::: TSR Weekly Report
2019-04-27 | NO.43(17) 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@alumni.princeton.edu).
Cross-Strait Relations
Beijing’s Incentives ‘Not Winning Young Taiwanese’ over to Its One-China Cause (2019-04-22)
(South China Morning Post, By Lawrence Chung) Beijing sees the island as a wayward province and has offered a host of benefits to “Taiwan compatriots” to win them over to embrace the mainland. But analysts say that Beijing’s sweeteners are unlikely to encourage young people from the democratic island to support cross-strait unification – at least in the near future. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

Taiwan Facing Unprecedented Challenges from China: Official
(CNA, By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao) According to Taiwan's Minister without Portfolio, Audrey Tang, Taiwan's democracy is facing unprecedented challenges from China. Tang remarked that China's increasing pressure and military threats demonstrate that China is seeking to disrupt the established peaceful status quo across the Taiwan Strait. Tang further added that the government is taking measures to deal with the dissemination of fake news in Taiwan. <Accessed 2019-04-22>

Annexation Advocate unwelcome: MAC (2019-04-22)
(Taipei Times/CNA) Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng stated that Chinese dissident Wang Xizhe is not welcome in Taiwan due to his advocacy for a China-Taiwan unification by force. President Tsai Ing-wen has given instruction to bar Chinese nationals advocating for using military force against Taiwan from entering Taiwan. <Accessed 2019-04-22>

33 Taiwanese Falun Gong Members Denied Entry to Hong Kong (2019-04-27)
(CNA, By Miu Tsung-han and Frances Huang) 33 Taiwanese, alleged members of the Falun Gong religious organization, were declined entry into Hong Kong. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) stated that the 33 Taiwanese had planned to join a rally against the amendments to Hong Kong's extradition law, which would permit extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China and other countries. <Accessed 2019-04-28>
U.S.-Taiwan Relations
USDA Trade Mission in Taiwan to Boost Relations (2019-04-24)
(Taipei Times/CNA) The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced that the US Department of Agriculture is in Taiwan for to strengthen ties and look for prospective business opportunities in the agricultural sector. According to AIT, the delegation led by Ken Isley, the department's foreign agricultural service administrator, will be conducting on-site visits to learn more about the Taiwanese market and having business meetings and briefings. <Accessed 2019-04-24>

Former White House Advisor Supports F-16V Sale to Taiwan (2019-04-24)
(CNA, By Chiang Chin-yeh and Chung Yu-chen) Dennis Wilder, former National Security Council's senior director for East Asia affairs, stated that the US should sell F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan. According to Wilder, US has a commitment to help Taiwan in defending itself under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) if China continues to build up its military aggressively. <Accessed 2019-04-24>

Former US Health Official Tom Price to Arrive on Sunday (2019-04-26)
(Taipei Times/CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that former US secretary of health and human services Tom Price is in Taiwan to speak at a workshop on tuberculosis organized by Taiwan and the US. MOFA further stated that Price's visit demonstrates the US' support for Taiwan's participation n the World Health Assembly (WHA). <Accessed 2019-04-26>

Trump’s “Taiwan Card”: How Real? (2019-04-26)
(IPP Review, By John F. Copper) Clearly there is a gap between President Trump’s Taiwan policy and what the media has reported it to be. <Accessed 2019-04-29>
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Taiwan as an Indo-Pacific Contributor (2019-04-17)
(The Diplomat, By Prashanth Parameswaran) One of the biggest discussions in Taiwanese politics today is the role Taiwan plays in the Indo-Pacific and the contributions it makes to the region. Much of the framing has been on Taiwan's current initiatives as well as its future plans to act as a key regional partner in greater multinational agreements. However, Taiwan faces many obstacles to acting as a full member of the Indo-Pacific community. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

Anatomy of a Taiwan Invasion Part 2: Missile and Naval Domains (2019-04-19)
(The Diplomat, By Rick Joe) There is limited availability of information regarding the details of the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), but if used against Taiwan in an invasion, the PLARF would provide capabilities for precision strikes against Republic of China missiles. They would be used to strike sensitive locations as well as destroy ROC missiles in a fast and decisive manner. The PLA Navy will also quickly establish a sea presence to gain control over the Taiwan Strait in such a scenario. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

