Activists Back Joint Committee Review (2017-03-23) (Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerver) Following the announcement that new supervisory articles regarding cross-strait discussions would be negotiated in the Legislature, activist groups have praised the proposals, calling for quicker movement through the process. The bill would not only allow for internal questions to be addressed, but it would also allow legislators from all related committees to have their voices heard.
Review of Supervisory Articles Stalled (2017-03-23) (Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerver) The debates over supervisory articles to oversee cross-strait negotiations were stalled in the Legislative Yuan following disagreements on procedural matters. Political parties clashed on which committees should be included in the discussions. An incident of particular note is when the Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Lee, stated that the review was unnecessary because "cross-strait relations are not foreign relations."
Indonesia Signals Easing of Domestic Worker Travel Ban (2017-03-22) (Taipei Times/CNA) An Indonesian official stated that if working conditions in foreign countries were to improve, the Indonesian government would resume allowing Indonesian workers to travel abroad as domestic workers. A Ministry of Labor report shows that Indonesia comprised of the largest source of migrant workers to Taiwan last year.
Trump Trade Negotiator Wants Stronger Ties with Taiwan: Report (2017-03-22) (China Post, By the news staff) Robert Lighthizer, US President Donald Trump's nominee for trade representative, called for a new trade and investment policy that involved a stronger bilateral relationship with Taiwan in his written messages to the Senate Finance Committee. However, he maintained that the Trump administration would honor the "one China" policy the United States has historically subscribed to.
Legislature to Deliberate Draft Bills on Monitoring Cross-Strait Pacts (2017-03-22) (China Post/CNA) Government sources stated that the Legislature will have a committee meeting in order to discuss a bill that would lead to monitoring agreements between Taiwan and China. Several political parties have put forth their own versions of the bill, which will be debated in committee. The bill, however, makes a distinction of having two separate countries and acknowledging a separation of Taiwan and the People's Republic of China, which is sure to draw ire and criticism from Beijing.
"Pivot to the Pacific" is Over, Senior U.S. Diplomat Says (2017-03-14) (DefenseNews, By Aaron Mehta) A top State Department official stated that the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy, officially known as the "Pivot to the Pacific," is over. The official, however, went on to reiterate the Trump administration's commitment to the region. These comments come right before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's first visit to the region.
U.S. Stands By Its 'One China' Policy Ahead Of Trump-Xi Summit: Official (2017-03-21) (China Post News Staff) Following Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing last week, the US State Department spokesman Mark Toner reiterated that the U.S. does not intend to renegotiate the 'One China' policy. He said, "Our stance on Taiwan is, apart from encouraging good, increasingly strong cross-strait relations, that we stand by our 'One China' policy," in response to a reporter's question on whether Tillerson's use of phrasing in Beijing signaled a shift on issues such as Taiwan or Tibet.
Abe To Visit Russia Next Month For Putin Summit (2017-03-21) (Taipei Times/AP and Reuters) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Russia late next month for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the summit, Prime Minister Abe says he hopes to resolve a decades-old territorial dispute with Russia over a string of western Pacific islands, seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War II. Resolving these strains on Russo-Japanese relation is considered particularly germane given the political realities of a rising China. The feud has precluded a formal peace treaty between the two countries.
Taiwan-Japan Relations Are A Priority: President (2017-03-21) (Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) President Tsai Ing-wen yesterday said that her administration has listed Taiwan-Japan relations as a diplomatic priority and is determined to carry them to the next level, as the Executive Yuan approved a proposed name change for the agency handling bilateral ties.
319 SHOOTING: Lu Urges Probe into "319 Shooting," Points at Beijing (2017-03-20) (Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) Former Vice President Annette Lu suggested that Beijing may have had reason to plot the assassination attempt upon herself and former President Chen Shui-bian thirteen years ago and called upon the government to relaunch an investigation into the shooting. The shooting had taken place one day before the 2004 elections as the two were campaigning in Tainan. Numerous conspiracy theories surround the incident to this day.
Beijing Piling On Pressure Against Taiwan Independence: MAC (2017-03-20) (China Post/CNA, By the news staff) A Mainland Affairs Council report stated that Beijing had increased its anti-independence efforts against Taiwan and intensified its insistence upon the one-China policy since President Tsai Ing-wen took office. The report also states that cross-strait talks have frozen and relations are currently in a regressive state.
Ministry to Continue Visa-Free Policies for Southeast Asian Countries (2017-03-20) (China Post, By the news staff) Following a sharp increase in the number of Southeast Asian tourists visiting Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry is expected to continue a policy of offering visa-free entry to citizens of Thailand and Brunei, two countries that send a large number of tourists every year. The policy may also be expanded to cover several other ASEAN member states.
