::: TSR Weekly Report
2018-01-15 | NO.41(54) 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
 MAC Protests TV Series Being Pulled in PRC (2018-01-09)
(Taipei Times/CNA) Following the removal of a Taiwanese-produced TV show from Guangdong Province's TV programming, the Mainland Affairs Council has asked that Beijing not allow political factors to get in the way of cultural exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. China reportedly removed the show due to pro-independence messages that would have spread had the show been aired.

ICAO Has Yet to Respond on New Chinese Flight Routes: Source (2018-01-09)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The ICAO has not yet responded to Taiwanese concerns over China's establishment of four new flight routes through the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is not an official member of the ICAO, so a source has reported that Taiwan has asked several nations with whom Taiwan has good relations to express these concerns officially on their behalf. The source claims that China would have had to discuss and reach an agreement with Taiwan to establish these routes according to ICAO regulations.

China Attack on Taiwan Unlikely During a Korean-US War: Scholars (2018-01-09)
(CNA, By Leaf Jiang and Kuan-lin Liu) Two researchers from the Brookings Institute disagreed with a Canadian scholar's idea that China would use a war between North Korea and the United States as an opportunity to attack Taiwan. They cited China's large security interests regarding North Korea as well as the risks China would run by pursuing such an action as their primary arguments against such a view. However, they maintain that although China will not take military action on Taiwan, China may still use other forms of pressure to coerce Taiwan into falling in line with Beijing's wishes.

China’s New Air Routes Near Taiwan: Why Now? To What End? (2018-01-11)
(Taiwan Sentinel, By J. Michael Cole) Beijing’s move arguably constitutes its latest attempt to embarrass the Tsai administration by demonstrating its willingness and ability to act unilaterally. In other words, this is meant to undercut Taiwan’s sovereignty and to signal that previous agreements between the two sides were never negotiated between equals.

China Launched New M503 Flights to Test Taiwan and US: Scholars (2018-01-11)
(CNA, By Miao Zong-han and William Yen) At a seminar at the Institute for National Policy Research (INPR), several scholars asserted that the establishment of new flights through the Taiwan Strait, especially M503, was designed to test Taiwan's and the US's responses to such an incident. The scholars noted that although it is currently a civilian route, the route could easily be opened to military aircraft in the future. The move challenges the status quo for all concerned countries, not just Taiwan.

Fraud Ring with 8 Taiwanese Members Busted in China: Report (2018-01-13)
(CNA, By Shine Chen and Ko Lin) A telecommunications fraud ring led by Taiwanese was brought down by Chinese authorities, leading to fourteen total arrests from July to October of last year. The arrests include eight Taiwanese citizens. The authorities also froze 33 million yuan spread over 320 bank accounts for laundering purposes.

The Taiwan Strait After a Second Korean War (2018-01-10)
(The Diplomat, By Eric Chan and Peter Loftus) As the United States focuses more on the increasing tensions in the Korean Peninsula, other crises in the Indo-Pacific region that would have caused greater concerns have receded in urgency. However, a collapse of the North Korean regime, while in the short term may reduce tensions as the major powers of the region combat a refugee crisis, will end up with fewer avenues for cooperation between China and the US, the biggest flashpoint potentially being Taiwan. This would lead to a lesser reason for either side to hold back on inciting a conflict.

China’s Hybrid Warfare and Taiwan (2018-01-13)
(The Diplomat, By Ying Yu Lin) "Hybrid warfare" entails the use of both military and non-military forces to achieve strategic high grounds, especially using information and public opinion. A situation involving hybrid warfare may be possible in Taiwan, similar to Russia's campaign in Crimea in 2014. China is extremely skilled at using the internet to spread propaganda throughout its domestic sphere and has a chance at doing the same in Taiwan. Taiwan, in response, should strengthen its ability to prevent misinformation from being spread throughout all public channels.

Name "Taiwan" Should Be Used at 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Groups (2018-01-15)
(CNA, By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Flor Wang) Several groups have called for a public referendum on whether Taiwan should be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 under the name "Taiwan." Currently, Taiwan's delegations must go to the Olympics and other major international events under the title "Chinese Taipei," which the groups feel is depressing and humiliating. The referendum could potentially be held as early as February, depending on the results of public petitioning efforts.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Taiwan's Domestic Politics

Group Lists Last Year's Top 10 Democracy Incidents
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) Taiwan Democracy Watch made a list of the top events related to democracy in Taiwan throughout 2017. The list includes incidents such as the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, the arrest and sentencing of Lee Ming-che, and others. The organization further said that the Chinese military threat and Lee's arrest pose the greatest threats against Taiwanese democracy.

