::: TSR Weekly Report
2017-12-25 | NO.41(51) 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
Beijing to Announce Verdict in Overseas Telecom Fraud Case (2017-12-21)
(Taipei Times/CNA) A Beijing court is expected today to pass its verdict on an international telecom fraud case involving 44 Taiwanese suspects who were deported from Kenya to China. It is to be the first verdict to be delivered on cases involving Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects deported from other countries to China.

‘Three Mini Links’ Travel Process to be Simplified: NIA (2017-12-21)
(Taipei Times/CNA) The process for Chinese traveling to Taiwan via the “three mini links” to the nation’s two outlying counties is to be streamlined starting next year, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said yesterday. Starting on Jan. 1, Chinese who hold a permit to travel to Taiwan from Fujian Province are to no longer be required to present a “G note” detailing the date and purpose of their travels upon arrival in Kinmen or Lienchiang counties, the agency said.

44 Taiwanese Fraudsters Jailed in China for Up To 15 Years (2017-12-21)
(CNA, By Ozzy Yin and Evelyn Kao) Forty-four Taiwanese fraudsters extradited from Kenya to China were sentenced Thursday to imprisonment of up to 15 years by a court in Beijing. The 44 were among a total of 85 people who stood trial at the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court from July 18-20 in a cross-border telecom fraud case. The were arrested in Kenya and deported to China in April 2016.

Taiwan Urges Beijing Court to Observe Rights of Convicted Nationals (2017-12-21)
(CNA, By Wang Yang-yu, Chen Chun-hwa, Miao Zong-han and Kuan-lin Liu) Taiwan's government is calling for Beijing to respect the rights of Taiwan nationals to appeal the court decision and receive visits from family members following a verdict handed down on Thursday in an international telecom fraud case involving 44 Taiwanese nationals.

President Tsai Says China's Drills Have Affected Regional Stability (2017-12-23)
(CNA, By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Kuan-lin Liu) President Tsai Ing-wen took to Facebook on Friday to point out that China's increasingly frequent military drills near Taiwan have affected regional stability, while motivating the military to stay vigilant in safeguarding the country against security threats. In her post, Tsai noted that the military drills the Chinese air force has been conducting have increased in frequency and have impacted the stability of the region.

Cross-Strait Affairs MAC Unveils New Policies to Encourage More Chinese Visitors (2017-12-23)
(CNA, By Miao Zong-han and Kuan-lin Liu) Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh announced Saturday two policies that the government is planning to roll out to encourage more Chinese nationals to visit Taiwan.

Minister’s Speech at UN Forum Attracts Chinese Ire (2017-12-24)
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin) A live-broadcast speech on Thursday by Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang at the UN’s annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, was met with protests by Chinese diplomat Ji Haojun, who accused Tang of advocating “Taiwanese independence” and “one China, one Taiwan."

China Will Inevitably Bring Taiwan Under its Control, Says Mainland Chinese Official (2017-12-26)
(Reuters) Beijing’s growing economic, political and diplomatic power means it is achieving an “overwhelming advantage” in bringing self-ruled Taiwan to heel and time is on mainland China’s side, a senior official said in a comments published on Monday. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring what it considers a wayward province and sacred Chinese territory under its rule. Writing in the influential state-run newspaper the Study Times, Liu Junchuan, who heads the liaison office of the mainland’s policymaking Taiwan Affairs Office, said it was inevitable Taiwan would come under the mainland’s control.

Taiwan Firms Rethink China Operations (2017-12-27)
(Taipei Times/CNA, By Jake Chung) Despite a decision by the Kunshan City Government in China to postpone an order for factories along the Wusong River to shut down, Taiwanese companies said they might still have to reconsider their operations in China.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Taiwan's Domestic Politics

Taiwan Suspects Pro-China Party of Passing Information to Beijing (2017-12-20)
(New York Times, By Chris Horton) Four members of the New Party, which advocates unification with China, were detained and released. The party accused the government of intimidation.

