::: TSR Weekly Report
2018-03-12 | NO.41(62) 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
 "Social Resistance" Emerges in Taiwan Against China: Expert (2018-03-07)
(CNA, By Shih Hsiu-chuan) An expert on Chinese affairs said that "social resistance" within the Taiwanese people, referring to greater desires to pursue a Taiwan-centered identity, is arising as a response to Chinese President Xi Jinping's concept of the new Chinese Dream. People are resisting because Xi has forced Taiwan to be a part of his idea for "rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," which he lists as a goal of his presidency.

Taoyuan Mayor Calls for China to Stop Threatening Taiwan (2018-03-07)
(CNA, By Lin Ko-lun and S.C. Chang) Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan asked China to stop threatening to use force to settle disputes on either side of the Taiwan Strait. He said that China should instead attempt to be more friendly and get to know Taiwanese people to improve relations between the two sides.

How Telecom Fraud is Piling Even More Strain on Taiwan-Beijing Ties (2018-03-08)
(Associated Press) Gangs operating from bases as far flung as Cambodia and Kenya, taking advantage of closer global connections and falling technology costs, are a growing source of tension between Beijing and the self-ruled island of Taiwan.

Premier Dismisses Claims of China, Vatican to Establish Ties (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Kuan-lin Liu and Chen Chun-hua) Premier William Lai said that the rumors of an agreement between China and the Vatican regarding the appointment of Chinese bishops does not signal that the two countries will begin a diplomatic relationship. The Vatican is one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies and rumors have spread that the Vatican may sever ties with Taiwan and recognize the People's Republic of China as the Vatican has been recently communicating with Beijing on the matter of appointing Chinese bishops. However, Lai said that the government was closely monitoring Vatican ties.

China's New Tour Guide Policy Not Targeting Taiwan: Official (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Chen Ting-wei, Chen Chun-hua and Kuan-lin Liu) An official from the Tourism Bureau dispelled rumors that China was not preventing tour guides from offering tours to Taiwan, instead claiming that the new reforms to tour guide certification was to create a more encompassing system. Premier William Lai also said that the government was continuing to work to attract tourists from Japan, Korea, Singapore, and New Southbound Policy-targeted countries.

Taiwan to Observe Impact of Removal of China Leader's Term Limit (2018-03-11)
(CNA, By Chai Sze-chia and William Yen) The Mainland Affairs Council announced that the Taiwanese government would closely observe the consequences of China's decision to eliminate term limits for its President. MAC further stated that Taiwan has always stood for peaceful cross-strait relations and negotiations.

Incentives Threaten Sovereignty: Lee (2018-03-11)
(Taipei Times, By Peng Wan-hsin and Sherry Hsiao) Former President Lee Teng-Hui said at the Taiwan United Nations Alliance’s latest meeting that Taiwan should be careful of Chinese incentives to attract Taiwanese to the mainland because it may lead to increased claims of Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. If Taiwan were to lose its economic power, it would be much easier for China to march in and claim sovereignty.

Chinese Pressure Most in a Decade: MOFA (2018-03-11)
(Taipei Times, By Su Yung-yao and William Hetherington) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited 42 instances of Chinese interference in Taiwanese foreign affairs over the past year, including political and economic influence, poaching diplomatic allies, and putting pressure on non-official relations. China has also placed pressure on international institutions, such as the World Health Assembly, to not allow Taiwan to participate.

Term Expansion for Xi Could Mean Long-Term Gain for China: Expert (2018-03-12)
(CNA, Yeh Su-ping, Chai Sze-chia and Flor Wang) Kao Koong-lian, a former acting chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, believes that even though Chinese President Xi Jinping is an expert on Taiwan, it does not mean he is friendly to the country. Now with the scrapping of presidential term limits, Xi can focus on long-term gains from Taiwan, rather than trying to fix the issue by 2023.

