::: TSR Weekly Report
2018-03-06 | NO.41(61) epaper |
Note to Readers
New Publication Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World by Zak Dychtwald (St. Martin's Press)
Cross-Strait Relations
PacNet #16 - Will the Trump Administration Advance Support for Taiwan Despite China’s Objections? (2018-02-27)
(CSIS, By Robert Sutter) A main argument against advancing US support for Taiwan remains the risk of retaliation from China. A counter is that continued US deference to Chinese sensitivities in the face of expanded Chinese bullying, coercion, and intimidation challenging US interests in Taiwan and elsewhere undermines any avowed effort to right the balance in the US-China relationship. Major variables influencing the likelihood and effectiveness of increasing US support for Taiwan include the president’s unpredictability and the immediate administration concern with the North Korean nuclear weapons program and China’s important role in that problem.

Taipei Faces a Tougher Beijing if Xi Jinping Stays in Power, Analysts Warn (2018-02-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Lawrence Chung) Taiwan will likely come under more pressure from Beijing over its cross-strait unification agenda once changes to the constitution are made to allow President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely, analysts warned on Tuesday. While Xi might not push forward the agenda in the short term as he tackles domestic and international issues, analysts said Taiwan should prepare for Beijing to get tougher on unification.

Bypassing Tsai Ing-wen, China Offers Perks to Taiwan's People (2018-02-28)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) announced 31 new incentives for Taiwanese citizens to come to Mainland China for economic and cultural exchanges. Several of these areas of cooperation are unprecedented, and even some Macau and Hong Kong citizens do not enjoy these benefits in the Mainland.

In Taiwan, Young Protesters and Ex-Presidents Chafe Against China (2018-02-28)
(New York Times, By Chris Horton) In very different ways on Wednesday, Taiwan citizens used a public holiday to call for the island’s 23 million people to have a greater say in their political identity.

Independence Referendum Launched, Backed by Former Presidents
(CNA, By Shih Hsiu-chuan) Former presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian voiced support on Wednesday for an initiative to hold a referendum in April 2019 on Taiwan independence. Lee said a referendum is the most powerful weapon, which could lead Taiwan to becoming a "normal country" with presence in international organizations.  
US Senate Passes Taiwan Travel Bill Slammed by China (2018-03-01)
(Reuters) The Senate passed the Taiwan Travel Act by unanimous consent. It passed the House of Representatives in January, also without opposition. The legislation only needs President Donald Trump’s signature to become law.

Beijing's Promise to Give Benefits to Taiwanese Being Watched: MAC (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Chai Sze-chia and Evelyn Kao) In an attempt to attract Taiwanese investment in mainland China, Beijing has announced several incentives for Taiwanese nationals to come to the Mainland. The Mainland Affairs Council announced that they would keep a close eye on any unveiling of a fully detailed list of said incentives. They also said that they would look into previously signed agreements and make sure no contradictions exist.

US Taiwan Bill Runs Risk of War, Chinese State Media Warn (2018-03-02)
(Reuters) Mainland Chinese state media warned on Friday that the country could go to war over Taiwan if the United States passes into law a bill promoting closer US ties with the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own. The legislation, which only needs US President Donald Trump’s signature to become law, says it should be US policy to allow officials at all levels to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts, permit high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the United States “under respectful conditions” and meet US officials.

China's Suppression of Taiwan Bad for Cross-Strait Relations: MOFA (2018-03-02)
(CNA) The Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu said that if China chooses to continue to use suppressive measures in dealing with Taiwan it will not improve relations across the Taiwan Strait. Wu was previously the chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and made this comment after China voiced dissatisfaction with the Taiwan Travel Act that passed in the U.S. Senate.

Why New Team in Beijing is Set to Ramp Up Pressure on Taiwan (2018-03-03)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) A new team in Beijing is expected to use its wealth of diplomatic experience to further constrict Taiwan’s international manoeuvring space, with the aim of coercing the island’s independence-leaning government into acknowledging a key cross-strait agreement known as the 1992 consensus.

Taiwan Reaffirms Commitment to Cross-Strait Stability (2018-03-05)
(CNA, By Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao) A Presidential Office spokesperson said that maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait was the responsibility of both sides of the Strait. He was responding to the Director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, who said that the development of relations between the two sides had become difficult.