Ministry Positive about US-Japan Security Meeting
(Taipei Times/CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it would closely monitor the regional situation after the US and Japan reaffirmed the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Co-operation and Security to oppose any unilateral action toward changing the East China Sea status quo. MOFA further remarked that Taiwan would continue to work with like-minded nations to safeguard the peace, stability and prosperity in the region. <Accessed 2019-04-22>

President, Hon Hai Chairman Trade Barbs on Democracy, Economy
(CNA, By Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao) Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen and Taiwanese business tycoon Terry Guo debated on issues of democracy and economy. Tsai stated that Guo does not understand democratic values and that a responsible leader must enable the people to build better lives under a free and democratic system. Guo, on the other hand, remarked that Tsai's DPP's type of democracy is a populist democracy as more and more people are facing economic hardship. <Accessed 2019-04-22>

Tsai Asked Ko for Support: Report (2019-04-22)
(Taipei Times, By Tsai Ya-hua and Lee I-chia) An anonymous source stated that president Tsai Ing-wen requested Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ming-wen to ask Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je to support Tsai for her re-election bid. The source further added that Tsai asked Chen to convince Ko to run as her running mate in the 2020 presidential election. <Accessed 2019-04-22>

'One Person, One Letter' WHA Campaign Launched (2019-04-22)
(CNA, By Chang Ming-hsuan and Emerson Lim) A private group in Taiwan, LaiPhauTe, recently launched a "one person, one letter" campaign to get Taiwanese to send letters to the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters to push for Taiwan's participation in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) conference. The international communities have also voiced their support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA meeting. <Accessed 2019-04-22>

British Group 'Concerned' Over Cross-Strait Tension (2019-04-22)
(Taipei Times/CNA, LONDON) The British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group expressed its concern over two Chinese J-11 fighter jets that flew across the median line of the Taiwan Strait last month. The group remarked that this incident demonstrates that the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is at stake. <Accessed 2019-04-22>

Assessing Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (2019-04-23)
(The Diplomat, By Prashanth Parameswaran) Taiwan's New Southbound Policy demonstrates the Tsai administration's commitment to seek new ties to Asian countries and offer alternatives to relying on the Chinese economy, a step previous administrations had often talked about but never put forward. Taiwan's reputation and economy have both grown as a result of the Policy, and its cooperation with foreign countries has increased significantly. However, the future of the Policy is uncertain as Tsai faces what may be a tough election ahead. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Group Urges Better Cross-Strait Oversight (2019-04-24)
(Taipei Times, By Ann Maxon) The Taiwan Citizen Front called on the Legislative Yuan to include mechanisms that would allow the Council of Grand Justices to nullify illegal cross-strait agreements. The group founder Lai Chung-chiang remarked that the agreement should ensure that the nation does not lose its sovereignty and democracy. <Accessed 2019-04-24>

KMT Members Propose Ways of Including Han in Presidential Primary (2019-04-24)
(CNA, By Yu Hsiang, Chung Jung-feng, and Elizabeth Hsu) Several members of the Kuomintang (KMT) came up with several proposals to include Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu in the party's presidential primary as Han is seen as the candidate who has the best chance of winning next year's presidential election. Meanwhile, Han announced that he did not wish to enter the KMT presidential primary but was willing to take on the responsibility of Taiwan's future development. <Accessed 2019-04-24>

Han Hints at Interest in Presidential Run, But Not Through a Primary (2019-04-24)
(CNA, By Yang Sz-ruei and Frances Huang) Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu has dropped hints on his intention to run for Taiwan's 2020 presidential election but not in the Kuomintang (KMT) presidential primary. Meanwhile, political observers viewed Han's unwillingness to run in the primary as reluctance to take any action that would be seen as abandoning Kaohsiung so soon after having been elected mayor in December 2018. <Accessed 2019-04-24>

Academics, Civic Groups Call for Tsai-Lai Presidential Ticket (2019-04-26)
(CNA, By Flor Wang and Wen Kui-hsiang) Pro-Taiwan independence academics and civic groups have urged President Tsai Ing-wen and former premier William Lai to work together and run on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket in the 2020 presidential election. According to the academics and civic groups, the party's top priority is to win next year's presidential election to guarantee survival of the "local regime". <Accessed 2019-04-26>