Taiwan's Foreign Relations

President Expresses Hope Canada will Support Taiwan Joining CPTPP (2018-01-09)
(CNA, By Yeh Su-ping and William Yen) President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her desire for Canadian support in Taiwan's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). She also expressed her hopes for a bilateral discussion about an Investment Guarantee Agreement between the two countries. She noted Canada and Taiwan's mutual commitment to both economic development and environmental sustainability as key similarities that the two countries share.

Is Washington Preparing to Play the Taiwan Card with Beijing Again? (2018-01-10)
(South China Morning Post, By Liu Zhen) US President Donald Trump may be preparing to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip in Sino-US ties with the passage of two pro-Taipei pieces of legislation through the US House of Representatives, Chinese analysts said. The bills still need US Senate and presidential endorsement to become law but the development is sure to roil Beijing – just as Trump’s unprecedented phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and his assessment that the “one China” policy was negotiable ruffled feathers in the Chinese capital just over a year ago.

Taiwan to Promote Local Defense Industry and Procure US Weapons: MND (2018-01-11)
(CNA, By Lu Hsin-hui and Ko Lin) The Minstry of National Defense announced that Taiwan is committed to both improving its domestic defense industry while also maintaining good relations with the US and purchasing weapons from them. The DPP has plans for long-term spending increases to further defense developments in Taiwan to provide a stronger deterrent against Chinese threats.

US House Passes Taiwan Travel Act (2018-01-11)
(Taipei Times/CNA) The US House of Representatives passed a bill that encourages official visits between Taiwan and the US at all levels of government. While the bill still must be passed by the Senate and signed by the President before becoming law, it is considered a follow-up to the Taiwan Relations Act. The bill cites certain self-imposed restrictions the US has placed upon high-level officials from visiting Taiwan as a source of the insufficient communication between the US and Taiwan. The bill would allow high-level officials to meet and better communicate with one another.

Thai Workers Still Drawn to Taiwan (2018-01-13)
(Taipei Times/CNA) For Thai workers, Taiwan and South Korea remain the most popular destinations to apply for work. While a report stated that Thai citizens planned to leave Taiwan due to low wages, several others claim that the opportunities offered in Taiwan are much better than those in Thailand.

Expanded Taiwan-Austria Working Holiday Program Goes Into Effect (2018-01-13)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Frances Huang) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Austria and Taiwan will be expanding a working holiday program to extend visa lengths and approval quotas. Taiwan has similar working holiday programs with several other countries.

Delegation Builds Southbound Bonds (2018-01-15)
(Taipei Times/CNA) A delegation to the Philippines visited in order to boost legislative exchanges and discuss and explain the New Southbound Policy to the Filipino government. The Philippines is a major trade partner for Taiwan and was a key focus during the design of the New Southbound Policy. Furthermore, the two countries share many values and have always held a good relationship.

Taiwan, Belarus Exchanges Sign Cooperation MOU (2018-01-15)
(CNA, By Wei Shu and Frances Huang) The Taiwan Futures Exchange and the Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote market sharing between the two exchanges, setting the stage for future avenues of cooperation between the two countries. Each exchange expects to use the cooperative agreement to gain better insight into the other country's geographic region and characteristics thereof. Taifex has signed several other similar agreements around the world.

Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Philippines to Lodge Protest over Apparent Chinese Airbase in South China Sea (2018-01-09)
(Reuters) The Philippines will make a diplomatic protest to China over what Manila says is Beijing reneging on a promise not to militarise artificial islands in the busy South China Sea waterway. The comment from Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday followed a December 30 broadcast of aerial footage by the official China Central Television showing Fiery Cross Reef, which appeared to have been transformed into an airbase.

US Accuses Beijing of ‘Provocative Militarisation’ of South China Sea (2018-01-09)
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) The United States has accused China of “provocative militarisation” of disputed areas in the South China Sea and will continue sending vessels to the region to carry out freedom-of-navigation patrols, according to a top US adviser on Asia policy. Brian Hook, a senior adviser to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said on Tuesday that the issue of the South China Sea was raised at all diplomatic and security dialogues between China and the US.

China, Japan Trade Accusations after Chinese Warship Seen Near Disputed Diaoyu Islands (2018-01-11)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) China and Japan traded accusations on Thursday after a Chinese navy vessel was detected in waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea, adding fresh uncertainty as the two sides try to improve bilateral ties. The development came amid news that Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono may visit China at the end of this month for talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Chinese Nuclear Attack Submarine that Raised Flag in International Waters May Have Been Testing Japan’s Patrol Capabilities (2018-01-15)
(Kyodo) A Chinese naval submarine detected in waters near Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea last week was a nuclear-powered attack submarine, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said Monday. The 110-metre-long Shang-class submarine was detected on Thursday while submerged just outside Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands.

The Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s Leader Credits Trump for North Korea Talks
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-hun) President Moon Jae-in warned North Korea about sanctions if it resumed weapons tests, while crediting President Trump with forcing it to the table.

Hawaii Panics After Alert About Incoming Missile Is Sent in Error (2018-01-13)
(New York Times, By Adam Nagourney, David E. Sanger, and Johanna Barr) The alert appeared on cellphones warning people to “seek immediate shelter,” and said, “This is not a drill.” The authorities said it was a false alarm.

Days After Hawaii’s False Missile Alarm, a New One in Japan (2018-01-16)
(New York Times, By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura) NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, accidentally sent news alerts that North Korea had launched a missile, before quickly correcting the error.

Sanctions Did Not Stop North Korea’s Sallow Sustenance in 2017 (2018-01-16)
(East Asia Forum, By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein) In all discussions about the North Korean economy, it must be remembered that North Korea has a deeply dysfunctional system with structural flaws that inhibit its economic growth. This fact did not change in 2017 and is not likely to change drastically in 2018 either.

China Rejects Vancouver Talks on North Korea Crisis as Illegitimate (2018-01-16)
(South China Morning Post, By Sidney Leng) China has dismissed a 20-nation meeting in Vancouver on the North Korea nuclear crisis as “illegitimate” because representatives from Beijing were not invited. The two days of talks sponsored by Canada and the United States involve diplomats from South Korea’s allies during the 1950-1953 Korean war, including Australia, Britain, France and Japan.

Other Regional Issues

Huge Oil Spill Spreads in East China Sea, Stirring Environmental Fears
(New York Times, By Gerry Mullany) The disaster could be the worst oil spill in decades, and Greenpeace calls it a threat to “an important spawning ground” for fish and several whale species.
U.S.-China Relations
Collapse of Huawei Deal with AT&T ‘Will Threaten China-US Trade Ties’ (2018-01-09)
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu) The collapse of a deal in which Huawei Technologies was to distribute its smartphones through US carrier AT&T will threaten Sino-US trade ties – and Beijing should consider “countermeasures” if the situation escalates, experts and a former Chinese commerce official said. Shenzhen-based Huawei was due to announce its partnership with AT&T in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but the deal was cancelled at the last minute – a major setback for the Chinese company’s global expansion.

US Opposes China's Unilateral Launch of New Flight Routes (2018-01-09)
(CNA, By Rita Cheng, Yeh Su-ping and Kuan-lin Liu) Brian Hook, senior policy advisor to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said that the US opposes unilateral actions made to alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. He refers to the establishment of new flight routes by China as the prime example and said that the two sides should discuss together before establishing anything relating to civil aviation and safety.

China Accuses United States of Taking Protectionist Stance on Foreign Investment (2018-01-11)
(Reuters) China said on Thursday that protectionist sentiment is rising in the United States and criticised Washington for blocking a high-profile Chinese takeover of a US financial firm on security grounds. Ant Financial’s planned US$1.2 billion purchase of transfer firm MoneyGram International Inc collapsed last week after a US government panel rejected the deal over national security concerns.

Why China’s Record Trade Surplus with US Could Be a Headache for Beijing (2018-01-13)
(South China Morning Post, By Shi Jiangtao and Frank Tang) China’s huge trade surplus with the United States, a priority for President Donald Trump’s administration, hit a record high last year, adding to worries of a worsening rift between the world’s two largest economies.

Xi Jinping Calls on Donald Trump to Revive Economic Dialogue Programme (2018-01-16)
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu) Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on his US counterpart to resume talks to improve economic ties between the two nations, as tensions rise over the huge imbalance in Sino-US trade. In their first phone conversation this year, Xi told US President Donald Trump on Tuesday that both countries should take “constructive measures” to open their markets to each other and “broaden cooperation” to address their trade and economic issues.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

Chinese General Under Investigation, Joining a Line of Fallen Commanders (2018-01-09)
(New York Times, By Chris Buckley) Gen. Fang Fenghui has become the latest in a succession of People’s Liberation Army commanders to face corruption charges.

A Blue Sky in Beijing? It’s Not a Fluke, Says Greenpeace (2018-01-11)
(New York Times, By Steven Lee Myers) The advocacy group says air quality has drastically improved in several northeastern Chinese cities, but regions far from the capital have not seen the same results.

Marriott to China: We Do Not Support Separatists (2018-01-11)
(New York Times, By Sui-Lee Wee) The hotel chain apologizes after a poorly worded customer survey prompts a political backlash and an investigation by Chinese officials.

Marriott in More Trouble after ‘Liking’ Twitter Post by Tibetan Independence Group (2018-01-12)
(South China Morning Post, By Zhuang Pinghui) Despite issuing five public apologies since the initial outcry, a fresh controversy was sparked when Chinese internet users discovered that the company’s Twitter account for its loyalty programme had “liked” and shared a post by Friends of Tibet, which campaigns for independence for the region, soon after the first apology was issued.