Is Taiwan on a Witch-Hunt against Beijing-friendly Parties? (2017-12-20)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) A Beijing-friendly party on Taiwan has accused the island’s government of mounting a political witch-hunt after several of its members were questioned by prosecutors over national security concerns. But the administration rejected the claim on Wednesday, saying the investigation was not politically motivated. New Party officials made the allegation after Taiwanese prosecutors searched the homes of four party members on Tuesday morning before questioning them as “witnesses” in a case involving alleged violations of the island’s national security laws.

New Party’s Wang Denies CCP Funding
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung yesterday maintained that he has never received any funds from organizations affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as his party vowed to initiate a referendum to ensure witnesses’ right to an attorney following his and three other party members’ arrests on Tuesday in connection with an espionage investigation.

Citation of Security Act in Arrests Is ‘Chilling’: KMT (2017-12-21)
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin and Tseng Wei-chen) The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) citation of the National Security Act as grounds for arresting four New Party Youth Corps members on Tuesday has had a chilling effect on society and goes against its previous views on the act, which it opposed when it was in opposition, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus said yesterday.

Assets Committee Seize KMT Think Tank Building (2017-12-21)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Yu-Fu) The Administrative Enforcement Agency has sequestrated the National Policy Foundation’s Taipei headquarters after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) refused to pay a NT$860 million (US$28.68 million) fine imposed by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee over its misappropriation of state-owned land during the martial law era. The KMT had occupied the plot, which belonged to the Ministry of National Defense, before 1980 when it obtained the license to use the building that houses the KMT think tank on Hanzhou S Road.

New Party’s Wang Sues over Raid (2017-12-23)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung yesterday took legal action against prosecutors and investigators over what he called their abuse of power in conducting an illegal raid of his residence, citing the lack of a judge’s signature on a search warrant.

New Party Suspected of Trying to Create Paramilitary (2017-12-23)
(Taipei Times, By Jason Pan) An investigation into New Party Youth Corps members was launched because Wang Ping-chung is suspected of attempting to create a paramilitary organization to destabilize Taiwan with financial backing from China, political and national security experts said yesterday. Media personality and political pundit Clara Chou made the allegation during a talk show on Thursday, saying she had information that one of Wang’s family members recently received NT$5 million (US$166,845) in a bank account and she believes that the money came from China.

Control Yuan Censures on Cabinet up 20% This Year (2017-12-27)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) As of Monday, the Control Yuan issued 99 censures to the Cabinet this year and issued a total of 159 censure orders requiring government agencies to make corrections. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior have each received 13 censure orders, followed by the Ministry of Education, which received 12.

Taiwan's Foreign Relations

Taiwan and Japan Sign Agreement on Emergency and Rescue Operations at Sea
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) The second Taiwan-Japan bilateral meeting on maritime cooperation yesterday concluded with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on emergency and rescue operations at sea, while little progress was made on bridging the gap on the issue of the Okinotori atoll.

Nearly 70 Percent of Japanese Feel Close to Taiwan (2017-12-23)
(Taipei Times, By Chang Mao-sen and Sherry Hsiao) Nearly 70 percent of Japanese feel close to Taiwan, according to a survey commissioned by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan which was released yesterday. The results showed that among the 69 percent who said they feel close to Taiwan, their reasons included Taiwanese are kind and friendly (76.8 percent); the two nations have a long history of exchanges (46.1 percent); and Taiwanese aid to Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan on March 11, 2011 (31.3 percent).

Nation Secretly Attended Global Oceans Forum (2017-12-24)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) Despite Beijing’s efforts to block Taiwan’s international presence, government representatives in October for the first time managed to attend an annual international oceanic meeting in Europe, an official said.

Spain Court Approves 93 More Deportations to China (2017-12-24)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) For the second time in two weeks, a Spanish court yesterday granted China’s request to extradite 93 Chinese and Taiwanese fraud suspects to China based on Beijing’s so-called “one China” principle, again raising the ire of Taiwanese officials. The government expressed its regret and discontent over the Spanish National Court’s decision to send the suspects to China, only days after making a similar decision on Dec. 15 to deport 121 fraud suspects — including some Taiwanese — to Beijing, the Mainland Affairs Council said in a news release yesterday.