Taiwan Happy to See Sogavare Victory in Solomon Islands PM Election (2019-04-26)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that Taiwan is happy to learn that Solomon Islands politician Manasseh Sogavare has won the prime minister election. According to MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee, the Taiwanese government is positive about the future relations between both nations and looks forward to working with the new administration to further strengthen the ties between both countries. <Accessed 2019-04-26>

Kaohsiung Mayor to Meet with KMT Chairman on Presidential Primary  (2019-04-26)
(CNA, By Yu Hsiang, Chen Chi-fong, and Ko Lin)
Following its decision that all of its presidential hopefuls would be included in its primary, the KMT announced that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu and KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih will meet next week to discuss issues related to the primary. On Tuesday, Han declared he wouldn’t participate in the primary. However, the KMT put him on the primary ballot anyways on Wednesday. <Accessed 2019-04-26>

Lai Urges DPP to Begin Primary Talks  (2019-04-26)
(Taipei Times, By Ann Maxon)
Former Premier William Lai on Thursday criticized President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to hold a DPP presidential primary, saying that it was the wrong approach and anti-democratic. He also called for an anti-annexation or anti-infiltration law against China. He said that Taiwan should work more with the U.S. and other countries to ensure stability and peace. <Accessed 2019-04-26>

Choosing VP Candidate Bad Optics: Lai (2019-04-27)
(Taipei Times, By Su Fun-her and Jake Chung) Former premier William Lai remarked that having a primary is part of a democratic process and if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cancels the primary, it would not garner the public's support. Lai further added that he does not support the "one China" principle" and China's "one country, two systems" political formula. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Tsai Again Urges Unity for 'Best Outcome' (2019-04-27)
(Taipei Times, By Lee Hsin-fang and Johnathan Chin) President Tsai Ing-wen has again called for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to work together to ensure that Taiwan's democracy is protected. Tsai also remarked that she believes most of the party supporters care more about keeping the unity in the party. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Han to Meet With Wu to Discuss Candidacy (2019-04-27)
(Taipei Times/CNA) The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) released a statement announcing that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu and KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih will meet on Tuesday to discuss the presidential primary. Han continues to be KMT's most popular politician and most opinion polls show that Han is performing better than candidates from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Taiwan has No Plans to Evacuate its Citizens in Solomon Islands: MOFA (2019-04-27)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou, Shih Hsiu-chuan and Ko Lin) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Saturday that while Taiwan is paying close attention to the protests taking place in the capital of Solomon Islands amid the nation's general elections, it has no plans to evacuate Taiwanese there. According to MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee, Taiwanese expatriates and members of the diplomatic staff and their families are all safe. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Han Kuo-Yu: Taiwan’s Populist President? (2019-04-27)
(The Diplomat, By Jeffery C. J. Chen) Polls suggest that around 50 percent of those polled view Han Kuo-yu, mayor of Kaohsiung, to be the best choice for President as a populist candidate. He has not formally announced his intention to run for President, but his actions suggest he is preparing for a campaign. However, he currently has not taken very strong policy positions and his appearances have been relatively substance-free. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

U.S.-China Relations
 Major US Army Exercise to Focus on South China Sea (2019-04-16)
(The Diplomat, By Steven Stashwick) The U.S. Army plans to hold exercises focusing on China-based scenarios in the South China Sea and possibly the East China Sea during its Pacific area exercises in 2020. However, most of the scenarios deal with a conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. Army is also investing in long-range missiles capable of hitting islands in the region. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

Israel Balancing US-China Relations: Geostrategic Context (2019-04-16)
(The Diplomat, By Mercy A. Kuo) Dr. Shira Efron, Policy Researcher and Senior Advisor on Israel at RAND Corporation, offers her thoughts on China-Israel relations and how their growing cooperation could affect the United States. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