Chinese Police Dynamite Christian Megachurch (2018-01-12)
(New York Times, By Russell Goldman) Paramilitary officers used explosives and heavy machinery to destroy the church, reflecting tensions between Christians and the Communist Party.

All Eyes on Xi in 2018 (2018-01-15)
(East Asia Forum, By Ryan Manuel) 2018 will see China take stock after the recently concluded 19th Party Congress, which outlined the new administration that will run the country for the next five years.

China's Foreign Relations

China’s Strategy to Psych Out the West Is Paying Off
(Wall Street Journal, By Andrew Browne) Just by hovering, the Chinese Communist Party induces self-censorship and subtle behavioral changes. This has long been the case within China. Increasingly, as China projects outward, prominent figures in the West—politicians, executives, academics—are making nervous adjustments, too. 

In China, Macron Offers a Horse, and a Vision to Counter Trump (2018-01-09)
(New York Times, By Javier C. Hernández) During a three-day visit, the French president worked to reinvigorate ties between the two countries and to promote an internationalist approach.

Call to Respect EU Unity as China Builds Ties with Eastern Europe (2018-01-10)
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu) The unity of the European Union should be fully respected as countries from central and eastern Europe edge closer to China, the EU ambassador to China said on Wednesday. Hans Dietmar Schweisgut also called for Beijing and Brussels to make decisive progress on bilateral investment treaty talks this year, and to forge economic ties that are based on rules and transparency.

China Funding White Elephant Infrastructure Projects in the Pacific, Says Australian Minister (2018-01-10)
(Agence France-Presse) Australia’s International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said Beijing’s influence in the region was clearly growing, but criticised its development assistance as resulting in “white elephants”. “You’ve got the Pacific full of these useless buildings which nobody maintains, which are basically white elephants,” she told The Australian newspaper. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang slammed the remarks during a regular press briefing, calling them “full of ignorance and prejudice”.

China Is Starting to See India as a Major Threat (2018-01-11)
(The Diplomat, By Hemant Adlakha) Several Chinese scholars have begun to consider India a bigger threat to China's rise than Japan, potentially being second only to the US in preventing China's peaceful rise. The Doklam military standoff proved India's ability to stand up to China, but a bigger problem lies in that China's people are not ready to accept India as a threat. This more stems from India not yet standing up to its full potential, not the lack of any significant threat.

China 2017: Year in Review (2018-01-10)
(The Diplomat, By Tuan N. Pham) China -- and Xi Jinping in particular -- ended 2017 on a high note, having advanced its position in the international arena and holding its own against the United States. It will continue to expand into this new role throughout 2018 as it pushes its foreign policy and influence around the world. Through several developments throughout 2017, China enters 2018 ready to continue its initiatives.

China in 2018: What to Expect (2018-01-11)
(The Diplomat, By Tuan N. Pham) Following a successful 2017, China is poised to embark on several strategic conquests throughout 2018. Beijing's grand strategy combines four distinct goals as part of Chinese policy throughout the year, including promoting socialism with Chinese characteristics, displacing the Western-centric international arena, strengthening the PLA, and exercising a much more assertive foreign policy.

Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling (2018-01-11)
(New York Times, By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura) Since Jan. 1, China has banned imports of 24 kinds of waste, including materials used in plastic bottles, in a campaign against “foreign garbage."

Is China Proselytising its Path to Success? (2018-01-11)
(East Asia Forum, By Bonnie Glaser) Rather than seeking to export China’s own experience, Xi Jinping is championing the achievements of China’s development model and attempting to legitimise China’s system of governance — first and foremost at home, but also abroad.

IMF Says China Should ‘Look at Its Own Barriers’ to Trade if It Truly Wants Globalisation (2018-01-15)
(South China Morning Post, By Sidney Leng) China should take a good look the restrictions it places on trade and investment if it wants to promote globalisation, a senior executive with the International Monetary Fund said in Hong Kong on Monday. The comments by David Lipton, the IMF’s first deputy managing director, come as Beijing tries to paint itself as the victim of the protectionist measures against its products and investment deals, most notably by the United States.

China-Led Bank Spreads its Wings to Africa, South America to Bankroll Infrastructure Projects (2018-01-16)
(South China Morning Post, By Xie Yu)The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will be spreading its tentacles to South America, Africa and further into the Middle East soon, as it marks the start of its third year in business, its president says. “We have quite a number of South American countries joining, and I think it will be very good for us to finance some middle-income projects in South America, bringing South America and Asia together, cutting the transaction and shipping costs between Asia and South America,” said the bank’s president, Jin Liqun, in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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