Two US Lawmakers Call for Solution to UN Visitor Issue (2017-12-24)
(Taipei Times/CNA) Two US lawmakers on Friday asked US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to pressure China to stop blocking Taiwanese from visiting the UN headquarters in New York. Republican representatives Steve Chabot and Chris Smith reportedly sent a formal letter to Haley, asking her to put pressure on China to stop blocking people with Taiwanese passports from visiting the headquarters.

Taiwan Congratulates Honduran President on Re-Election (2017-12-26)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Evelyn Kao) Taiwan has sent a letter of congratulations to the Honduran government on the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

Amendment Raises Cap on Diplomats President Can Post (2017-12-27)
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin) The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed an amendment to the Act on Recruiting Diplomats Dispatched Overseas, raising the maximum number of senior diplomats the president can directly appoint from 10 to 15 percent of the total number of diplomats stationed overseas.
PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
Chinese Military Activity Near Taiwan No Longer to Be Reported (2017-12-21)
(CNA, By Lu Hsin-hui, Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will no longer issue reports on movements of Chinese military aircraft or naval vessels near Taiwan unless something unusual occurs, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said Thursday. The decision was made because the ministry will not dance to China's tune as it tries to use psychological warfare against Taiwan, Feng told the media.

China Stages Maiden Flight of World’s Biggest Amphibious Plane (2017-12-24)
(Reuters) China’s domestically developed AG600, the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, performed its maiden flight on Sunday from an airport on the shores of the South China Sea, the latest step in a military modernisation programme. China has stepped up research on advanced military equipment as it adopts a more muscular approach to territorial disputes in places such as the disputed South China Sea, rattling nerves in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States. State television showed live images of the AG600 lifting off from Zhuhai airport in the southern province of Guangdong, which sits on the South China Sea coast.

President Promotes 31 Generals (2017-12-25)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) President Tsai Ing-wen has approved the promotion of 31 senior military personnel, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced Monday. Tsai promoted eight officers to the rank of two-star general, lieutenant general and admiral, with a further 23 elevated to the rank of one-star general, major general and vice admiral, according to an MND statement.

Defense Report Focuses on Asymmetric Warfare (2017-12-27)
(Taipei Times, By Jonathan Chin) The Ministry of National Defense yesterday unveiled its biennial white paper on national defense, outlining doctrinal changes that emphasize asymmetric warfare and layered defense. The 2017 National Defense Report reiterates the military’s commitment to an all-volunteer force and the indigenous development of military aircraft and warships.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

What’s Really Behind Chinese Assertiveness in the South China Sea? (2017-12-22)
(The Diplomat, By Richard Q. Turcsanyi) Hence, I argue for the theory of China’s “reactive assertiveness,” at least when it comes to the events in the South China Sea. It should be emphasized that this says nothing about whether China was legitimate or not in its behavior, or whether other claimants and their actions were devised wisely or not. What is claimed is that in most assertive actions, China — from its perspective — did not begin to act assertively as soon as it acquired the power to do so, but only chose to use its capabilities when it felt the situation required (or allowed) such action.

China, India Discuss Ways to Find Peace on Disputed Border
(Associated Press) China and India on Friday discussed ways to prevent a repeat of their recent military stand-off on a Himalayan plateau where their borders meet and agreed that resolving their boundary disagreements served the interests of both countries. Relations between the two Asian giants have often been strained, partly due to an undemarcated border. They fought a month-long border war in 1962 and have been trying to settle the boundary since the 1980s.

Chinese Construction in the South China Sea: Should ASEAN Be Concerned? (2017-12-26)
(The Diplomat, By Lee YingHui) The South China Sea has very much disappeared from the radar of the two largest regional players over the past year. ASEAN countries cannot and should not rely solely on external players to balance China in the South China Sea. Although the current thaw in relations is much welcomed, it should not be taken for granted and ASEAN countries should remain united in order to prevent a repeat of Phnom Penh 2012.

The Korean Peninsula

North Korean Soldier Defects Through DMZ, and Gunfire Erupts
(New York Times, By Gerry Mullany) The escape, the second in just over a month by a North Korean soldier across a heavily guarded border, led to gunfire on both sides.