Chinese President Could Break Customary Approaches to Taiwan (2018-03-12)
(CNA, By Chai Sze-chia and Elizabeth Hsu) The removal of term limits for Chinese President Xi Jinping could cause China to break its customary practices in relations with Taiwan. Xi has broken many Chinese Communist Party customs in the past, which suggests that his policy with Taiwan will unlikely follow precedent. Despite this, it is unlikely that China will use military force against Taiwan in the future, according to Chang Wu-ueh, a professor of Chinese Studies at Tamkang University.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
 Japan Defends Chasing Taiwanese Boat as Within Its Rights (2018-03-07)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Elizabeth Hsu) Japan's representative office in Taiwan announced that Japanese patrol vessels were within their rights to chase down a Taiwanese fishing boat this past weekend. The fishing boat allegedly entered a Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Taiwan has lodged an official protest with Japan over the incident.

Most Companies Optimistic About Taiwan's Economy: AmCham Survey (2018-03-07)
(CNA, By Christie Chen) A survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei has revealed that over half of the American companies in Taiwan are optimistic about Taiwan's economy in the short-term future. They also see the government's recently announced infrastructure development plans as largely beneficial for the economy as a whole.

Taiwan to Join Global Campaign to Mark Tibet National Uprising Day (2018-03-07)
(CNA, By Shih Hsiu-chuan) March 10 marks Tibet National Uprising Day, which commemorates the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. Various human rights activists and Tibetans living in Taiwan have asked Taiwanese people to march in support of the day and of Tibet.

KMT Demands Tough Stance with Japan (2018-03-07)
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin) Various KMT lawmakers have said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should seek a proper explanation from Japan over the incident involving a Taiwanese fishing boat from this past weekend. MOFA has already lodged a diplomatic protest with Japan over the incident, which Japan has claimed was within their rights.

Nigeria Trade Office in Taipei Set to Relocate This Month (2018-03-08)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Evelyn Kao) Nigeria's representative office in Taipei will move to New Taipei. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) requested this move in response to the Nigerian government's demand that Taiwan's respective office in Nigeria move out of the capital.

Pro-Unification Activists Protest Over Fishing Boat Incident (2018-03-08)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) A group of pro-China unification activists protested outside Japan's representative office in Taipei over the incident where Japanese patrol vessels chased away a Taiwanese fishing boat from the waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands. These protesters gathered outside the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA), the de facto Japanese embassy in Taiwan.

MOFA Thanks Japan for Donations and Assistance in Hualien Relief (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Ko Lin) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its appreciation for Japanese assistance in the wake of the earthquake in Hualien County in February. MOFA said that the gesture of friendship reflects the good relationship between Japan and Taiwan.

Germany's Energy Ministry Calls for More Cooperation with Taiwan (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Lin Yu-li and William Yen) The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has called for greater cooperation in the energy sector between Germany and Taiwan. This comes in the wake of Taiwan's announcement to move 20% of its energy output to green energy and fully stop its dependence on nuclear energy by the year 2025, a move which Germany has also committed to.

Taiwan Seeks to Join CPTPP (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou, Liao Yu-yang and Flor Wang) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed congratulatory remarks at the signing of a trade agreement between various Asia-Pacific countries. They also announced that Taiwan would attempt to join the partnership to contribute to regional economic growth as well.

Taiwan to Seek Negotiations with US on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang) The Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced that Taiwan will seek to begin negotiations on steel and aluminum import tariffs in the US in an effort to protect Taiwanese exporters. The MOEA will also monitor how other US trade partners react to the new tariffs under WTO guidelines. The US is the largest buyer of Taiwanese steel products.

Taiwan Requests Correction of Name Change by Sweden (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Tang Pei-chun and Flor Wang) The representative office of Taiwan in Sweden filed an official protest with the Swedish government after the Swedish Tax Agency announced that its website would list Taiwan as a province of China. The representative office also announced that a delegation has met with Swedish officials to request the correction.

