::: TSR Weekly Report
2017-07-31 | NO.21(30) 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@princeton.edu).
Cross-Strait Relations
Taiwan 'Is Prepared to Defend Itself Against China' (2017-07-26)
(The Straits Times/ANN) The Defense Ministry announced it is willing to defend against China if necessary as another People's Liberation Army (PLA) Xian H-6 Bomber was spotted flying close to Taiwan's airspace along the Western coast. The spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said that the PLA has not given up on the idea of solving problems through military force.

Taiwan Ready to Act, But Not to Incite China: MND
(CNA) Taiwan is not going to take any action that could start a war with China, but it is also not going to back down from any threats, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on Tuesday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has never given up the idea of using force to resolve the Taiwan matter, ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi said, commenting on Chinese aircraft flying close to Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. The nation will safeguard its airspace and marine areas based on its rules of engagement for emergency situations in wartime, Chen said.

Why China Will Not Unify with Taiwan by 2020—and Beijing Lacks Compelling Military Options (2017-03-20)
(Lawfare, By Timothy R. Heath) Though the PRC would seek to unify Taiwan with China, there are too many obstacles for it to occur in the near future. Among those are the dwindling Taiwanese support for unification, increasingly aggressive methods that only serve to alienate the Taiwanese population, and the PLA lacking the ability to carry out an amphibious invasion of Taiwan without incurring severe casualties. Even if the invasion was successful, it would further destabilize regional security and result in other regional actors, the US included, seeking to cooperate against the PRC. It wwould also result in sanctions from the international community.

MAC Urges Public Not to Use Chinese Passports (2017-08-31)
(Taipei Times, By Lin Liang-sheng and William Hetherington) Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday urged the public not to use People’s Republic of China (PRC) passports because it puts them at risk of losing the rights and benefits they have as Republic of China (ROC) citizens. The council statement followed a report by Hong Kong-based Super Media on Friday that China might launch a pilot program to issue passports for people living in what it describes as the "Taiwan Special Administrative Region” (SAR) as part of its efforts to “solve the Taiwan problem."
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Planes Serving Itu Aba are Fitted with Life-Saving Devices (2017-07-26)
(Taipei Times, By Lee Li-fa, Lo Tien-pin, and Jonathan Chin) The air force has installed intensive-care devices to its C-130 cargo planes in an effort to increase garrison capabilities on Itu Aba Island in response to maritime disasters. The island relies on C-130 planes to evacuate people should a harmful event occur.

KMT’s Platform Clings to ‘Consensus’
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin) A draft of the new Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) platform emphasizes its own version the so-called “1992 consensus,” which was rejected by China last week. The overview of the draft states that the KMT’s cross-strait policy is to promote peaceful developments across the Taiwan Strait on the basis of the “five visions” formulated by former vice president Lien Chan and former Chinese president Hu Jintao during a meeting in 2005 in Beijing.

Taiwan-US Trade Talks Commence (2017-07-27)
(CNA) A dialogue between Taiwan and the US on trade and investment that began yesterday is expected to help ties between the two countries, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokeswoman Sonia Urbom said. The dialogue concludes tomorrow and covers a wide range of topics, such as intellectual property rights protection, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agriculture, investment and technical barriers to trade. In addition, both sides are expected to talk about the huge trade surplus Taiwan enjoys with the US.

Tainan's Mayor is Polling Ahead of Tsai Ing-wen for the 2020 Election (2017-07-28)
(China Post) Tainan mayor William Lai received 38.2% support in a poll conducted by Taiwan Brain Trust, while President Tsai only received 20.8%. This think tank was founded by a pro-independence figure, but and found that Tsai still polls more favorably against potential Chinese Nationalist Party opponents, such as ex-Vice President Wu Den-yih and New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu.

Cambodia Deports Taiwanese Suspects to China (2017-07-28)
(Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerber) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council have condemned Cambodia's decision to send Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects to China. Cambodia decided to do so under pressure from China and its "one China" principle. MAC has already contacted China through appropriate channels to demand the investigation and review be handled in Taiwan.

DPP Accused of Facebook Censorship (2017-07-28)
(Taipei Times, By Sean Lin) The National Policy Foundation, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) think tank, reported that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) may have suspended Facebook users due to comments made that are harmful to the DPP. The Chief Executive Officer of the think tank said the DPP has now entered a phase of "Green Terror."

