::: TSR Weekly Report
2018-12-29 | NO.42(30) epaper |
Cross-Strait Relations
 Coherent Strategy Needed to Counter China: Report (2018-12-24)
(Taipei Times, By Aaron Tu and Jonathan Chin)
The Institute for National Defense and Security Research released the Annual Assessment of the Security Environment in the Indo-Pacific Region on December 13. The report outlined China’s interference in Taiwan’s local elections and other offensive diplomatic actions in the past year, aimed at promoting its “one China’ principle. The institute asserted that Taiwan needed a strategic policy to counter China’s “united front” or else Taiwan’s sovereignty may be threatened. <Accessed 2018-12-25>

President Calls for Innovation in the Armed Services to Safeguard Taiwan (2018-12-26)
(Taipei Times, With CNA)
President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday at a military promotion ceremony that Taiwan needs to build up its defensive military capabilities in order to combat both military and diplomatic threats from China. The national defense spending is at a peak right now, and President Tsai stated that the military needed to continue developing its indigenous weapons systems and improving the quality of the troops. <Accessed 2018-12-27>

Taiwan Asked China 5 Times for ASF Outbreak Updates: Official (2018-12-26)
(CNA, By Yang Shu-min and Christie Chen)
Li Tui-chih, deputy head of the Council of Agriculture, said Wednesday that amidst the outbreak of African swine fever in China, the council has formally asked China for updates on the outbreak five times. However, China has yet to respond to the requests. Li urged China to respond and said that there need not be animosity in the Taiwan Strait over this issue. <Accessed 2018-12-27>

As China Tests Military Muscle, PLA Warns Taiwan Efforts to Resist Reunification with Force Are Dead End (2018-12-28)
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) The People’s Liberation Army said that Taiwan would run into a “dead end” if it resisted the mainland’s reunification efforts with force, and that Beijing would continue its “encirclement patrols” in waters and airspace around the island. <Accessed 2019-01-03>
Taiwan’s Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
 Ma Urged to be Silent on Ongoing Cases (2018-12-24)
(Taipei Times, By Huang Chieh and William Hetherington) Former president Ma Ying-jeou has been asked by the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office to refrain from publicly discussing on ongoing cases and investigations. The former president is charged with breaching the Securities and Exchange Act for the sales of several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) assets in 2005 and 2006. In Ma's recently released book, Ma stated that his indictment was politically motivated. <Accessed 2018-12-24>

Approval for Tsai and Lai Hits New Low (2018-12-25)
Taipei Times, By Ann Maxon) A recent poll conducted by A Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation reported that the approval ratings for President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier William Lai have dropped. The foundation's chairman You Ying-lung remarked that the low ratings for both leaders demonstrated that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has completely recovered from its 2016 elections defeat. You further stated that president Tsai's biggest mistake was being "blind" to public opinion.<Accessed 2018-12-26>

Taiwan Ready to Help Indonesia with Tsunami Relief (2018-12-25)
(CNA, By Yu Kai-shiang and Shih Hsiu-chuan) The Taiwanese government announced that it is prepared to provide assistance to Indonesia in whatever way possible in light of the tsunami which hit Indonesia's Sunda Strait on Saturday. Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Chen Chung-chi stated that the Ministry would send a C-130 transport plane to assist with disaster relief work. <Accessed 2018-12-24>

Wu Den-yih Presidential Rumors Re-Emerge (2018-12-25)
(Taipei Times, By Chang Tsung-chiu) Despite rumors re-emerged about Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih as a likely candidate for KMT's presidential candidate in 2020, Wu responded by stating that the party would work to choose the most suitable candidate to win the 2020 presidential bid. Wu further added that as KMT Chairman, his job is to guarantee a fair and open selection process. <Accessed 2018-12-24>

Taiwanese Democracy Powers On (2018-12-25)
(East Asia Forum, By Sheryn Lee) But the continued strength of Taiwanese civil society and its participation in elections reflects Taiwan’s consolidated democracy — a trend that is accelerating China’s diplomatic pressure on Taipei. Meanwhile, US–Taiwan relations are advancing and Taipei is strengthening its regional ties. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

Taiwan Donates US$500,000 to Indonesia Following Deadly Tsunami (2018-12-26)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Tuesday that the government will make a US$500,000 donation to help the tsunami victims in Indonesia. According to MOFA, the decision to make the relief funds was due to close friendship between both nations and humanitarian need. <Accessed 2018-12-26>