Pro-Unification Groups Protest at Japanese Office (2018-03-09)
(CNA, By Ann Maxon) Several pro-unification groups protested in front of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association’s Taipei office in response to the Japanese government's encroachment on Taiwanese fishing rights. One of the protestors was seen waving a People's Republic of China flag. The protest was moved to the front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after police orders.

Envoy Tells German Firms to Restore Taiwan's Name (2018-03-09)
(Taipei Times/CNA) A Taiwanese representative to Germany has said that he has written to several German companies asking them to stop listing Taiwan as a part of China on their websites. These companies have reportedly come under pressures from Beijing to do so. This has come as a response to the Chinese government's response to Marriott, who listed Taiwan as a region separate from China on its website earlier this year.

Swedish Parliamentarians Criticize Name Change by Swedish Agency (2018-03-10)
(CNA, By Tang Pei-chun and Kuan-lin Liu) The Swedish-Taiwanese Parliamentarian Association (STPA) has denounced the Swedish Tax Agency's decision to change Taiwan's name to a province of China as "inappropriate." The STPA gave four reasons: it obscures actual facts regarding the status of Taiwan, it inconveniences Taiwanese passport holders, it causes confusions regarding who is eligible for the 90-day visa-free exemption, and applications for longer stays could be accidentally sent to China.

Taiwan Has Role in Indo-Pacific Security Strategy: Ex-US Official (2018-03-11)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The former US Assistant Secretary of Defense said that Taiwan played an important role in US President Donald Trump's new "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy. Taiwan stands for the current international order, rule-based order, and access to global trade, and it must cooperate with Japan and the US to maintain ideological stability against China.

Taiwan Committed to Role in New "Indo-Pacific Security Strategy" (2018-03-11)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The Deputy Foreign Minister said that Taiwan is well prepared to work with the US and Japan to maintaining regional stability under the US's new Indo-Pacific Strategy. He cited the New Southbound Policy as an example of Taiwan's willingness to cooperate with other regional powers.

Taiwan Backs US-Japan Strategy: Official (2018-03-12)
(Taipei Times, By Shelley Shan) The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Wu Chih-chung reaffirmed the government's commitment to working with the United States and Japan to maintain regional peace and stability. Wu made this remark at the opening address of a Taipei seminar discussing the opportunities for Taiwan citizens under the Indo-Pacific strategy.

TSU Seeks Bigger Military Budget and Conscription (2018-03-12)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) urged the government to increase its national defense budget and increase conscription in response to China's record-high military spending. China has announced a hike to its official budget by 8.1 percent to 1.1 trillion yuan a year, roughly 16 times that of Taiwan and making it the second-largest country in terms of military spending, losing only to the United States.
U.S.-China Relations
 The Truth About Trump’s Trade Tariffs (2018-03-07)
(The Diplomat, By Anthony Kleven) While US President Donald Trump says his new tariffs will allow for the flourishing of domestic US businesses, the truth is that tariffs only work if properly designed. Currently, the Trump administration has not listed any exemptions from the tariffs, meaning a broad list of all imported steel and aluminum will be subject to the tariffs. Tariffs, especially targeted tariffs, can only be part of the solution to Chinese overcapacity of steel production -- it cannot be an end-all solution.

US General Warns of ‘Significant Consequences’ for Military if China Takes Control of Key Port in Africa (2018-03-07)
(Reuters) The top US general for Africa told lawmakers on Tuesday that he feared the American military could face “significant” consequences should China take a key port in Djibouti, as Beijing becomes increasingly muscular in Africa in an effort to expand its influence.

US Mulling Broad Curbs on Chinese Investment, Imports, Sources Say, as Trade War Looms (2018-03-07)
(Bloomberg News) The Trump administration is considering clamping down on Chinese investments in the US and imposing tariffs on a broad range of its imports to punish Beijing for its alleged theft of intellectual property, according to people familiar with the matter.

