kissinger urged greater cooperation with Beijing on its Eurasian infrastructure investment plan, arguing that Washington needs to acknowledge that “the world’s centre of gravity” is shifting. Speaking at a conference that featured China’s vice-premier Liu Yandong as a keynote speaker, Kissinger said the only alternative to positive relations between Washington and Beijing is global destruction. Liu, in turn, said China’s economy will open more after the government’s key political meeting in Beijing next month.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

What is Xi Jinping Thought?
 (2017-09-21)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Willy Wo-Lap Lam) Instead of speeding up thorough-going reforms, Xi Jinping Thought could mainly serve as a rationale for the party to uphold its Leninist roots, and for its supreme leader to tighten his grip on power. Thus while the enshrinement of Xi Thought in the CCP Charter testifies to his ever-expanding power, it could also significantly bolster the essentially conservative nature of the strongman’s statecraft.

China’s Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Trading – A Sign of Things to Come (2017-09-21)
(The Diplomat, By Andrew Godwin) Since the Chinese government ordered several cryptocurrency exchange services to close down, the evidence that the government views them as threats remains plentiful. The People's Bank of China announced last January that they would issue a digital version of the yuan as well. Doing so will both establish China as a staple rule maker as well as further establish the yuan as an important global reserve currency.

China Blocks WhatsApp, Broadening Online Censorship (2017-09-25)
(New York Times, By Keith Bradsher) With a crucial Communist Party meeting just weeks away, Beijing is further tightening its already formidable internet controls.

China's Foreign Relations

Emboldened China Wields Its Laws to Silence Critics From Abroad (2017-09-20)
(New York Times, By Steven Lee Myers and Chris Horton) The case of a rights activist from Taiwan awaiting sentencing in China for subversion is emblematic of a wider, global campaign, critics say.

China’s Belt and Road: Where Does the Arctic Angle Stand?
 (2017-09-22)
(The Diplomat, By Heidar Gudjonsson and Egill Thor Nielsson) The Arctic Ocean has emerged as a new global trade route and is crucial to the success of China's Belt and Road Initiative. China has already begun major trade paths through the Arctic and continues to grow them at a rapid rate. China continues to invest in northern Arctic ports as well. If other interested parties, such as the United States, played more of a role in the Arctic's development, the region could grow even more quickly.

Xi Jinping Says China Will Support Interpol, Raise its Profile (2017-09-26)
(Reuters) China will support Interpol, raising the profile and leadership of the global police cooperation agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday at the opening of the organisation’s general assembly in Beijing, state media reported. Interpol elected a senior Chinese public security official, Vice-Public Security Minister Meng Hongwei, as its president last year, prompting rights groups to ask whether Beijing could try and use the position to go after dissidents abroad.

China Postpones Controls on Food Imports After Global Outcry (2017-09-26)
(Associated Press) China has delayed enforcing sweeping new controls on food imports following complaints by the United States, Europe and other trading partners that they would disrupt billions of dollars in trade. Rules requiring each food shipment to have an inspection certificate from a foreign government were due to take effect on Sunday. But Beijing has decided to grant a “transitional period of two years” following comments by other governments, according to a document submitted to the World Trade Organisation on Monday.

How Can China Help Address Transnational Crime in Asia? (2017-09-26)
(East Asia Forum, By Jeremy Douglas) Through proactive coordinated engagement — in conjunction with the UN and international system partners like Interpol — and the alignment of public security and economic integration agendas, China will be able to support its own prosperity and security while facilitating sustainable economic development in the region. Not doing so may well exacerbate an already difficult crime environment.
New Articles and Books on Taiwan and East Asia
Imagining Taiwan: The Nixon Administration, the Developmental States, and South Vietnam’s Search for Economic Viability, 1969–1975 by Simon Toner (Diplomatic History)
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New Publication Taiwan and China: Fitful Embrace by Lowell Dittmer (ed.) (University of California Press) 
New Publication Learning from Fukushima: Nuclear Power in East Asia by Peter Van Ness and Mel Gurtov (eds.) (Australian National University Press)
New Publication Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China Over Taiwan by John Copper (Praeger Security International Series)
Upcoming Conference China Defense & Security Conference 2017 (Jamestown Foundation)
New Publication Imagining Taiwan: The Nixon Administration, the Developmental States, and South Vietnam’s Search for Economic Viability, 1969–1975 by Simon Toner (Diplomatic History)
New Publication Religion and the Regime: Cooperation and Conflict in Contemporary Russia and China by Karrie J. Koesel (World Politics)
New Publication Primordialism, Instrumentalism, Constructivism: Factors Influencing Taiwanese People’s Regime Acceptance of Mainland China’s Government by Chia-Chou Wang (Journal of Contemporary China)
TSR received a favorable review by the Foreign Affairs (July/Aug 2000)
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TSR was honored with a Four-Star rating by the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library. 
 

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