Lee Ming-che ‘in Good Health,’ TAO Spokesman Says (2017-04-27) (Taipei Times/Reuters) The Chinese government said that rights campaigner Lee Ming-che, who has been detained on suspicion of endangering national security, was in good health and that it had reassured his family in a letter.
'Unfair and Suppressive': Gov't Slams Chinese WHA Pressure (2017-04-27) (China Post, By Stephanie Chao) Taiwan's Presidential Office accused China of halting progress on fighting disease, following rumors that Beijing had sought to prevent Taiwan's participation in this year's World Health Assembly. Taiwan is still awaiting an invite to the WHO's annual decision making summit that will be held next month. A spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office said that Taiwan's participation should be predicated on the "One China" principle.
AIT Head Affirms WHA Participation (2017-04-26) (Taipei Times, By Lee I-chia) AIT Chairman James Moriarty said that the United States looks forward to Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly this year. He cited certain medical exchanges between the two countries as a key part of their bilateral relationship. Taiwan last year received a late invitation to the WHA and has faced concern that Beijing will block their attendance this year.
Advisory Board Harming Defense Matters: Lawmakers (2017-04-26) (Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology has a military advisory board responsible for providing professional recommendations on research matters, but lawmakers claim that the board has had detrimental effects on Taiwanese defensive matters. They cite potential conflicts of interests within board members as reasons for their claims.
Taiwan "Has the Freest Press in Asia": Reporters Without Borders (2017-04-26) (China Post, By the news staff) The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has listed Taiwan as having the highest level of media freedom in all of Asian countries in their annual report. They also cite China as a threat to media freedom in the region. They also warned that freedom of the press faces new threats in recent times.
China’s PLA Corps Reduced from 18 to 13, Reorganized (2017-04-25) (Taipei Times/CNA) China’s 18 army corps have been reorganized into 13 army corps. Three corps will be placed under the Eastern Theater Command, two under the Southern Theater Command, two under the Western Theater Command, and the rest will be equally divided between the Northern Theater Command and the Central Theater Command. Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense also said on Sunday that the annual Han Kuang military exercises will begin on May 25.
Moriarty Expected to Bring News on Trump-Xi Meet (2017-04-25) (Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty to Taiwan. Moriarty will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and other top government officials to discuss various issues concerning Taiwan and the US. He is speculated to be slated to brief the government about US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Tsai Needs Proactive Foreign Policy: Experts (2017-04-25) (Taipei Times, By Peng Wan-hsin and William Hetherington) Former officials and foreign policy experts argue that President Tsai Ing-wen should not fear angering China and should take advantage of the threat of China’s expansionist activities to seek new diplomatic allies. According to some experts, Tsai is not making much progress in foreign affairs, despite high expectations from the public, because of the administration's soft, low-profile approach to foreign relations.
U.S. Supports Taiwan's Participation in WHA: AIT Chairman (2017-04-25) (China Post, News Staff) American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty stated Tuesday in Taipei that the U.S. would continue to support Taiwan's participation at the World Health Assembly. Taiwan's participation at the World Health Organization's annual meeting in Geneva has been thrown into doubt after China demanded the island adhere to the so-called "1992 Consensus" as a precondition to its participation in international organizations.
Vietnam Hoping for Rise in Taiwanese Investment: Envoy (2017-04-24) (Taipei Times/CNA) The Vietnamese representative to Taiwan stated that Vietnam hopes that Taiwan's "new southbound policy" will lead to increased Taiwanese investments within Vietnam as its economy grows. Vietnam is specifically looking for infrastructure development investment as it hopes to build up its road network and metro systems. Taiwan's "new southbound policy" is designed to reduce economic dependence on China and instead focus on ASEAN member-states and India.
AIT Chairman on Taiwan Visit (2017-04-24) (China Post/CNA) James Moriarty, the Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, arrived on Sunday for a week-long visit. He will be meeting with top government officials and businesspeople. Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stated that he will be meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen to discuss US-Taiwan bilateral issues. The AIT serves as the unofficial representative of the US government and its interests due to the lack of diplomatic ties.
Outgoing Panama Envoy Praises Strong Ties With ROC (2017-04-23) (China Post, By Joseph Yeh) Panama's ambassador to Taiwan, who is currently leaving his post, praised good relations between Taiwan and China. This comes in light of rumors about the relationship between the two countries as the Panamanian government has yet to announce the ambassador's successor. The ambassador referred to Taiwan as an "irreplaceable ally" of Panama.
$1 Billion For THAAD? Trump Chips Away at the US-South Korea Alliance (2017-04-28) (The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) In an interview released Thursday evening (Friday morning in Asia) by Reuters, Trump suggested that he may look to “terminate” the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), which he described as a “horrible deal.” He went on to add that he want South Korea to pay an estimated $1 billion for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is days away from deployment.