Despite Its Global Expansion, China Stresses No Intention to Displace US (2018-03-08)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) At a recent press conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China does not want to begin a trade war with the United States or displace Washington's role in the global order. The US has recently singled out China as one of the greatest threats to the US-led global order. Wang's tone was much softer than other Chinese statements regarding the trade war, although he still maintained that China would react to the trade war in its own way.

Tillerson Slams Chinese Financial Practices in Africa (2018-03-08)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that China's recent financial practices in Africa have led to African countries' dependence onto China and impeded their own economic growth. He compared it to American foreign policy and aid, which he claims nurtures countries into sustainable development models. While China has invited the US to cooperate in African economic initiatives, the US has instead chosen to work alone.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Says African Countries Should Weigh Chinese Loans ‘Carefully’ as He Begins Five-Nation Tour (2018-03-08)
(Reuters) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday that African countries should weigh Chinese loans carefully, while adding that Washington was not trying to keep Chinese investment away from the continent.

Washington Must Own up to Superpower Competition With China (2018-03-08)
(The Diplomat, By Will Saetren and Hunter Marston) Xi's recent elimination of Presidential term limits has pushed China and the United States into full-blown great power competition, especially in terms of influence in the Asia-Pacific. China's rapid economic growth and increased military spending has given it a notable presence in the region, one which the United States has not adequately responded to. Washington must recognize Chinese increases in strength if it wants to stand a chance at comparing to China.

No Winners – Only Catastrophe – in a China-US Trade War, Beijing Says (2018-03-11)
(South China Morning Post, By Sidney Leng) A trade war between China and the United States would be disastrous not only for the two countries involved, but also the rest of the world, Beijing warned on Sunday. “There will be no winner,” Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

Xi Jinping Steers China back to the Days of Mao Zedong (2018-03-05)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Willy Wo-Lap Lam) Chinese politics has undergone a stunning retrogression in the wake of a terse announcement by Xinhua News Agency on February 25 that an impending revision of the state constitution would abrogate term limits for the posts of President and Vice-President.

China’s Belt and Road Plan is a Major Debt Risk for Weak Economies, Report Says (2018-03-06)
(Bloomberg News) China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” creates the potential for debt-sustainability problems in some of the world’s weakest economies, according to the Centre for Global Development. The infrastructure project – aimed at forging new economic links with Europe, Asia and Africa – puts Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan and Tajikistan “at particular risk of debt distress”, researchers at the Washington-based research institute said in a report on Sunday.

Jerome Cohen: Xi and CCP Aim for Unchallenged Power
(The Diplomat, By Maurits Elen) Jerome Cohen, a Professor of Law at New York University, discusses the recent decision to remove Presidential term limits from the Chinese Communist Party Constitution.

Chinese Movie Star Jackie Chan in Push for Law to ‘Protect National Dignity’ (2018-03-09)
(South China Morning Post, By Yujing Liu) The proposal from 38 arts members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference suggests making “advocacy for Japanese militarism, fascism, and Bushido spirit” a punishable offence under criminal law.

Xi Jinping: Rising Dictator or Another East Asian Strongman? (2018-03-10)
(The Diplomat, By Li Jie Sheng) Xi Jinping's latest move to eliminate Presidential term limits from the Chinese constitution can be seen as a typical power grab from any rising dictator. However, his move could just be the rise of an East Asian strongman, a figure not familiar to the Western style of governing but effective in improving quality of life for citizens. While Xi's economic growth visions may be in line with those such as Lee Kuan Yew, his less-than-stellar record clouds that vision.

China’s Legislature Blesses Xi’s Indefinite Rule. It Was 2,958 to 2. (2018-03-11)
(New York Times, By Chris Buckley and Steven Lee Myers) The repeal of the Constitution’s presidential term limit upends the political order established after Mao, entrenching Xi Jinping and the Communist Party.