Investments Pledged for Taiwan Up 25% in 2018: MOEA  (2018-12-26)
(CNA, By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang)
The Deputy Economic Affairs Minister King Ming-hsin said Wednesday that data compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed that investments pledged for Taiwan in 2018 grew about 25 percent from the previous year. He said that this growth suggests that the government’s efforts to encourage investment paid off and he expects the growth to continue in 2019. <Accessed 2018-12-27>

Taiwan, eSwatini ECA to Take Effect Thursday (2018-12-26)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Tuesday that the Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) between Taiwan and the Kingdom of eSwatini will officially take effect this Thursday. According to Liu Bang-zyh, head of MOFA's Department of West Asian and African Affairs, the ECA would strengthen trade and investment cooperations between both nations and improve exchanges and two-way visits. <Accessed 2018-12-26>

Ko's Planned US Visit Sparks Presidential Bid Rumors (2018-12-26)
(Taipei Times By Lu Yi-hsuan and Sherry Hsiao) Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je's planned US visit has sparked rumors that Ko will be running for president in the 2020 presidential election. According to sources familiar with the issue, US officials have arranged a visit for Ko in March to get to know Taiwanese politicians better. According to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu, Ko's planned US visit mirrors other Taiwanese politicians, in which people would interpret their overseas visit as a bid for the 2020 presidential election, particularly in light of the DPP's poor performance in the recent elections. <Accessed 2018-12-26>

BERI Ranks Taiwan as World's 4th-Best Investment Destination (2018-12-26)
(CNA, By Liao Yu-yang and Evelyn Kao) According to the latest U.S. Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI), Taiwan is ranked the world's 4th best investment destination. BERI uses three main indicators to evaluate a nation's investment risk based on its operation risk, political risk and foreign exchange risk. BERI rated Taiwan's general investment condition as 1B, whereby investors can consider Taiwan's equity market as a long term investment. <Accessed 2018-12-26>

Eric Chu Announces Bid for 2020 Presidential Election (2018-12-26)
(CNA, By Sunrise Huang and Frances Huang) The former mayor of New Taipei, Eric Chu, announced on Tuesday that he will be running for the 2020 presidential election. Chu remarked that he has a clear goal and will strive to work for the Taiwanese people. Chu further added that since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has not confirmed its presidential candidate, he will travel around the nation to hear the people's voices and identity the problems plaguing Taiwan. <Accessed 2018-12-26>

Taiwan Presidency in KMT Eric Chu’s Sights but It’s a Long Way to 2020 (2018-12-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Lawrence Chung) Taiwan’s Kuomintang bigwig Eric Chu has announced his intention to run for president in 2020, but analysts believe there are at least five major hurdles in his way. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

Taiwan’s Year of Reversal (2018-12-27)
(East Asia Forum, By Roy C Lee) The unemployment rate was 3.75 per cent in September, which was the lowest rate in 18 years, month-to-month. The export growth rate has also remained positive for 25 consecutive months. Yet many are concerned that this trend will soon be reversed. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

Taiwan, Japan Sign Two MOUs at Annual Maritime Affairs Dialogue (2018-12-28)
(CNA, By Yang Ming-chu and Joseph Yeh) During the annual Taiwan-Japan dialogue on maritime affairs in Tokyo, Taiwan and Japan signed two memorandum of understanding (MOUs) to increase cooperation in managing smuggling and illegal immigration and marine scientific research. Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Chairman Mitsou Ohashi remarked that the MOUs demonstrate that both nations can achieve a lot when they cooperate. <Accessed 2018-12-28>

KMT Blames Tsai Policy for Illegal Immigrants (2018-12-28)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) blamed the government's New Southbound Policy for the increased in illegal immigration in Taiwan, after 152 Vietnamese tourists went missing in Kaohsiung over the weekend. KMT caucus whip Johnny Chiang remarked that although tourists from Southeast Asian countries are very much welcomed in Taiwan, loosely granting visas to people would create border problems. KMT caucus deputy secretary-general John Wu proposed for president Tsai Ing-wen's administration to pay for the expenses for the deportation of the missing Vietnamese tourists. <Accessed 2018-12-28>
US-Taiwan Relations
 U.S. Government Shutdown Will Not Affect AIT Services (2018-12-28)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced on Thursday that the shutdown of the U.S. government will not affect AIT services in Taiwan. Acting AIT spokesperson Eric Aldrich stated that AIT will continue its operations as usual. The U.S. government shutdown after Congress and the White House could not reach a consensus. <Accessed 2018-12-28>