Why America May Prove a Cheaper Option than China for Foxconn (2017-07-28)
(South China Morning Post, By He Huifeng) For workers at the Wisconsin plant, Foxconn is expected to pay nearly US$54,000 per worker every year. That salary level is about six or seven times the rate a worker in a Chinese Foxconn factory can get. However, as Foxconn is required by Chinese law to contribute to pension and other state welfare programmes, the actual hiring costs of Foxconn in China are higher than the wage level suggests. In addition, China’s wage level is rising at a rate much faster than blue-collar wages in the US.

Indonesia Arrests 22 Taiwanese on Suspicion of Fraud (2017-08-31)
(CNA) Indonesian police on Saturday conducted raids at several locations against an alleged telecommunications fraud ring and arrested 73 suspects, of whom 22 are Taiwanese, an Indonesian police official said. The suspected fraud ring was found to be active in other nations in the region, according to the source.
PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
America May Soon Find Itself in an Underwater War with China (2017-07-24)
(The National Interest, By Lyle J. Goldstein) China's naval ambitions have yielded new underwater unmanned vehicles (UUVs) that can enhance Chinese intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities. One UUV of note are the Haiyu glider, which relies on buoyancy to maintain propulsion instead of a battery or fuel. Another is the Weisheng glider, which has a fin and tail. Both run quiet, with the former being possibly fielded for tracking submarines and the other for providing "sonar countermeasures". Also mentioned are the autonomus unmanned vehicles  (AUVs) Qianlong 1 and Qianlong 2, as well as unmanned boats that can be used for anti-submarine and anti-frogman operations.

Japan, Germany Sign Deal to Partner Amid Tensions with China
(Defense News, By Sebastian Sprenger) Amid regional tensions with China, Japan and Germany have signed a defense cooperation pact. The pact opens the door for arms transfers between the two countries, with Japan interested in German armored personnel carriers and tank technology. The German defense ministry spokesman said Japan will be treated the same way a NATO partner would when it comes to export control regulations. A secret seperate agreement related to the pact deals with sensitive technical information transfer, as there are worries of Chinese espionage.

US Navy Tests Amphibious Concept at Talisman Saber Exercise (2017-07-25)
(Defense News, By Mike Yeo) The Talisman Sabre exercise between Australia and the US give the US an opportunity to test the US Navy's up-gunned expeditionary strike group (ESG) concept. The concept puts the capabilities of amphibious ships carrying the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (for air support purposes) alongside that of surface ships with the offensive capabilities, The exercise saw use of of surface, air and subsurface threats using real submarines, aircraft and ships, providing useful experience to the participating personnel of both nations.

Chinese Intel-gathering Ship Spotted Near US-Australia Exercise (2017-07-25)
(Defense News, By Mike Yeo) A Type 815 (Dongdiao-class electronic surveillance ship) was sighted in waters off the Australian state of Queensland where joint Australian-US exercise Talisman Saber is being held. The biennial exercise is designed to improve combat readiness and interoperability between both forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations. This year’s exercise saw 33,000 personnel participate, and included smaller contingents from New Zealand, Japan and Canada, with the bulk of activity taking place on and in the vicinity of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in central Queensland. These activities included amphibious landings, paratroop drops, land-force maneuver operations, and air and maritime operations, and the exercise saw the use of sophisticated capabilities that included U.S. Navy and Australian Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, the General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle and AAI RQ-7 Shadow UAVs, all of which would have been the key targets of China’s signals intelligence collection efforts.

Escalation Sees Itu Aba Allocated Howitzers (2017-07-25)
(Taipei Times, By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin) The military has given the Coast Guard Administration six howitzers which it is holding in reserve for deployment on Itu Aba Island if more firepower is needed to bolster the island’s defenses, a defense official said. Itu Aba is the largest naturally occurring landmass in the Spratly Islands, some or all of which are also claimed by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. The most significant military threat to Itu Aba is Vietnam’s military occupation of Sandy Cay, which lies 13km from the island, according to the official.

China has Upgraded its Dongfeng Missile: Report
(CNA) China has upgraded its ballistic missile series (DF-31AG) to increase range and precision. A report on Sina.com, a Chinese online media portal, announced that the original DF-31 had a range of 8,000km, enough to reach some parts of the United States. The current DF-31G has a range of over 11,000km and improved mobility.

