High-Level Japanese Official Visits (2017-03-26) (Taipei Times/By Peng Wan-hsin, Lu Yi-hsuan and William Hetherington of CNA) Japanese Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Jiro Akama arrived in Taiwan yesterday on a one-day visit to promote tourism in his country, becoming the highest-level Japanese official to visit Taiwan since the two nations ended official ties in 1972.
No Surprise: Beijing's Pick Lam Chosen As Hong Kong Leader (2017-03-26) (China Post/AP) A Hong Kong committee has chosen the government's former No. 2 official Carrie Lam to be the semiautonomous Chinese city's next leader. The 1,194-member election committee picked Lam to be Hong Kong's new chief executive on Sunday. She will be the first female leader for the city and its fourth since British colonial control ended. Her victory was no surprise because China's communist leadership had lobbied the committee, dominated by pro-Beijing elites, to support her. Pro-democracy activists have criticized the system as a "fake" election and it was at the root of huge protests in 2014.
Taipei Urged to Be Tough on Rights Advocate's Vanishing (2017-03-25) (Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerver) Following the disappearance of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che, family, friends, and supporters have called on the Taiwanese government to take a harder stance on his disappearance and called on the Chinese government to release an official statement on his disappearance. Lee had gone to China to discuss Taiwan's democratization experiences, but has not been heard from since his entry into China from Macau on Sunday.
Coast Guard To Hold Live-Fire Drills On Taiping Island (2017-03-25) (Taipei Times, By Aaron Tu and Jake Chung) A three-day live-fire exercise is to be conducted from 8am to 9pm daily on Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island) starting on Monday. This will be the Coast Guard Administration’s first nighttime live-fire drill under President Tsai Ing-wen, the administration said on Thursday.
Manila Could Share Maritime Resources With China: Duterte (2017-03-25) (China Post/AFP) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he was open to sharing resources with Beijing in flash-point South China Sea waters over which Manila has been given exclusive rights by an international tribunal. However, Duterte said the Philippines could not exploit the natural resources on its own. Instead, Duterte says, "I would consider sharing it."
Tsai Tells DPP to Send Observers to South Korean Election (2017-03-24) (Taipei Times/CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen ordered her party to send a delegation to observe the upcoming South Korean presidential election. Tsai justified this by claiming that the results of the election were crucial to regional stability, which would in turn affect Taiwanese national security.
President Tsai on Fortune List of World's Greatest Leaders (2017-03-24) (China Post/CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen ranked No. 8 on Fortune's 2017 list of the 50 greatest world leaders. The magazine noted her achievements including her phone call with then-US president-elect Donald Trump in December 2016 and her efforts to spark tourism in Taiwan following increased pressure from Beijing against it.
Cross-Strait Higher Education Forum Held Following "One China" Controversies (2017-03-24) (China Post, By the news staff) Chinese universities are participating in an educational forum held in Taipei calling for continued academic exchange relationships between Chinese and Taiwanese universities following controversies surrounding the fact that some universities were discovered to have signed "one China assurances" in order to legally participate in exchanges. These assurances would force Chinese universities to avoid instructing politically sensitive or controversial topics, such as cross-strait relations with Taiwan.
Vincent Siew to Meet China Vice Premier in Boao Forum (2017-03-24) (China Post/CNA) Former Vice President Vincent Siew is supposed to meet Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli during the 2017 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference taking place in Hainan Province. A spokewoman stated that the former vice president would not be carrying any messages from President Tsai Ing-wen during the meeting as he does not hold any official government position.
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."
Government Concerned Over Reports US, China May Sign 4th Communique (2017-03-23) (China Post, By Joseph Yeh) Foreign Minister David Lee has stated that the Taiwanese government has urged the US government to avoid signing a fourth communique with Beijing, which rumors suggest may happen at a meeting between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump in April. This fourth communique would limit arms sales to Taiwan and further commit the United States to the path set by the "one China" principle.
Japan Bolsters Force With Second Helicopter Carrier (2017-03-23) (Taipei Times/Reuters) Japan’s second big helicopter carrier, the Kaga, entered service yesterday, giving the nation’s military greater ability to deploy beyond its shores as it pushes back against China’s growing influence in Asia.
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.
PacNet #25 - Beijing’s Korea bashing over THAAD: Is it someone else’s problem for Washington? (2017-03-23) (CSIS, By Kim Tae-woo) Now that the United States and China are engaged in a new Cold War, conflicting views of South Korea and China over THAAD are natural: Seoul sees the deployment as a means to secure sovereign security under the increasingly grave threat of North Korean WMDs, while Beijing, which is challenging Washington to embark on a new China-dominated order, feels under siege from implacably hostile US power. Against this backdrop, South Korea should make utmost effort to convince China to see the need to deploy THAAD to stabilize Sino-Korean relations.
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.