China Has Medium Range Missiles Trained on Taiwan: Defense Ministry (2017-03-20) (China Post, By the news staff) Defense Minster Feng Shih-kuan confirmed that the PRC was targeting Taiwan with Dongfeng 16 missiles, a type of medium range precision strike missile, in an effort to intimidate the Taiwanese. He stated that these were a symbol of increased military pressure against Taiwan and that the US should adjust its stance on Asia-Pacific security issues following increased tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
Cross-Strait Trade Dipped Slightly in 2016: MAC (2017-03-20) (China Post, By the news staff) The Mainland Affairs Council stated that trade between the PRC and Taiwan had dipped 0.7 percent in 2016. The report released attributed falling economic investments to the rising costs of doing business in China. Furthermore, the report claimed that since the inauguration of Tsai Ing-wen as the Taiwanese President, China has used "noneconomic means" of reducing the number of tourists who visit Taiwan.
China, US Vow To Cooperate To Solve N. Korea Nuke Crisis (2017-03-19) (China Post/ By Patrick Baert of AFP) The U.S. and China pledged on Saturday to work together in addressing the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program, as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned regional tensions had reached a "dangerous level." The language from Tillerson and his Chinese counterpart after talks in Beijing was notably conciliatory after a run-up in which U.S. President Donald Trump accused China of doing nothing to control its rogue neighbor while Beijing blamed Washington for fuelling hostilities.
Sunflower Activists Rally On Three-Year Anniversary (2017-03-19) (Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerber) The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should swiftly pass supervisory articles requiring transparency and civic participation in any negotiations with China, protesters said yesterday at a rally commemorating the three-year anniversary of the Sunflower movement.
If Taipei Not Involved, S China Sea Code Futile: MOFA (2017-03-19) (Taipei Times/CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that no code of conduct in the South China Sea would be binding on Taiwan if Taipei is not included in negotiations and dialogues aimed at creating a set of rules to avoid conflict among rival claimants in the region.The declaration was made on Friday after Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told the Central News Agency that all ASEAN members adhere to the “one China” policy. As a result, regarding Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea, ASEAN sees China as the representative in negotiations concerning the claims, Jose said.
US Military An 'Option' Against N. Korea (2017-03-18) (China Post/By Park Chan-Kyong of AFP) Military action by the United States against nuclear-armed North Korea is an "option on the table" if the threat from the rogue regime escalates, Washington's top diplomat Rex Tillerson said Friday. The strong comments from the secretary of state, in Asia for his first foray into crisis management, appear to signal a sea change in American policy towards the isolated country.
HK Protesters Jailed Over Anti-China Clashes (2017-03-18) (Taipei Times/AFP) Three young Hong Kong protesters yesterday were jailed for three years on “riot” charges for their part in anti-China protests last year as tensions rise ahead of a vote for the territory’s next leader. The sentencing came just over a week before a vote for Hong Kong’s new chief executive, which pro-democracy campaigners dismiss as a rigged election weighted toward Beijing.
Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping: Drivers, Challenges, and Implications (2017-03-21) (China Strategic Perspectives 10, Institute for National Strategic Studies, By Joel Wuthnow and Phillip C. Saunders) The restructuring will reduce the size of the PLA by 300,000 soldiers, cutting the ground forces and increasing the size of the navy and air force. The restructuring reflects the desire to strengthen PLA joint operations capabilities—on land, at sea, in the air, and in the space and cyber domains.
China Expands Its Spying Against Taiwan (2017-03-21) (The Diplomat, By Aaron Jensen) By using Chinese students to recruit spies on Taiwan’s university campuses, China is seeking to plant spies in Taiwan’s government, military, and intelligence agencies.
US Secretary of State Tillerson Meets Chinese President Xi (2017-03-20) (The Diplomat, By Cal Wong) In the meeting, Xi said that important opportunities to further develop China-U.S. relations remain and that the common interests between the two nations are weightier than their disagreements. Cooperation is the only correct choice, Xi said. He emphasized the importance of focusing on the long term and the need for strategic negotiations, and stressed the need for the two countries to respect each other’s core interest and concerns.
How China Lost the United States (2017-03-20) (The Diplomat, By Kerry Brown and Meghan Iverson) Beijing misread Obama and set the relationship back. It must avoid repeating the same mistake.
In China debut, Tillerson appears to hand Beijing a diplomatic victory (2017-03-19) (Washington Post, By Simon Denyer) But some critics say Tillerson has bent too far, handing Beijing what Chinese news media reports are calling a “diplomatic victory.” After meeting China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday, Tillerson voiced Chinese catchphrases about the relationship, including the avoidance of conflict and confrontation and the need to build “mutual respect” and strive for “win-win” cooperation.
Reporter's Notebook: Deciphering the Rumors on Taiwan-US-China Ties (2017-03-20) (Taipei Times, By Nadia Tsao) The Taiwanese government has been surrounded by rumors regarding potential arms sales from the United States to Taiwan as well as the possible signing of a fourth US-China communique when US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet next month. Both affect the US's "one China" policy and may lead to a different future.
Snapshot: China's Eastern Theater Command (2017-03-14) (China Brief/Jamestown Foundation, By Peter Wood) China’s ability to “deal” with Taiwan involves political and economic pressure. These tools have already seen some success as the number of countries that recognize Taiwan shrinks, and Taiwan’s participation in international organizations is severely restricted. However, as China’s military becomes more effective, military coercion is increasingly a viable option. An overview of China’s Eastern Theater Command (ETC) provides some insight into the Chinese military’s current capabilities against Taiwan.