Russia, China Hold Naval Exercise in Baltic (2017-07-26)
(AP) Russia and China have begun naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, making some NATO members uneasy about the growing military ambitions of Russia. Though the nations have held exercises together in the past, this is the first time that they've been held in the Baltic.

China Closes East Seas for Military Drills (2017-07-29)
(AP) A notice from the government of the eastern port city of Lianyungang says a roughly 40,000-square-kilometer (15,000-square-mile) section of the Yellow Sea was off-limits to commercial shipping from Thursday through Saturday in preparation for upcoming military drills, with coincide with the PLA’s 90th anniversary. Details concerning the military drills have yet to be released.

China Shows Off Military Might as Xi Jinping Tries to Cement Power (2017-07-30)
(New York Times, By Chris Buckley) In a week that began with a purge and culminated in a parade of troops, China’s president opened a drive to deepen his grip on power in a coming leadership shake-up.

China’s Armed Forces Told to be Loyal to Party at Show of Military Muscle to Mark 90th Anniversary (2017-07-30)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) And for the troops assembled ahead of the 90th birthday of the founding of the PLA on August 1, the message from their leader, President Xi Jinping, was ­unequivocal. China has “the confidence and capability to defeat all armies that dare to offend”, he said. The military should be “unswervingly loyal” to the ruling Communist Party and “extend the battleground to wherever the party points ­towards”.

New Air Force Study Warns of Chinese Hypersonic Weapons (2017-07-31)
(The National Interest, By Kris Osborn) The US Air Force is accelerating hypersonic weapons development and research following reports that show Chinese and Russian militaries have already begun conducting hypersonic weapons testing. Such weapons would give a military an advantage in terms of offensive capabilities, drones, and intelligence/reconnaissance.

China’s Military Parade Reaffirms Communist Party’s Absolute Control Over Army (2017-08-01)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) The Chinese Communist Party held a parade celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army on July 30, but the celebration was much more of a reaffirming of the CCP's absolute control over the PLA. The factors suggesting this theme include the troops shouting their support of the "Party's Command" as well as holding the Party's flag in front of both the national flag and the PLA's flag. The effort to hold the Party as the highest power in China continues to spread across all facets of the country.

What’s Driving Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Military Modernisation Push? (2017-08-01)
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) World-class army seen as key component of national rejuvenation, but political power also part of the equation

U.S.-China Relations
Countering Hegemony: The US-China Balance (2017-07-24)
(The Diplomat, By Monish Tourangbam) At first, the United States begrudgingly forged an alliance with China to counter the Soviet Union, the primary US nemesis in the global system. However, since the end of the Cold War, the US must recognize that China's priorities have changed from serving as another Communist state countering the Soviet Union's hegemony to one of Xi Jinping's "China Dream" strategy. The struggle seems reminiscent of the Cold War issues surrounding global hegemony.

East China Sea: 2 Chinese Fighters Conduct 'Unsafe' Intercept of US EP-3 Surveillance Aircraft (2017-07-25)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) US officials confirmed that two Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Air Force (PLAAF) Chengdu J-10 fighters conducted an intercept of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries surveillance aircraft in international airspace over the East China Sea over the weekend. The incident is the third of its kind this year and the second to take place over the East China Sea. It is to be noted that China opposes U.S. surveillance flights in international airspace near its territorial airspace. It also opposes U.S. naval operations within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which are permitted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

What if Trump Ordered a Nuclear Strike on China? I’d Comply, Says Admiral (2017-07-27)
(New York Times, By Austin Ramzy) Faced with an apocalyptic hypothetical question, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet reiterated the principle of civilian control of the military.

Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Xi Personally Behind Island-building in the South China Sea (2017-07-28)
(South China Morning Post, By Jun Mai and Sarah Zheng) A top Communist Party publication has spelled out that President Xi Jinping was personally behind Beijing’s high-handed approach to disputes in the East and South China seas. An editorial on Friday in Study Times – put out by the Central Party School, the Communist Party’s top academy – was the latest to lavish praise on Xi for his tough stance on territorial issues with the country’s Asian neighbours.

Duterte’s Joint Energy Plan for South China Sea May Test Asean’s Unity (2017-07-28)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) Manila’s plan for joint energy exploration with Beijing in the South China Sea could be a test of unity for the Asean regional bloc as it grapples with an increasingly assertive China. Several members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have privately expressed concerns over Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan, according to observers. They say Manila’s bid to edge closer to Beijing economically could deepen divisions in the group over how to deal with China.