China and Russia Pose Different Problems for the US. They Need Different Solutions. (2019-04-18)
(The Diplomat, By James Dobbins, Howard J. Shatz, and Ali Wyne) U.S. analysts are growing increasingly more concerned about the fact that China and Russia are more closely aligned today than they have been since the Sino-Soviet split in the middle of the Cold War. However, due to their relationship being based on shared grievances rather than values and the differences in economies, among others, China and Russia pose different threats to the United States. The United States therefore must take different approaches to dealing with each power. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

On Looming US-China Trade Deal, Actions Speak Louder Than Words (2019-04-18)
(The Diplomat, By Tuan N. Pham) The United States would do well to remember that China will not keep its promises and concessions made during any trade negotiations unless they are consistently encouraged to do so. Proposals should not be taken at face value; there must be actions that show demonstrated intent to follow through. The United States must trust China to keep agreement but must also verify that they are doing so through their activities. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

The US Is Pushing Back Against China. What Happens If We Succeed? (2019-04-19)
(The Diplomat, By Chi Wang) Initially, many observers believed that China's economic and political model would not be sustainable, but their predictions of China's collapse have not come true. However, China's future remains uncertain as it deals with several domestic and regional policy challenges that the Communist Party must tackle. The United States must understand that China's collapse, if it were to happen, would have far-reaching effects on global policy. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

PacNet #26 – Washington's "Whole-of-government" Pushback Against Chinese Challenges—Implications and Outlook (2019-04-23)
(Pacific Forum, By Robert Sutter) Close collaboration between the administration and both Democrats and Republicans in the Congress broke the mold of past practice where the Congress usually served as a brake and obstacle impeding administration initiatives in dealing with China. Despite acute partisanship in Washington, opposing China now represented one of the few areas where both sides of the congressional aisle and the Trump administration agree. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

When China and the US Wage a Visa War against Each Other’s Scholars, Nobody Wins (2019-04-23)
(South China Morning Post, By David Shambaugh) The “visa war” between the US and China is not at all helpful. At this time of significant stress in US-China relations, it is precisely the time when we need to have as much dialogue among academic experts as possible. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

California Signs Up for China’s Belt and Road Forum to Help in Fight against Climate Change (2019-04-25)
(South China Morning Post, By Kimmy Chung) Although the US federal government has snubbed the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, representatives from America’s most populous state are attending to drum up support for international efforts to tackle climate change. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

Who Owns Huawei? The Company Tried to Explain. It Got Complicated. (2019-04-25)
(New York Times, By Raymond Zhong) But these assurances have never quite dispelled American officials’ suspicions that Beijing and the Communist Party are somehow pulling the strings. Top American officials have also been alarmed by new Chinese laws that require companies to assist in national intelligence work. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

Although Unhappy With US Sanctions on Iran, China Won’t Fall Out With Washington (2019-04-25)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) Given China's high imports of Iranian oil, they are disappointed by the United States's decision to stop sanction waivers on Iran's oil. However, despite their disagreements there, China is being careful to avoid giving off the impression that they wish to back away from trade negotiations with the United States. China has, however, suggested that they still may continue to do business with Iran. <Accessed 2019-04-28>
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
 The Belt and Road: The Good, the Bad, and the Mixed (2019-04-15)
(The Diplomat, By Angela Tritto and Alvin Camba) The Belt and Road Initiative presents itself as a set of options for partnered countries and cannot be taken at face value given the polarizing stories that have arisen as a result of several countries' involvements. Host country governments have some ability to negotiate with China on the financing of infrastructure development projects and can potentially come off much better than before. While debt traps are not necessarily a problem posed by BRI, the international community should worry about the development model China is offering. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

China Conducts Military Drills Involving Long-Range Bombers Near Taiwan, Japan (2019-04-16)
(The Diplomat, By Franz-Stefan Gady) The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) conducted a drill involving the Xian H-6K bombers, a Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AWAC) aircraft, a Shaanxi Y-9JB (GX-8) electronic warfare and surveillance plane, and Su-30 and J-11 fighter jets near Taiwan and Japan. Japan claimed that the aircraft did not violate Japanese airspace, but Taiwan claimed China was attempting to challenge the cross-strait status quo. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