Taipei Faces Brain Drain as Beijing Dangles ‘Equal Status’ Offers (2018-03-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Lawrence Chung) Taiwan will face a tough challenge staunching what could be an even bigger brain drain and exodus of investment to the mainland after Beijing’s latest offer of economic sweeteners to lure Taiwanese, analysts warned. “More young people who have complained about low pay in Taiwan or who want to find a bigger market for development would choose to work on the mainland because of the incentives,” said Chang Wu-ueh, a professor at Tamkang University’s China Study Institute.

Academics Warn About China's Gift (2018-03-06)
(Taipei Times, By Yang Fu-i and William Hetherington) Among the 31 incentives for Taiwanese business people announced by China are tax cuts, investment capital, and relaxed restrictions on certification for 134 professions. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Julian Kuo said these incentives are strategic and systemic, and are part of an attempt to use trade to promote unification.

Taiwan to Roll Out Strategy in Response to China's Proposed Incentives (2018-03-06)
(CNA, By Chen Chun-hua and Evelyn Kao) Premier William Lai announced that the government will announce measures next week to respond to Beijing's recent offer of incentives aimed at attracting Taiwanese investment and talent into China. On February 28, China's Taiwan Affairs Office announced a set of 31 measures designed at benefitting Taiwanese enterprises, associations, and artist interested in career development in China.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
 Time to Let Taiwan Join the Pacific Partnership (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Joseph Bosco) Taiwan has proven experience in enhancing disaster relief responsiveness, strengthening defense cooperation, and elevating female participation in security affairs -- the three primary goals of the Pacific Partnership 2018. However, Taiwan has not been invited to join in full, demonstrating the position against Taiwan that the Trump Administration has been forced to take due to Beijing's influence. The Trump Administration should give Taiwan the opportunity to collaborate on the Pacific Partnership's goals and extend an offer for full membership.

Taiwan Accuses US Trade Remedies of Distorting World Trade (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Liao Yu-yang and Evelyn Kao) The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that certain trade remedy measures, such as anti-dumping, that the US has taken to show their trade priorities has distorted world trade. The US administration had expressed some concern about Taiwanese agricultural practices. MOEA said it would keep communications open with smaller businesses in order to defend Taiwan's rights as an economic power and member of the WTO.

Taiwan Travel Act Good News, Needs Wisdom: Scholars (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh and Elaine Hou) A scholar said that while the Taiwan Travel Act's passing was good for US-Taiwan relations and the senior officials in both administrations, its implementation would need careful thinking and wisdom. He said that the Chinese government would respond to it on a case-by-case basis if President Trump signs it into law.

President Outlines Policies to Boost Economic Growth (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Liao Yu-yang and Evelyn Kao) President Tsai Ing-wen unveiled several new initiatives to help spark economic growth in Taiwan on Thursday. The three areas she will be focusing on are promoting innovation through the "five plus two" innovative industries, expanding foreign trade through state-run enterprise leadership for private companies, and seeking participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Lawmakers Warn Not to Be "Overly Optimistic" about Taiwan Travel Act (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Liu Kuan-ting, Justin Su and Kuan-lin Liu) Several Taiwanese lawmakers warned against being overly optimistic about the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act. Several have even considered that its passing may escalate cross-strait tensions.

Taiwan Must Embrace International Trade: CCNAA Head (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The new head of Taiwan's Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA) said that Taiwan must not isolate itself from international trade, including from the US, given that Taiwan is an export-oriented country. Her remarks come as a response to US concerns about Taiwanese agricultural policies, specifically the ban on certain US pork imports.

US Concerned Over Taiwan's Meat Import Ban, Wants Its Removal (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Kuan-lin Liu and Rita Cheng) The United States's 2018 Trade Policy Agenda and 2017 Annual Report highlights several concerns with Taiwan's agricultural policies, including claiming some "are not based upon science." Specifically, the US is commenting on a ban on certain pork imports into Taiwan when the pork contains a certain drug called ractopamine. While the drug remains fully banned in pork imports, Taiwan has been more lenient on the presence of the drug in beef imports for several years.

Taiwan Seeking "Young Ambassadors" for South, Southeast Asia (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) Taiwan's government is recruiting young people to serve as "ambassadors" for the New Southbound Program. The program will be recruiting several students for a ten-day trip to targeted countries to promote the Program and help build closer ties.