South Korea Fires 249 Warning Shots over Chinese Fishing Boats, Coastguard Says (2017-12-20)
(Reuters) South Korea’s coastguard said it fired 249 warning shots over a group of Chinese fishing boats “swarming around” one of its patrol ships in South Korean waters, prompting a call for restraint from Beijing. Coastguard vessels regularly chase Chinese boats suspected of fishing illegally in South Korean waters, at times sparking violent confrontations, complicating a relationship that is central to efforts to try to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Security Council Tightens Economic Vise on North Korea, Blocking Fuel, Ships and Workers (2017-12-22)
(New York Times, By Rick Gladstone and David E. Sanger) The new sanctions, adopted 15 to 0, could constrict North Korea’s supplies of fuel and foreign currency, but experts say sanctions alone are unlikely to halt its nuclear program.

North Korea Calls U.N. Sanctions an ‘Act of War’ (2017-12-24)
(New York Times, By Russel Goldman) Pyongyang vowed revenge on the United States, which sponsored the resolution, and the Security Council members that approved the measure.

China Stops All Exports of Oil Products to North Korea in November (2017-12-26)
(Reuters) China exported no oil products to North Korea in November, Chinese customs data showed, apparently going above and beyond sanctions imposed earlier this year by the United Nations in a bid to limit petroleum shipments to the isolated country.

Other Regional Issues

The US National Security Strategy and Great Power Relations (2017-12-20)
(The Diplomat, By Niharika Tagotra) By partnering with India, the United States expect to successfully hedge against Chinese designs in the IOR. Besides, India’s reputation as a global leader and a champion of democratic values adds more legitimacy to the U.S.-led global order, which is facing recurrent threats and potential debasing from China. India-U.S. partnership will therefore gain greater prominence in the face of similar sets of challenges arising from the transformations portending in the old world order.

Is the CPTPP a Risky Gamble?
(East Asia Forum, By Matthias Helble and Yizhe Daniel Xie) In the long run, China might agree to higher standards. Under this long-term perspective, one could even imagine expanding the CPTPP further and forming the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). This could be done by allowing countries to gradually adopt the new rules in several phases depending on each member’s stage of economic development.

Trump’s National Security Strategy: Long on Realism, Short on Geoeconomics (2017-12-23)
(The Diplomat, By Jeremy Maxie) Going forward, the White House would be well advised to set aside its singular obsession with zero-sum trade reciprocity and the presumptive silver bullet of bilateralism to fully commit to a coherent and comprehensive geoeconomic strategy with generously allocated resources if it wants to preserve the U.S. led rules-based order in Asia and counter China’s grand strategy to carve out a parallel Sino-centric order or sphere of influence.
U.S.-China Relations
Donald Trump Picks Susan Thornton as Top US Diplomat for East Asia (2017-12-20)
(Kyodo) US President Donald Trump has nominated career foreign service officer Susan Thornton as top US diplomat for East Asia, the White House said, as a step to build a full-fledged team to tackle North Korea’s escalating nuclear threat. Thornton is expected to handle relations with Japan, China, South Korea and other Asian countries as the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. The post has been vacant since the departure of Daniel Russel, who served under the administration of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

Donald Trump ‘Ignores Facts’: Chinese Military Hits Back at Claim It Is Trying to Challenge US Interests
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) The Chinese military has rejected US President Donald Trump’s accusation that it is a challenge to American’s national security, according to a statement released late on Wednesday night. The Chinese defence ministry said Trump’s speech on Monday “ignored facts, hyped up China’s defence modernisation progress, questioned the intention of Chinese military development, and went against peaceful developments of these times and of Sino-US relations”.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

Man Jailed for 5½ years, Fined US$76,000 for Selling VPN in Southern China (2017-12-21)
(South China Morning Post, By Sarah Zheng) A man in southern China was sentenced to 5½ years in prison for selling a virtual private network to bypass internet censorship, amid Beijing’s crackdown to enforce its infamous “Great Firewall”. Wu Xiangyang, from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was also fined 500,000 yuan (US$76,000) in Pingnan county for not holding the proper licence for his VPN business, according to a report on Wednesday in the Procuratorate Daily, the gazette for China’s highest prosecution and inspection agency.