China, Russia, and the Long ‘Unipolar Moment’ Revisited (2017-04-27) (The Diplomat, By Nathan A. Sears) In the contemporary unipolar world, the international system continues to be shaped primarily by the logic of U.S. hegemony. Thus, the argument I made a year ago continues to look pretty good: the U.S. alliance system remains intact and represents a significant systemic constraint against the emergence of new great powers.
South Korea-Japan-US: A Window for Trilateral Cooperation (2017-04-27) (The Diplomat, By Pamela Kennedy) Abe and the next ROK president must delve into the regional intricacies of the North Korea threat with Trump (which he has heard from the Chinese perspective), so that he can incorporate the interests of the two allies. Abe and the ROK president can also discuss past policy approaches, ranging from hard to soft, and their combined influence might temper Trump’s North Korea policy and prevent it from unexpectedly changing course.
Enemy Within (2017-04-24) (Breakingviews, By Robyn Mak) Critics have attacked the “Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan” for ignoring more fundamental handbrakes on growth, like red tape and restrictions on foreign investment and talent. Taiwan may still hold 14th place in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, yet it ranks a dismal 87th place in terms of openness to foreign capital, down from 16th in 2014.
Japan Wants to Revive the Trans Pacific Partnership Even Without the U.S. (2017-04-24) (Foreign Policy, By Robbie Gramer) The move signals that, even as the United States is in full retreat from free trade, many other countries are pressing ahead, even without U.S. leadership. Washington will have to grapple, though, with political fallout from detonating a trade deal that countries had worked on for years and which they’d manage to sell to skeptical audiences at home only after great pains.
Here’s How Trump Can Succeed in Southeast Asia (2017-04-21) (Foreign Policy, By Nina Hachigian) The American president showing up in Asia will reassure ASEAN and all U.S. partners there of America’s continued engagement. Perhaps in the run-up to those meetings, Trump will begin to learn of the benefits and necessity of multilateralism and will bring to the table tangible steps toward renewed American leadership in Asia.
Hand of U.S. Leaves North Korea’s Missile Program Shaken (2017-04-18) (New York Times, By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad) Whether an American program to sabotage North Korean test flights is behind a string of failures, it has led Pyongyang to hunt for spies and ways to combat such attacks.
China’s Charm Offensive: Beijing Draws Closer to Brussels (2017-04-24) (The Diplomat, By Valentina Crivăț) On April 18, Beijing hosted the 7th European Union-China Strategic Dialogue which was chaired by Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with Chinese State Councilor, Yang Jiechi. The meeting came ahead of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled to take place in Beijing in mid-May and the EU-China annual Summit scheduled for Brussels in June.
Do US Actions in the South China Sea Violate International Law? (2017-04-24) (The Diplomat, By Mark J. Valencia) Unfortunately we may never know the answers to most of these legal questions at least formally because the United States has not ratified UNCLOS and is thus not subject to its dispute settlement mechanisms. Nevertheless these are all legitimate questions that deserve objective analysis and answers. To clear the air the United States should at least tell the world exactly what these IRS probes are doing and why.
China-Based Hackers Targeting South Korea Over THAAD: Report (2017-04-24) (The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) China-based hackers linked to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army targeted South Korean institutions involved in the deployment of an advanced missile defense system and radar, U.S.-based cybersecurity firm FireEye told the Wall Street Journal. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and its accompanying AN/TPY-2 X-band radar system have been strongly opposed by China, which views their deployment on the Korean peninsula as a threat to its own security.
China’s First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier May Launch Any Day Now (2017-04-24) (The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) Even though the 001A may launch in the coming days, it will likely undergo sea trials for more than a year, with its eventual commissioning into the PLAN taking place in 2018 or 2019. China, in the meantime, has started work on its third aircraft carrier, which is provisionally named in the Type 002.
Why China Could be a Game Changer for Global Health (2017-04-22) (The Diplomat, By Charlotte Röhren) The biggest beneficiaries of a greater Chinese role would be people and communities with limited access to healthcare and low levels of preparedness for pandemics and other infections. Ensuring their health and well-being would be in line with the third of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Due to China’s size and relevance, Beijing’s increased engagement could be a game changer for global health.
South China Sea: Did China Coast Guard Deny Philippine Fishermen Access to Union Bank? (2017-04-21) (The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) Philippine authorities are working to confirm reports that Chinese Coast Guard vessels harassed and drove away Filipino fishermen at Union Bank in the Spratly group in the South China Sea. According to early reports, Chinese Coast Guard vessels fired warning shots to deny fishermen access to disputed waters. The location of the incident, which occurred on Thursday, is close to Gaven Reef, which is home to one of China’s seven artificial islands in the Spratly group.