Mattis Out: The View from Taiwan (2018-12-24)
(The Diplomat, By Kent Wang) After Mattis's unexpected resignation and then his even further unexpected early dismissal from the U.S. Department of Defense, Taiwan has been left shocked and afraid of increasing unreliability from the United States President. The relationship between the United States and China, already tense due to increasingly complex trade disputes, may escalate into a violent conflict due to the United States's support of Taiwan if dealt with without care. While Taiwanese observers saw Mattis as a careful balancer, a post-Mattis future leaves much unanswered. <Accessed 2018-12-29>
US-China Relations
China and US Intellectual Property and Technology (2018-12-24)
(IPP Review, By John F. Copper) Since more specifics were cited about the trade deficit and actions were taken forthwith, the IP and technology issue seems be the big obstacle to overcome. Thus, the US imputations on this matter provoke questions that need answers. <Accessed 2018-12-31>

US-China Tensions Enter a New Phase
(The Diplomat, By Roncevert Ganan Almond) Following the meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, the two sides agreed to a 90-day ceasefire in the trade dispute between the United States and China. The pause in tariffs reflects new trends in the global economy that may call for such a cessation for the time being, as well as the legal mechanisms pushing U.S. policy. However, given the unpredictability of the U.S. President's foreign policy, such a pause may not last long and does not signal anything concrete about future decisions. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

With Mattis Gone, What Ahead for US-China Military Ties in 2019? (2018-12-24)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) Following James Mattis's resignation from the position of U.S. Secretary of Defense, Asian allies are unsure what to think of the future of U.S. defense policy, especially given the unpredictability of the Trump administration in contrast to Mattis's relative stability. Mattis's departure may adversely affect the U.S.-China military relationship, already a tense one due to increasing trade disputes between the two countries. The future remains uncertain, especially if Trump appoints a defense secretary more in line with his own policies. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

China Releases Details of New Law on Foreign Investment Ahead of Trade Talks with US (2018-12-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu and Keegan Elmer) Beijing has vowed to ensure equal treatment and intellectual property protection for overseas firms operating in China, according to the full text of its draft foreign investment law – its latest move to address long-standing complaints. The draft law includes a widely anticipated ban on mandatory technology transfers from foreign companies and encourages tech cooperation based on voluntary principles and commercial rules in a bid to tackle a key issue in the ongoing trade war with the United States. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

US Withdrawal from Syria Leaves China’s Plans for Investment Up in the Air, Analysts Say (2018-12-29)
(South China Morning Post, By Liu Zhen) US President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw US forces from Syria will leave China’s intended investment into the country’s reconstruction in uncertainty, analysts said, adding that the move might also suggest a stronger strategic focus by Washington on the Indo-Pacific region to put pressure on Beijing. <Accessed 2019-01-03>
China’s Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
It Doesn’t Matter if Ecuador Can Afford This Dam. China Still Gets Paid. (2018-12-24)
(New York Times, By Nicholas Casey and Clifford Krauss) This giant dam in the jungle, financed and built by China, was supposed to christen Ecuador’s vast ambitions, solve its energy needs and help lift the small South American country out of poverty. Instead, it has become part of a national scandal engulfing the country in corruption, perilous amounts of debt — and a future tethered to China. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

China’s Christmas Crackdown
(The Diplomat, By Erika Kinetz) While Christmas still brings about a focus on shopping throughout China, the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to make Christmas focus more on traditional culture and suppressing religion by cracking down on Christmas celebrations. This may be an effort to "Sinicize" foreign religions, something China views as necessary to make foreign cultures compatible with Chinese peoples. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

As China Cracks Down on Churches, Christians Declare ‘We Will Not Forfeit Our Faith’ (2018-12-25)
(New York Times, By Javier C. Hernández) As millions around the world gathered to celebrate Christmas, China is capping a year in which the government of President Xi Jinping has led an unrelenting campaign against unofficial churches in China, which by some estimates serve as many as 30 million people. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

Northern Thai ex-ROC Soldiers Targeted by Beijing Push to Boost China's Impact
(Taipei Times, By Lo Tien-pin and Johnathan Chin) Taiwan's Control Yuan urged Taiwan's government to respond promptly to China's campaigns over the past few years to cultivate a pro-China sentiments among Northern Thai Chinese, who are descendants of the Nationalist soldiers loyal to the Republic of China (ROC) government. The Control Yuan further stated that two-thirds of regional Thai Chinese schools have been visited by Chinese officials and China provides financial assistance, materials and staff to establish strong ties with the overseas communities and schools of Chiang Mai. <Accessed 2018-12-26>