Taiwan Travel Act Clears US Senate, Heads to White House (2018-03-01)
(CNA, By Kuan-lin Liu, Chiang Chin-yeh and Yeh Su-ping) The Taiwan Travel Act was unanimously passed in the US Senate and the bill was sent to the White House for final approval. The bill would allow all US government officials at all levels to travel to Taiwan to meet with their Taiwanese counterparts while high-level Taiwanese government officials would be able to enter the United States under "respectful conditions" to conduct exchanges. The bill has faced strong opposition from China, and Beijing has released a press release strongly opposing it.

Government Reaffirms its Commitment to Tourism (2018-03-02)
(Taipei Times, By Shelley Shan) Vice President Chen Chien-jen reaffirmed the government's commitment to developing the nation's tourism industry, promising to offer tourism operators its full support. Taiwan attracted 10.74 million international visitors in 2017, and tourism from the 18 countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy grew by 30 percent, exceeding 2 million in the past year and accounting for around 20 percent of international visitors.

U.S. Policy on Taiwan Remains Unchanged: State Department (2018-03-02)
(CNA, By Chiang Chin-yeh and Flor Wang) The U.S. State Department said its policy on Taiwan remains unchanged despite the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act by the U.S. Senate. The U.S. said it is still committed to the one-China policy based on the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.

U.S. Scholars Urge Taiwan to Consider Implications of U.S. Travel Act (2018-03-02)
(CNA, By Rita Cheng and Kuan-lin Liu) U.S. scholars at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) urged Taiwan to consider the implications of this act on relations across the Taiwan Strait, and whether the country can stand up to pressure that would come from China as a result. Michael Green, the senior vice president for the Asia and Japan chair at CSIS stated that the Taiwan Travel Act is only a symbolic change in Taiwan-U.S. relations.

Government Reaffirms its Commitment to Tourism (2018-03-02)
(Taipei Times, By Shelley Shan) Vice President Chen Chien-jen reaffirmed the government's commitment to developing the nation's tourism industry, promising to offer tourism operators its full support. Taiwan attracted 10.74 million international visitors in 2017, and tourism from the 18 countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy grew by 30 percent, exceeding 2 million in the past year and accounting for around 20 percent of international visitors.

Taiwan Condemns Deadly Attacks in Burkina Faso, Offers Assistance (2018-03-03)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Kuan-lin Liu) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning the attacks in Burkina Faso that killed 16 people and injured several others. Taiwan also offered any necessary assistance to Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

Taiwan to Increase Defense Spending: Premier Lai (2018-03-03)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Kuan-lin Liu) Premier William Lai announced that Taiwan would be increasing its defense spending to further contribute to regional stability and security along with its neighbors. He noted the major regional threats as the North Korean missile tests as well as Chinese military drills in the East and South China Seas.

Chinese Opinions Irrelevant to Ties with US: Premier (2018-03-03)
(Taipei Times/CNA) Premier William Lai said that relations between Taiwan and the United States should not be influenced by the opinions of China nor any other country. He also further expressed his support for the Taiwan Travel Act's passing. Lai made these remarks in response to comments that Beijing may attempt to further shut Taiwan out of the international community.

Ministry Warns Fishermen Operating Near Indonesia (2018-03-03)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) Four Taiwanese vessels were detained by Indonesian authorities over the past week as part of an Indonesian government crackdown on drug shipments. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning to any fishing vessels operating near Indonesia to exercise caution while in the area. MOFA has also asked the Indonesian government not to detain any ships without due cause.

US Paves Way for High-Level Exchanges With Taiwan (2018-03-03)
(The Diplomat, By Shannon Tiezzi) The Taiwan Travel Act, which would allow upper-level US officials to travel to Taiwan and meet with Taiwanese government equivalent counterparts, unanimously passed the Senate and has been sent to the White House awaiting final approval by President Trump. However, it is worth noting that the Act simply suggests that these measures be done; it does not mandate any actions to be taken. The passage of the bill could signal to the US government that the current position of deference to China by not exchanging with Taiwan should be changed.

Regional Parliamentarians Discuss Threats Posed by China, North Korea (2018-03-04)
(CNA, By Shih Hsiu-chuan) Visiting parliamentarians from Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines met with local Taiwan lawmakers to discuss greater cooperation among like-minded allies to maintain regional peace. Keisuke Suzuki, a member of Japan's House of Representatives, stated that there should be greater cooperation among the U.S., Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Taiwan Protests Against Name Change by Swedish Agency (2018-03-04)
(CNA, By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao) Taiwan's government has lodged a protest against the change of its designation to a "province of China"on the website of the Swedish Tax Agency. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stated the designation of "Taiwan" should be maintained.