Is Europe Finally Rising to the China Challenge? (2019-04-16)
(The Diplomat, By Bart Broer) During the EU-China Summit last week, China acknowledged some of Europe's concerns over its industrial policy. China made some last-minute concessions to put out a proper joint statement, something that could be considered a victory for European critics. Europe stands united in the face of an increasingly prominent China, and it is this sense of unity that allows Europe to challenge China's growing presence around the world, Accessed 2019-04-21>

Australia’s Huawei Ban Raises Difficult Questions for the WTO (2019-04-22)
(East Asia Forum, By Tania Voon and Andrew Mitchell) Ultimately, China is unlikely to bring a WTO dispute against Australia, because Beijing itself frequently invokes concepts such as public morals and national security to justify various restrictions and censorship, including in telecommunications and technology. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

The Role of State-Owned Infrastructure Companies in the Development of China’s Latin America Policy (2019-04-24)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Johan van de Ven) In this context, the most likely explanation is that of an enduring truth: that Chinese SOEs (and Chinese companies in general) maintain an ongoing quid pro quo with the government, often finding overlap between commercial and political agendas. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

Italy Joins the Belt and Road Initiative: Context, Interests, and Drivers (2019-04-24)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Dario Cristiani) As such, the Italian approach on China will represent a critical strategic trend to observe in the coming months, as many believe that this economic cooperation will inevitably turn into a greater geopolitical understanding between the two countries—thus reinforcing Beijing’s influence in Europe and the Mediterranean region. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

Made in China, Exported to the World: The Surveillance State (2019-04-24)
(New York Times, By Paul Mozur, Jonah M. Kessel and Melissa Chan) Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has vastly expanded domestic surveillance, fueling a new generation of companies that make sophisticated technology at ever lower prices. A global infrastructure initiative is spreading that technology even further. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

The Missing Voices at China’s Belt and Road Summit (2019-04-25)
(The Diplomat, By Joshua Rosenzweig) The Second Belt and Road Forum is taking off in Beijing, and China is painting itself as a major player in infrastructure development around the world. However, despite many world leaders showing up, the voices most noticeably missing are the voices of the people in each country who will be most directly affected by Chinese projects. Part of introducing these projects in developing communities should be giving those communities a voice in how the development takes place. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Building a Better Belt and Road (2019-04-25)
(East Asia Forum, By Prabir De) China needs to demonstrate that the BRI is a mutually collaborative project, rather than one typically owned by China. Only this way can China erode the trust deficit. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

China Retools Vast Global Building Push Criticized as Bloated and Predatory (2019-04-25)
(New York Times, By Jane Perlez) Broadly facing criticism about overpriced and superfluous projects, China is reshaping and retooling its grand infrastructure plan, known as the Belt and Road Initiative. But Beijing isn’t retreating from its vision to build a network of ports, rails and roads that puts China at the center of global trade and enhances its geopolitical ambitions. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

China Urges Closer Naval Ties Amid Regional Tensions (2019-04-25)
(The Diplomat, By Associated Press) On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the world's navies to cooperate and work more closely together in light of China's greater push for recognition over its territorial claims in the South China Sea. He emphasized China's commitment to building a strong security environment based on cooperation. This stands in sharp contrast to many of China's actions, particularly in the region, such as building military installations on man-made islands. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Hongbin Qu: China’s Tax Cuts Boost Technology Upgrading (2019-04-25)
(The Diplomat, By Maurits Elen) Hongbin Qu, the chief China economist at HSBC, offers his thoughts on the long-term effects of this year's tax cut in China. <Accessed 2019-04-25>

China’s Navy Flaunts Its Power, But to What End? (2019-04-25)
(The Diplomat, By Bonnie Girard) China's naval expansion brings questions about its sustainability and its intent. The Chinese leadership understands the risks and signals sent through peacetime naval expansion, so they may possibly be preparing to use the navy in a conflict. The other possible explanation is that China simply wants to display a strong sense of power. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

China Withdraws PLA Navy Anniversary Invitation to French Warship after Taiwan Strait Trip (2019-04-25)
(South China Morning Post, By Liu Zhen and Minnie Chan) China withdrew an invitation to a French warship to take part in Tuesday’s naval parade off the port city of Qingdao after the vessel entered the Taiwan Strait, a source said. Chinese defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said on Thursday that China lodged a protest with France after a warship illegally entered its waters while passing through the strait earlier this month. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