Chinese Official Tied to Billionaire Fugitive Is Sentenced to Life in Prison (2018-12-27)
(New York Times, By Javier C. Hernández) A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced a former top security official to life in prison, the latest high-profile figure to fall in President Xi Jinping’s anticorruption campaign. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

Grinch China: Three Decades of China’s Problem with Christianity (2018-12-27)
(The Diplomat, By Bonnie Girard) While Christianity has always faced heavy restrictions in China, the last three decades have shown some slight signs of improvement for Christians practicing their religion in China. However, the Chinese Communist Party has also done an impressive job of reducing the emphasis placed on Jesus of Nazareth as the reason for celebrating Christmas, instead focusing on the traditions behind Santa Claus and holiday music. Christianity, however, has also historically thrived in the face of suppression. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

Taiwan’s African Swine Fever Response Stirs Cross-Strait Tensions (2018-12-27)
(The Diplomat, By Nick Aspinwall) As the risk of African swine fever extending into Taiwan increases as Taiwanese importers bring in Chinese pork, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has criticized China for not sharing enough information with the relevant bureaus in Taiwan. China, on the other hand, is criticizing Taiwan for their poor responses to the spread of the disease. While the disease has not spread to Taiwanese pigs, the virus has been found in imported Chinese pork. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

As China’s Type 001A Carrier Sets Out on Fourth Sea Trial, Analysts Say Call to Service Must Be Near (2018-12-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) China’s first home built aircraft carrier set out on its fourth sea trial on Thursday, Chinese media reported. The test began after more than six weeks of maintenance on the Type 001A – a 315 metre (1,033 feet) long, 50,000-tonne vessel – at its home port of Dalian in Liaoning province. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

China’s Aircraft Carrier Troubles Continue with More Researchers Charged with Corruption (2018-12-28)
(South China Morning Post, By William Zheng) A senior researcher handling China’s most sensitive technology – related to development of the country’s first home-grown aircraft carriers – is facing prosecution on corruption-related charges after a four-month investigation. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

China Launches Appeal Court for Intellectual Property Right Disputes (2018-12-29)
(South China Morning Post, By Laura Zhou) China’s first ever appeal court for intellectual property disputes – a major bone of contention in the ongoing trade war with the US – will open for business in Beijing on Tuesday, the nation’s top court said on Saturday. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

China’s Strategic Support Force At 3 (2018-12-29)
(The Diplomat, By Elsa B. Kania) As the People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) approaches its third birthday, observers can draw several conclusions and judgments about its effectiveness and approach to strategic deterrence and support for the PLA. However, numerous questions remain unanswered for future observers. The PLASSF's future plays an important role in the PLA's development towards "world-class military" standards. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

Xi: Upholding Socialism in the New Era is a ‘Great Social Revolution’ (2018-12-29)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) At the "democratic life meeting" of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee in Beijing on December 25-26, President Xi Jinping said that upholding socialism is a "great social revolution," although he did not elaborate what such a term means. The word "struggle" also appeared several times in his speech, although he did not clarify his specific meanings behind using the word. Such a "democratic life meeting," revived under Xi's presidency, is meant for Party members to work towards ideological unity by self-critiquing their own problems. <Accessed 2018-12-29>

China to Retry Canadian on Drug Charge Amid Diplomatic Spat (2018-12-29)
(New York Times, By Chris Buckley and Dan Bilefsky) A Chinese court on Saturday ordered the retrial of a Canadian man on a drug-smuggling charge after siding with prosecutors who argued that his original 15-year prison sentence for his conviction had been too light. The decision threatened to create another source of contention between two countries whose relations have deteriorated rapidly this month after a string of arrests. <Accessed 2019-01-03>
Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

South China Sea Code of Conduct Talks May Not All Be Plain Sailing Next Year (2018-12-29)
(South China Morning Post, By Collin Koh) To be sure, Asean and China will proceed with the negotiations on the code of conduct in early 2019, a process Beijing had earlier proposed would take up to three years. Much may happen throughout the course of the negotiations, and in the absence of a provisional agreement restraining each negotiating party from doing things that may stymie the talks, it is prudent not to expect drastic changes. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

Other Regional Issues

Chinese Reconnaissance Plane Flies over South Korea, Japan as Geopolitical Tensions Grow
(South China Morning Post, By Laura Zhou) Japan and South Korea scrambled fighter jets to track a Chinese military aircraft that flew close to their airspace on Thursday in what appeared to be the latest move by Beijing to increase its surveillance of the two US allies. <Accessed 2019-01-03>

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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