Taiwan to Seek Talks With U.S. on Planned Tariffs: Official (2018-03-04)
(CNA, By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Ku Chuan, Chu Tse-wei, Liao Yu-yang) John Deng, Taiwan's top trade megotiator, said Taiwan will try to hold discussions with the United States on U.S. President Donald Trump's proposal to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Deng says Taiwan will pursue talks with the U.S. before considering other options, trying to prevent this from spilling into other areas of bilateral trade.

Taiwan Seeking Stronger, Closer Partnerships in Region: VP (2018-03-05)
(CNA, By Sophia Yeh and Elizabeth Hsu) Vice President Chen Chien-jen said that Taiwan would like to establish better relationships with more nations in South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. It will also be seeking support for its participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Taiwan will also be further promoting its New Southbound Policy throughout the year.

Taiwan Protests after Fishing Boat Water-Cannoned by Japanese Patrol (2018-03-05)
(CNA, By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Joseph Yeh) Taiwan lodged an official protest with Japan after a Japanese patrol water-cannoned a Taiwanese fishing boat near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands. An investigation has also been launched to find out if the boat was in waters outside an agreed-upon area.

Envoy Reiterates Taiwan's Stance Toward US Pork, Beef (2018-03-05)
(CNA, By Chiang Chin-yeh and Flor Wang) Taiwan's representative to the United States said that the two governments would continue to negotiate in addressing the issues surrounding US pork and beef imports into Taiwan. He cited food safety as the government's top priority. Communication between Taiwan and Washington remains smooth.

Foreign Ministry to Invite Diplomats to Hualien to Boost Tourism (2018-03-05)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The Foreign Minister announced that MOFA would be planning a trip for foreign representatives to visit Hualien County to promote tourism following the devastating earthquake last month. He said that it would help others better understand Taiwan as well as boost the tourism industry, which could aid recovery efforts.

Ex-Diplomats Urge New Global Strategy (2018-03-05)
(Taipei Times, By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin) Retired diplomats called MOFA yesterday to campaign for new ideas and a new strategy towards Taiwan's international affairs. For example, they said that instead of maintaining ties with diplomatic allies, Taiwan should work towards building unofficial relations with other countries through NGOs and international organizations. Taiwan's values, such as democracy and human rights, are what gives Taiwan an edge over China.

Referendum on Neutrality Not Likely This Year (2018-03-05)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) Former Vice President Annette Lu announced that she may postpone a planned referendum to declare Taiwan an officially neutral nation until next year. She also said that Taiwan should work with several other nations to maintain regional peace and stability. The delay is due to the upcoming elections and the political turmoil that will most likely accompany them.

Unless Vetoed, Taiwan Travel Act to Take Effect by March 16 (2018-03-06)
(CNA, By Rita Cheng and Y.F. Low) The Taiwan Travel Act is expected to take effect by March 16 unless vetoed by U.S. President Trump. This Act was passed in the Senate on February 28 and earlier in the House of Representatives on January 9. The chances of Trump vetoing this bill is unlikely given that it passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.

Taiwan Will Protect its Fishermen: Taiwan's Envoy to Japan (2018-03-06)
(CNA, By Kelven Huang, Elaine Hou and Elizabeth Hsu) Taiwan's top envoy to Japan Frank Hsieh said that Taiwan will protect its fishermen and defend its national sovereignty given the dispute between a Taiwanese fishing boat and Japanese patrol boats in the waters within the overlapping areas of Taiwan and Japan's exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Hsieh said Japan has to provide proof that the fishing boat had actually been fishing, but Japan has yet to reveal this evidence.

Taiwan Fishing Boat Chased off by Japanese Could Face License Suspension (2018-03-06)
(CNA, By Yang Su-min and Ko Lin) The head of Taiwan's Fisheries Agency (FA) said that the Taiwanese fishing boat hat was chased off by Japanese patrol vessels could have its license suspended. The Su'ao-registered Tung Pan Chiu No. 28 fishing vessel operated in overlapping waters between Taiwan and Japan without authorization, failing to apply for clearance to operate in the area.

PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
Taiwan and Missile Defence: Current Situation and Future Prospects (2018-02-28)
(Taiwan Insight, By Alex Calvo) No look at Taiwan’s security and defence policies, and at the balance of military power in the Strait, is complete without an examination of missile defence. Not least because the ability to launch massive missile attacks against the Island remains one of the cornerstones of Beijing’s continued attempt to secure overwhelming military superiority, enabling it to either coerce Taiwan into submission, or, if necessary, secure victory in a short war.
U.S.-China Relations
 How Can the US Manage a Rising China? (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Robert Farley) The US must rethink its approach to the international order if it is to accept the Chinese rise in global politics and influence. The chance of US-Chinese competition in the near future is high as the potential for cooperation is difficult, although not impossible. While the US will not lose all its influence, it must figure out what role it plays and what to do with the influence it will have.

Making Sense of Chinese Reactions to the US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Raymond Wang) The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review declares a new strategy that the US will be taking regarding Chinese nuclear power, one where the US attributes China as having "limited use" intentions. However, the question arises of how China will respond. While some outlets have called for China to consider developing low-yield nuclear warheads, others have criticized the potential to enter an arms race and the idea of expanding nuclear power in China remains fairly unpopular.

US-China Trade Spat Unlikely to Worsen Despite Deficit (2018-03-01)
(IPP Review, By John F. Copper) Given all of this, the current trade spat between the United States and China should not be seen as terribly consequential. US-China relations are generally good, and much better than during the later years of the Obama administration.

China Sends Envoy to Talk Trade as Trump Mulls Tariffs (2018-03-01)
(The Diplomat, By Shannon Tiezzi) Liu He, one of Xi Jinping's top economic advisors, is in Washington DC to negotiate with US trade representatives as President Trump considers action to address what he views as unfair trade practices with China. While strong rhetoric against Chinese economic practices was a defining characteristic of Trump's Presidential campaign, the first year of his term has been relatively quiet in terms of action, but rumors have been circling over particular action against the steel industry specifically.

With China’s Envoy Still in DC, Trump Announces Steel and Aluminum Tariffs (2018-03-02)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) US President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum while singling out China while a Chinese delegation was in Washington to prevent a trade war between the two countries. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson condemned the decision and has also threatened to take any safety measures to protect Chinese interests.

Donald Trump Praises Xi Jinping over Move to End Term Limit ... ‘Maybe We’ll Have to Give that a Shot Someday’ (2018-03-04)
(South China Morning Post, By Liu Zhen) Beijing does not intend to export its governance model or ask other countries to follow its lead, a government official told media on Sunday, hours after US President Donald Trump praised Xi Jinping over a move to scrap the presidential term limit. While the Communist Party’s proposal to remove the limit of two five-year terms – meaning Xi could stay in power indefinitely – has sparked criticism and fears of a return to strongman politics, Trump said he was fine with the idea. He even suggested the United States could “give that a shot someday”.

China: A ‘Strategic’ Threat? (2018-03-05)
(The Diplomat, By Amitai Etzioni) The National Defense Strategy issued by the Pentagon lists China as seeking to completely overthrow the US-led global order and therefore cites great power competition as the number one threat to the global system, rather than terrorism, as it has been for the previous few years. However, there is little evidence to suggest that China is following through with this goal of regional domination. The Pentagon should not be downgrading the fight against terrorism in fear of Chinese objectives.

US-China Trade Relations: Impending Trade War?  (2018-03-05)
(The Diplomat, By Mercy A. Kuo) The announcement of new tariffs in the United States for Chinese imports signals the potential for a trade war between the two countries. The consequences of the new tariffs as well as the implications of the tariff upon US foreign policy and global grand strategy are discussed.

‘Lack of Transparency’: US Snipes at China’s Defence Budget Boost (2018-03-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Bhavan Jaipragas) “Lack of transparency”. That was the oblique buzz phrase on the lips of a top US naval officer on Tuesday when pressed on whether China’s largest defence spending increase in three years was of concern. Accompanying the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson’s highly symbolic visit to Vietnam, Vice Admiral Phillip Sawyer, commander of the Asia-based Seventh Fleet, used the term repeatedly to respond to questions about China, including Monday’s revelation that Beijing was boosting defence spending by 8.1 per cent.