In A Fortnight: Xi’s Other Amendments (2018-03-12)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Matt Schrader) The central, overriding message of the amendments is one of loyalty to Xi Jinping as the core of the Communist Party, and to his agenda. This is underscored by the ninth proposed amendment, which would require all “state workers” to swear allegiance to the constitution. As the purpose of the other 20 amendments is to underscore the centrality and importance of Xi Jinping to the Chinese system, this new requirement would, in effect, force the whole of China’s enormous bureaucratic apparatus to swear personal loyalty to Xi Jinping.

Beijing and Hong Kong

Beijing Sets A Harsh Tone for Hong Kong in the ‘Two Sessions’ (2018-03-09)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) At the current “Two Sessions” conference, multiple officials have threatened to increase political pressure upon Hong Kong if the city does not behave itself. Officials, including Li Keqiang, have omitted the premises of Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong and autonomy of Hong Kong in their speeches, solely focusing on the "one country, two systems" principle. Tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing have slowly been growing over the past few years.

Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Bloc Loses Seats in Election (2018-03-12)
(New York Times, By Austin Ramzy) The loss of two seats in the Sunday vote came after several pro-democracy lawmakers were removed from office over improper oaths and others were barred from running.

China's Foreign Relations

Who Are the Players Behind China’s Foreign Policy? (2018-03-08)
(South China Morning Post, By Nectar Gan) China’s foreign minister is often seen as the face of the country’s foreign policy but his actual say in foreign policy decision-making is much smaller than in many other countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not the most authoritative or influential actor in foreign policy formulation in China. Instead, a wide range of Communist Party organs and government departments, plus the military, may be involved in the process.

China, Vatican Talks on Bishops ‘in Full Swing’, Chinese Official Says
(Reuters) Negotiations to broker a framework accord between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops are making quick progress towards a deal, a Chinese official said on Friday, in what would be a historic breakthrough in relations. A deal on the thorny issue of who gets to appoint bishops could be signed within months, a senior Vatican source told Reuters in February. The potential Vatican rapprochement with Communist China sparked a war of words among Catholic officials.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Beijing Accuses ‘External Powers’ of Flexing Muscles in South China Sea after US Carrier Docks in Vietnam (2018-03-08)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) China’s foreign minister on Thursday took a veiled swipe at a US aircraft carrier’s highly symbolic visit to a Vietnamese port, saying “external powers” were showing off their military muscle and creating a great disturbance in the South China Sea region.

The Korean Peninsula

Raising Hopes, North Korea Offers to Talk About Its Nuclear Arsenal (2018-03-06)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-hun and Mark Landler) South Korea says the North is open to negotiations with the United States over its nuclear program but wants military threats eliminated and its security guaranteed.

North Korean Nuclear Crisis at a Crossroads: Xi Jinping Urges Kim and Trump to Fast Track Talks (2018-03-12)
(South China Morning Post, By Laura Zhou) The North Korean nuclear crisis is at a crossroads and Washington and Pyongyang should hold direct talks as soon as possible. That was the message Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered when he met Chung Eui-yong, top security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday, Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily reported. Xi also urged the main players to be patient and cautious in dealing with the challenges and distractions of any negotiations ahead.

Other Regional Issues

U.S. Allies Sign Sweeping Trade Deal in Challenge to Trump
(New York Times, By Ernesto Londoño and Motoko Rich) Eleven countries signed a slimmed-down version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as they try to counter Washington’s new protectionism.

Asia Pacific History Trumps Indo-Pacific Fantasy (2018-03-13)
(East Asia Forum, By Alan Chong and Shang-su Wu) The idea of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ represents the turn not taken in Asia after the end of World War II. Although some commentators have suggested that then US secretary of state Hilary Clinton employed the phrase Indo-Pacific in 2010 and 2011 to emphasise India’s importance to US interests, it was really US President Donald Trump’s trip to Asia in November 2017 that raised the term to prominence.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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