The Chinese Communist Party’s Latest Propaganda Target: Young Minds (2019-04-26)
(The Diplomat, By Sarah Cook) Children and students are a key target for Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda, as they are taught not just to obey the laws of the country but to love the Party. The system for convincing students to love the Party and fall in line depends largely on their instructors as well. Despite some successes for CCP in bringing onboard young minds, many of them are becoming thinkers in their own regard and disagree with the Party on ideological grounds, even within the Marxist field. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

China’s Belt and Road Debate (2019-04-26)
(The Diplomat, By Antara Ghosal Singh) The Belt and Road has much to celebrate during its second annual Forum in Beijing, particularly in how many countries have signed on as part of the Initiative. The hope is that the Forum will help give countries a better understanding of what the Initiative consists of. However, some aspects of the Belt and Road's popularity are alarming to observers, particularly those in the upper levels of leadership in the Western-led international order. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Cherish the Love: China and France Should Avoid Causing Unnecessary Upset, Beijing Says (2019-04-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Zhenhua Lu) France and China should value their strong relationship and not take actions that disrupt it, China’s foreign minister told his French counterpart on Thursday, just days after Beijing expressed its upset at Paris for sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait earlier this month. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

Making Sense of China’s Reaction to the French Navy’s Taiwan Strait Transit (2019-04-27)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) China's reaction to France transiting the Taiwan Strait seemed to suggest that China viewed the entirety of the Taiwan Strait as Chinese waters. The Taiwan Strait, according to international law, remains free for any country to use for transit. However, China's complaint may be related to France's willingness to support U.S. foreign policy goals and its own Indo-Pacific regional strategies. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

How Politically Influential Is China’s Military? (2019-04-27)
(The Diplomat, By Christopher K. Colley) An important question is whether China's military growth is tied to the emergence of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) as a major bureaucratic component of Communist Party operations. However, even as the budget for the military has substantially grown, there is still considerable doubt on the ability for the PLA to influence future policy. This could signal important changes for China's defense policy. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

Who Is (and Who Isn't) Attending China's 2nd Belt and Road Forum? (2019-04-27)
(The Diplomat, By Shannon Tiezzi) The final count for attendees from foreign heads of state or heads of government attending the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing is 36 leaders. China's immediate surroundings are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most well represented area in attendance. However, South Asia and the Middle East are more hesitant about the Belt and Road and did not bring as much of a presence to the conference. <Accessed 2019-04-28>

China’s Belt and Road Forum Ends with More Support and US$64 Billion in New Deals, but Is It Job Done for Beijing? (2019-04-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Laura Zhou) Despite growing criticism of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” from the United States and its allies, the message from Beijing on Saturday was clear: the multibillion-dollar trade and infrastructure development plan is alive and well and gaining support. As the second Belt and Road Forum drew to a close, the leaders of 37 countries joined Chinese President Xi Jinping in signing a joint communique promising to work together as the global project enters its next phase. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

EU’s Connectivity Plan ‘More Sustainable’ than Beijing’s Belt and Road, European Official Says (2019-04-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Keegan Elmer) Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said the European Union would be happy to increase its cooperation with Beijing as long as it could improve the transparency of its grand plan for boosting trade and infrastructure. <Accessed 2019-05-01>
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Will Xi Jinping Visit North Korea This Year? (2019-04-17)
(The Diplomat, By Rongjie Lin) Every Chinese Communist Party leader since Hua Guofeng has visited North Korea at some point, but Xi Jinping has yet to make the trip since he first took office in 2012. However, since the relative easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Leader Kim Jong-un has taken several steps to mend relations with China and has visited Beijing several times in the last two years. If Xi Jinping chooses to visit North Korea soon, it will be a sign that he is committed to improving China-DPRK relations. <Accessed 2019-04-21>

Kim Jong-un Arrives in Russia for Meeting With Putin
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-Hun) Mr. Kim is the first North Korean leader to travel to Russia since his father, Kim Jong-il, visited there in 2011, signaling that Mr. Kim is trying to foster ties with his country’s old Soviet allies while his diplomacy with President Trump remains deadlocked. <Accessed 2019-05-01>

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