Alaska Plans Trade Mission to China, amid Strained Sino-US Ties (2018-03-06)
(Associated Press) Alaskan Governor Bill Walker on Monday announced details of a spring trade mission to China that aims to build on existing relationships between the state and the Asian country. The announcement comes amid mounting trade tensions between the US and China. The trip, which Walker first mentioned in his state-of-the-state speech in January, is schedule for May.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
PacNet #15 - The Point of No Return? China’s Choice After the Nuclear Posture Review (2018-02-22)
(CSIS, By David Santoro) Beijing needs to decide whether it wants full-blown nuclear competition with the United States or try to regulate it through dialogue. The future of the most important bilateral relationship of the twenty-first century hangs in the balance.

The CCP's Proposed Term Limit Change Shocks China
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) Following the Chinese Communist Party's announcement to propose an amendment to the Constitution allowing Xi Jinping to serve a third term as China's President, people around China are shocked, claiming that doing so would set constitutional reform back to before the Deng Xiaoping era. Although many of these concerns and comments were shared online, CCP censors have quickly wiped them off the Internet. Chinese propaganda is also defending the CCP decision to the fullest extent.

Xi Jinping Extends Power, and China Braces for a New Cold War (2018-02-27)
(New York Times, By Jane Perlez) The Chinese leader has new authority to pursue his drive to make China a dominant global power — even if it risks putting Beijing in conflict with Washington.

China-South Korea Relations: A Delicate Détente (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Kristian McGuire) Although Beijing and Seoul announced that they would get their relationship back on a positive track in late 2017, the two have not truly reached a new detente and instead are still negotiating over the South Korean approach to regional stability, especially the North Korean crisis. Through negotiations, South Korea showed a certain extent of deference to China while China removed some sanctions against South Korea, but this agreement is not sustainable in the long-term. However, China still has not removed all sanctions in order to maintain a small bit of leverage over South Korea.

Xi Jinping's Latest Power Move, in Context (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By David Gitter) The CCP recently released an announcement that they would be proposing amendments to the Constitution, including one that would remove term limits for the President and allow Xi Jinping to serve as long as he wishes. The clear rise in Xi's power and influence since the 19th Party Congress helps put this latest news into context and perspective.

China and the Geopolitics of Knowledge: Winning the Long Game (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Dawisson Belém Lopes) China has recently seen a massive jump ahead in the science and R&D sectors and shows a desire to catch up to the frontrunners of the world through many aspects. The new approach to knowledge is already helping develop China's current foreign policy, but the Chinese leadership knows that this new initiative is meant for the long game and will have profound effects in the long run.

Why Does Xi Jinping Care About Being President? (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Shannon Tiezzi) While there were always rumors that President Xi Jinping would try to break the tradition of stepping down after two terms, as enshrined in the Constitution, the latest announcement that the CCP would attempt to remove the term limit shocks many Chinese due to the clarification of Xi's intentions. However, given that there's no term limit on being General Secretary of the CCP, one must question why Xi even wants to remain President. Theories as to why include for diplomatic considerations and because exerting influence would be difficult from behind the curtains of bureaucracy.

Welcome to Xi Jinping's New Era (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) The decision for the CCP to attempt to remove term limits from the Presidency of China signals a departure from the institutional system set by President Deng Xiaoping, who first established the term limits. The future years will show whether this is simply a power grab from Xi or if Xi actually believes that remaining in power officially is key to the major reform ideas he has planned.

How to Respond to Beijing’s Growing Influence Abroad (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Sarah Cook) While growing Chinese influence can be disheartening as the CCP spreads propaganda and censorship, several entities have taken new approaches to dealing with the growing influence. For example, growing investigations, more policy debates, upholding local legal standards, and action from private entities have all proven decently influential in combating the increased Chinese presence in foreign countries.

China’s Foreign Ministry Defends the CCP’s Proposed Constitutional Amendment (2018-02-27)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) While the Chinese Foreign Ministry does not normally comment on domestic issues, a ministry spokesperson publicly defended the CCP decision to attempt to eliminate Presidential term limits at a press conference. He said that the amendment would be done in accordance with the development of "socialism with Chinese characteristics under the new era.” However, none of these comments were included in an official press briefing transcript so as to not allow Chinese citizens to read the comments.