Britain Says It Will Send Warship to South China Sea Next Year, in Move Likely to Anger Beijing (2017-07-28)
(Reuters) Britain plans to send a warship to the disputed South China Sea next year to conduct freedom of navigation exercises, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said on Thursday, a move likely to anger Beijing. Britain would increase its presence in the waters after it sent four British fighter planes for joint exercises with Japan in the region last year, he said.

Japan Lodges Protest Against China's Activity in Disputed Sea Gas Field (2017-08-01)
(Agencies) Japan has lodged a protest with China over its apparent deployment of drilling rigs near the median line separating the two countries’ economic zones in the East China Sea, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday.

Korean Peninsula

China Stages High-profile Naval Drill off Korean Peninsula (2017-07-27)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) China is flexing its military muscle in a high-profile naval exercise in the Yellow Sea, off the western coast of the Korean peninsula, days ahead of the PLA’s 90th anniversary. Beijing has so far released scant information about the three-day live-fire drill, which is expected to last through Saturday, but analysts say it is also aimed at demonstrating China’s resolve amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear provocations.

North Korea Tests a Ballistic Missile That Experts Say Could Hit California
(New York Times, By David E. Sanger, Choe Sang-hun, and William J. Broad) The missile flew on a high trajectory that, if lowered, may allow it to reach large American cities, a milestone for the North’s weapons program, experts say.

Japan Blacklists Two Chinese Firms as Part of Efforts to Keep Pressure on North Korea (2017-07-28)
(AFP) Japan on Friday slapped sanctions on two Chinese firms, including a bank accused of laundering North Korean cash, amid concerns Pyongyang is preparing for another missile test, the government said. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said five entities, including two Chinese organisations, and nine individuals will be put on Japan’s blacklists in connection with ties to North Korea.

Moon Assembles Dream Team, But North Korea Unwilling to Play
(East Asia Forum, By Leif-Eric Easley) Even if Pyongyang does agree to talks, its track record is to cheat agreements, continue nuclear and missile tests, and attempt to divide Washington and Seoul. Inter-Korean rapprochement is a worthy pursuit, but the Moon administration is right not to sacrifice UN resolutions and US alliance coordination in the process.

Other Regional Issues

Can ASEAN Cope with the Changing World Order? (2017-08-01)
(East Asia Forum, By Amitav Acharya) Finally, while it cannot entirely avoid getting involved in great-power rivalry, ASEAN needs to reconsider its role in the wider Asia Pacific, particularly its policy of engaging all the great powers on an ASEAN platform. Some degree of self-isolation, or strategy for avoiding a deep entanglement with great power geopolitics, has to be revived. ASEAN could also think of forging closer ties with Japan, India, Australia and the EU to create some strategic space between itself and Beijing and Washington.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Chinese Politics

Xi Says No ‘Individual, Political Party or Group’ will be Allowed to Hurt China’s Territorial Integrity
(South China Morning Post, By Liu Zhen) Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Beijing on Tuesday that China’s military would not tolerate any attempt to damage its territorial integrity. Speaking to senior Communist Party and government officials at an event to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, Xi’s comments came just two days after he addressed the nation’s troops directly on the parade ground at the Zhurihe training base in Inner Mongolia.

China's Foreign Relations

China Formally Opens First Overseas Naval Base in Djibouti (2017-08-01)
(Reuters) China formally opened its first overseas military base on Tuesday with a flag-raising ceremony in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, the same day as the People’s Liberation Army marks its 90th birthday, state media said. Djibouti’s position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fuelled worry in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

What Xi Jinping’s Show of Military Strength Means For China’s Neighbours (2017-08-01)
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) However, Collin Koh Swee Lean, a research fellow with the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said that Xi’s comments must be given perspective. “This flexing of muscle, in my opinion, wasn’t just intended for an external audience – either as an overt signal to perceived adversaries embroiled with China in land and maritime disputes or merely as a general deterrence against would-be aggressors,” he said.

Beijing and Hong Kong

Hong Kong Rail Plan Raises Fears of Mainland China’s Influence (2017-07-25)
(New York Times, By Austin Ramzy) A plan to allow Chinese officers to enforce mainland law in a Hong Kong rail terminal will undermine the city’s autonomy, opponents say.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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