United Front Work after the 19th Party Congress (2017-12-22)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Gerry Groot) Xi Jinping’s discussion of how the Party needs to consolidate and develop the Patriotic United Front should be taken at face value. As Xi has declared: “The united front is a way to ensure the success of the Party’s cause and we must maintain our commitment to it long term” (Xinhua, November 3). Observers should take Xi seriously and study the implications—just like thousands of Party cadres and government officials will—and not ignore them as hackneyed or cliché.

Why China’s War on Christmas is Gathering Pace (2017-12-23)
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) Although China makes most of the world’s artificial Christmas trees, in many places wider celebrations of the festival have been banned by the country’s Communist authorities. Last week members of the Communist Party’s Youth League at the University of South China in Hunan province were asked to sign a code of conduct which told them not to participate in Christmas-related celebrations, according to a statement circulating on Weibo on Wednesday.

Beijing and Hong Kong

Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Says She Will Not Blindly Follow Beijing’s Orders (2017-12-23)
(Reuters) Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she would not blindly obey the orders of Chinese Communist Party leaders in Beijing, while admitting that the territory’s government has no way to suppress skyrocketing prices in one of the most expensive property markets in the world.

China's Foreign Relations

Espionage Bills in Australia Stir Fears of Anti-Chinese Backlash
(New York Times, By Damien Cave) Australia wants to curb Chinese government influence in its democracy, but Chinese-Australians worry the new legislation will unfairly single them out.

‘Thank God Humanity Can Count on China’: Venezuelan Minister Heaps Praise on Beijing (2017-12-21)
(Agence France-Presse) Venezuela’s foreign minister blamed the US for his country’s spiralling debt crisis on Thursday, saying Washington’s “permanent attack” had left the economy crippled. Jorge Arreaza lashed out at Donald Trump, US and European sanctions, and American interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs at the Venezuelan embassy in Beijing during a three-day official visit.

Beijing Hits Back at European Union Criticism of China’s ‘Distorted State-Run’ Economy (2017-12-21)
(Reuters) China’s foreign ministry on Thursday criticised what it called the “thoughtless remarks” of the European Union, after the bloc introduced new rules to guard against excessively cheap imports and singled out China as a distorted state-run economy. In a 465-page report, the European Commission said Beijing exerted a decisive influence over the allocation of resources, such as land or capital, and influenced prices of factors of production “in a very significant manner”. The report is important because the EU has changed the way it handles anti-dumping cases.

Cyberspace, Soccer and the Real Business of Strong Ties between China and Germany (2017-12-22)
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu) Beijing and Berlin may have their disagreements on political issues but these “minor irritations” should not distract the two countries from their strong economic ties, according to a top German diplomat. Renewing calls for Beijing to improve access for foreign companies to the Chinese market, German ambassador to China Michael Clauss told the South China Morning Post that economic exchanges were a mainstay of bilateral relations. The comments come after Germany’s intelligence services released details last week of alleged covert Chinese social media accounts used to gather personal information on German officials and politicians, claims Beijing said were groundless.

China’s Overseas Military Base in Djibouti: Features, Motivations, and Policy Implications (2017-12-22)
(Jamestown Foundation, By John Fei) With a long-term presence in Africa, China’s intelligence gathering capabilities will most certainly grow. This presents a risk for U.S. military and intelligence operations in the region, and requires greater vigilance on the part of the U.S. intelligence and national security community.

China, Pakistan to Consider Adding Afghanistan to US$57 Bn Economic Corridor (2017-12-26)
(Reuters) China and Pakistan will look at extending their US$57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road plan linking China with Asia, Europe and beyond.

Why Greece is banking on China’s modern-day Silk Road to Help its Economic Recovery (2017-12-26)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) Greece hopes to transform its ancient port of Piraeus into the entry point for an extensive network of roads and railways that will allow China to penetrate into the heart of Europe, its ambassador to Beijing has said. China’s ambitious push to build a modern-day Silk Road through Asia and Europe has suffered a number of rebuffs in recent weeks after Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal cancelled put on hold a number of major infrastructure projects funded by Chinese investment. But Greece, a key point along the route of the ancient Silk Road, will once again serve as the hub connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, according to Leonidas C Rokanas.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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TSR received a favorable review by the Foreign Affairs (July/Aug 2000)
The Best of Asia-Pacific Web Award
TSR was honored with a Four-Star rating by the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library. 

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