Can China Take the Mantle on Climate Change Leadership? (2018-02-28)
(East Asia Forum, By Sam Geall) Hope remains that in President Xi’s second five-year term, new Chinese rhetoric combined with other drivers of the low-carbon transition will translate into further climate action from China. But unless China can implement its domestic energy transition, phase out of coal, and ‘green’ both the BRI and its overseas investment more broadly, its rhetoric about playing a leading role on climate change globally is unlikely ever to be realised.

Is China Using ‘Divide and Rule’ Tactics to Gain Influence in Europe? (2018-03-01)
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu) The EU is on alert for Chinese attempts to drive a wedge through the bloc as more states on the periphery line up to join the European fold, diplomatic observers and sources said. Diplomatic observers said the European Union was wary of China’s growing investment in the Balkans, central and eastern European countries and poorer EU members – which Beijing sees as gateways into the more developed European market – as it threatened unity and solidarity.

After U.S.-Based Reporters Exposed Abuses, China Seized Their Relatives (2018-03-01)
(New York Times, By Austin Ramzy) The Radio Free Asia journalists, at least three of whom are American citizens, have reported on China’s crackdown on ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.

Constitutional Amendments Go Unmentioned in the CCP’s Unusual Third Plenum Meeting (2018-03-01)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) The CCP ended its third plenum session on February 28, but constitutional amendments were not mentioned at all during the session, surprising many Chinese. A communique stated that the session focused on a work report (with no details), proposed candidates for state and party leadership (also with no details revealed), and a reform plan on Party and state institutions.

Beijing Blasts Western Critics who ‘Smear China’ with the Term Sharp Power (2018-03-02)
(South China Morning Post, By Sarah Zheng) Beijing issued a harsh rebuke of Western critics who accuse China of using soft power as a vehicle to infiltrate other countries, as it kicked off its biggest political event of the year on Friday. The country’s top advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, hit out against depictions of its campaign to build a positive global image as “sharp power”, a term describing the way authoritarian states project influence abroad.

China’s Military Backs Proposed Constitutional Amendments (2018-03-02)
(The Diplomat, By Adam Ni) The Chinese military announced their full support for the new proposed Constitutional amendments, one of which would eliminate presidential term limits and allow Xi Jinping to serve as many terms as he wished. Their announcement of support is significant due to Xi's many internal party enemies, but it also shows how far Xi's power now reaches.

The One Important Ingredient for Regional Hegemony That China's Still Missing (2018-03-04)
(The Diplomat, By Robert Farley) A new book argues that China managed to maintain hegemony in the past through its use of the tributary system and getting involved into tributary states' domestic politics. Similar traits can be seen in the United States's rise, especially through the effects of soft power following World War II. While it is unlikely that a tributary system mirroring the past version will arise, China must work with its neighbors to establish true regional hegemony.

Europe Once Saw Xi Jinping as a Hedge Against Trump. Not Anymore. (2018-03-04)
(New York Times, By Steven Erlanger) With President Trump abandoning leadership of the global order and Mr. Xi challenging it, Europe sees an increased risk to its livelihood and its values.

As 'Two Sessions' Open, CCP Is Ready to Defend Presidential Term Limit Change (2018-03-05)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) The "Two Sessions," or the sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opened on March 3 and are scheduled to last until March 20. There is plenty of evidence offered to show that the CCP is prepared to defend its decision to amend the constitution to remove presidential term limits. Despite domestic opposition, the CCP appears ready to do away with the limit.

Behind Public Persona, the Real Xi Jinping Is a Guarded Secret (2018-03-05)
(New York Times, By Steven Lee Myers) As China’s president moves to become leader for life, it is striking how little is known about him, despite his having held the country’s highest posts since 2012.

China’s Grand Strategy in a New Era (2018-03-05)
(East Asia Forum, By Zhong Feiteng) China is trying to translate its own local development knowledge into international development and is learning to provide public goods around the world through the Belt and Road Initiative. Other countries will derive mutual benefit from China’s ambitious plans, and contribute to China’s new goal of common development.

What Does Xi Jinping's New Phrase 'Ecological Civilization' Mean? (2018-03-06)
(The Diplomat, By Heidi Wang-Kaeding) China has doubled down on its environmental preservation efforts, especially following the US's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. However, the phrase “Ecological Civilization" draws attention to Xi Jinping's push towards energy transformation, a reliable renewable energy sector, and climate change cooperation. Combining the implications of the phrase combined with how quickly Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Accord could be cause for worry regarding international cooperation regarding climate change prevention efforts.

China’s Top Economic Officials Put On a Friendly Face for Foreign Trade and Investment (2018-03-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Sidney Leng) China will open more of its economy to foreign investors, with moves afoot to expand market access, top economic officials said on Tuesday as lawmakers from around the country met for an annual session set to back an end to presidential term limits. While the prospect of an end to the limits has raised fears of strongman rule, economic bureaucrats are trying to convince the world that China will open to trade and investment flows and is willing to integrate further into the global economy.

Why English Law Could Rule on China’s Belt and Road Disputes (2018-03-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Nicolas Groffman) Matthew Rous, the chief executive of the China Britain Business Council, has spotted something about the geography of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that many have missed. “Look at the map: the Silk Road Economic Belt across Eurasia and the Maritime Silk Road actually come together again at the United Kingdom,” he says.

Beijing Bulks Up Diplomacy Budget as China Extends Global Reach (2018-03-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) Beijing will bulk up spending on diplomacy this year, expanding the foreign affairs budget at almost double the rate of growth for defence outlays as China takes a bigger global role and protects it interests abroad. In its annual fiscal report to the national legislature on Monday, Beijing said spending on diplomacy would rise by 15.6 per cent to 60 billion yuan (US$9.45 billion), while the defence budget would grow by 8.1 per cent to 1.1 trillion yuan.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Arrives in Vietnam, With a Message for China (2018-03-04)
(New York Times, By Hannah Beech) The Carl Vinson anchored off Danang, which served as a major staging post for the U.S. during the Vietnam War. But the visit has more to do with Beijing’s growing footprint in the South China Sea.

Philippine Judge Rules Out South China Sea Gas Deal unless Beijing Recognises Manila’s Sovereignty (2018-03-05)
(Reuters) Any deal between the Philippines and a Chinese firm to jointly explore for gas on Reed Bank in the South China Sea would be illegal unless Beijing recognised Manila’s sovereign rights there, a Philippine judge said on Monday. The Philippines has identified two areas in the crowded waterway suitable for joint exploration and the two countries are seeking ways to tackle the diplomatic and legal headaches of jointly exploring in the waters, but without addressing the issue of sovereignty.

No Need to Rock the Boat in the South China Sea
(East Asia Forum, By Sam Bateman) For Australia, the United Kingdom or France to conduct assertive FONOPs as a push-back against China would serve no useful purpose. Rather these operations could help destabilise a situation that is looking increasingly more stable. The operations would not be supported by most Southeast Asian countries.

The Korean Peninsula

U.S. Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans (2018-02-28)
(New York Times, By Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt) The American military is looking at everything from troop rotations to surveillance to casualty evacuations should it be ordered to take action against North Korea.

North Korea’s Missile Shower Cements Japan’s Defence Strategy
(East Asia Forum, By Hiroyasu Akutsu) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated in January 2018 that ‘North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles represents an unprecedentedly grave and urgent threat’ to Japan. Indeed, Japan’s North Korea policy has hardened amid an uptick in North Korean missile testing.

PacNet #17 - US-DPRK: Can/Should “Talks About Talks” Proceed? (2018-03-05)
(CSIS, By Ralph A. Cossa) Pyongyang’s statement concluded that “The U.S. should not misjudge our intention for dialogue.” It is absolutely essential that Pyongyang not misjudge US intentions either. This requires a face-to-face meeting with Kim Jong-Un similar to, and in lockstep with, the ROK delegation that precedes it.

North Korea Is Willing to Discuss Giving Up Nuclear Weapons, South Says (2018-03-06)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-hun) The two Koreas plan to hold a summit meeting in late April, and Kim Jong-un is said to have agreed to suspend missile tests during any talks with Washington.

Other Regional Issues

The New Trans-Pacific Partnership Hunkers Down against Trump (2018-03-04)
(East Asia Forum, By Shiro Armstrong) Agreements in Asia that promote openness and encourage countries not to retaliate may dissuade Mr Trump from further harming America’s trading partners and contain the damage to confidence in the global trading system.

Moving from Defence to Offence on Trade Strategy
(East Asia Forum, By the Editorial Board) If East Asia does not hold the line on corrosion of the global trade regime and protectionism, no one else is likely to.Crafting regional trade architecture without the constructive participation of the United States is the immediate challenge and will remain the challenge for the foreseeable future.

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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