::: TSR Weekly Report
2017-08-14 | NO.21(32) 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
Tsai, Cheney Stress ‘Status Quo’ (2017-08-09)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) President Tsai Ing-wen yesterday told an international forum in Taipei that her administration is committed to maintaining the “status quo” in cross-strait relations and regional stability, while former US vice president Dick Cheney told a separate gathering that the cross-strait “status quo” was vital to maintaining peace in the region.

PLA Again Skirts Taiwan Airspace (2017-08-13)
(CNA) Several Chinese military aircraft yesterday morning flew east of Taiwan as part of a long-distance training program, the latest in a series of Chinese military activities close to Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said. Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Xian H-6K bombers and Shaanxi Y-8 aircraft flew near southern Taiwan through the Bashi Channel, but remained outside of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the ministry said in a statement.

Former Detainee Warns Over Direct Contact with CCP (2017-08-13)
(Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerber) The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) abusive past still holds lessons for Taiwanese, one of the last living victims of China’s Anti-Rightist Movement said yesterday at an event celebrating the movement’s 60th anniversary, calling for Taiwan to avoid direct dealings with Beijing.

Tsai Praised As ‘Careful’ at US Academic Conference (2017-08-14)
(CNA) US academics on Friday expressed positive views about President Tsai Ing-wen’s approach toward China during a conference in Washington, with some saying she has been dealing with Beijing in a careful and relatively conservative manner.

Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Academic Talent: MOE Plan Aims to Retain Top Academics (2017-08-11)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) A proposed subsidy program aimed at retaining top academics would provide special staffing funds to school and research facilities and give selected academics up to NT$5 million (US$164,968) per year for a three-year period, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung said yesterday. With the nation facing a severe brain drain and intense international competition for academics, the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) “Yushan Project” would be aimed at keeping top Taiwanese and foreign academics working in Taiwan from leaving.

Taiwan: A Derogation of International Law? (2017-08-12)
(East Asia Forum, By Brian Christopher Jones) Friendly relations among nations, self-determination of peoples, and universal peace are bedrock principles of the UN, which pledges to be ‘a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends’. But these laudable aims now seem adrift. Nowhere is this more evident than when considering Taiwan.

MECO Offering Course in Teaching Filipino Language (2017-08-12)
(CNA) The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) is offering basic training courses for Philippine spouses in the country to serve as teachers of the Philippine national language, Filipino. The training program was inspired by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen’s New Southbound Policy and new educational policy, the Philippine representative office in Taiwan said in a statement yesterday.

Taiwan’s Museum for ‘Comfort Women’ Launches Campaign for Compensation (2017-08-15)
(Associated Press) A museum dedicated to Taiwanese women forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels has launched a campaign to press the Japanese government to apologise and compensate the “comfort women”. The Ama Museum had begun providing cards for visitors to write a short message to the Japanese government, with all the cards to be forwarded on August 31 to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Japan’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, museum director Kang Shu-hua said.
PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
Coast Guard Submits Plan to Replace 130 Sea Vessels (2017-08-14)
(Taipei Times, By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin) The coast guard is to retire up to 130 aging seafaring vessels in its fleet over the next 10 years, an official said on Saturday, citing a plan submitted by the Coast Guard Administration to the Ministry of the Interior. Set to coincide with the purchase of 141 new vessels, the plan would save maintenance costs and insurance expenses for the coast guard, the official said.
U.S.-China Relations
Trump's Bilateralism and US Power in East Asia (2017-08-09)
(The Diplomat, By Doug Stokes and Kit Waterman) US President Donald Trump has abandoned the US's previous policy of attempting multilateral agreements in favor of one of cost-benefits bilateralism, examining how every other power in the world can benefit the United States. Doing so, however, disregards the institutional power historically held by the US in the international arena. The new outlook cautiously seeks agreements and potential alliances with the main regional hegemon and rival for the United States in the form of China.

Trump Eyes China Sanctions While Seeking Its Help on North Korea (2017-08-12)
(New York Times, By Jane Perlez and Peter Baker) The American president is trying to enlist Beijing in his struggle with North Korea even as the White House is set to announce trade crackdown.

Trump Launches US Probe into ‘Unlawful’ China Trade Practices, Raising Spectre of Trade War (2017-08-15)
(South China Morning Post, By Robert Delaney) US President Donald Trump called China’s policies toward US companies operating in the country “unlawful”, as he kicked off an investigation that threatens to spark a trade war between the two largest economies. “We will stand up to any country that unlawfully forces American companies to transfer their valuable technology as a condition of market access,” Trump told reporters in Washington after signing a “Memorandum Addressing China’s Laws, Policies, Practices, and Actions Related to Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Technology”.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Beijing Warns U.S. Over Navy Patrol in South China Sea (2017-08-11)
(New York Times, By Chris Buckley) After an American warship sailed near a disputed reef in the South China Sea, Beijing said that such operations would only force it to build up its forces there.

Chinese Air Force Chief Defends Sea of Japan Exercises Because Waters ‘Do Not Belong to Tokyo’ (2017-08-11)
(Reuters) China’s air force chief has defended military manoeuvres in the Sea of Japan, saying the waters do not belong to Tokyo, after a Japanese defence review warned of increasing Chinese military activity there. Japan worries that China’s testing of its air defences is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 kilometres south towards Taiwan.

China and India on Brink of Armed Conflict as Hopes of Resolution to Border Dispute Fade (2017-08-11)
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) Chinese and Indian troops are readying themselves for a possible armed conflict in the event they fail in their efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to their border dispute on the Doklam plateau in the Himalayas, observers said. On Friday, India’s defence minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that the country’s armed forces are “prepared to take on any eventuality” of the stand-off, Indian Express reported the same day.

Beijing Faces Fresh Challenges Over its South China Sea Claims (2017-08-13)
(South China Morning Post, By Laura Zhou) Beijing might have got its way over the language used in last week’s communique from Asean foreign ministers, but observers say its sweeping claims to the South China Sea are facing fresh challenges. At the gathering in Manila, Association of Southeast Asian Nations members avoided using any expressions that might displease Beijing in their statement regarding the territorial disputes. But Beijing is facing a more vocal rival claimant in Hanoi, and ties are strained with Singapore, which is edging closer to the United States and will take over as chair of Asean next year.

Asean and China Have Moved On ... Didn’t Vietnam Get the Memo? (2017-08-13)
(South China Morning Post, By Bhavan Jaipragas) Vietnam insists it pursues a neutral foreign policy straddling major powers China and the United States, but its emergence this year as the most strident Southeast Asian critic of Beijing’s controversial island building in the South China Sea raises questions about that stance. Hanoi’s China policy came into focus this month, as the two neighbours locked horns over an oil drilling project in a maritime block claimed by both sides, and as Vietnamese diplomats attempted to use a communique at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to pile pressure on Beijing’s rising assertiveness in the disputed waters.

Duterte’s China Policy Shift: Strategy or Serendipity? (2017-08-13)
(East Asia Forum, By Aileen S. P. Baviera) Duterte’s strategy of not abandoning but de-emphasising and compartmentalising territorial and maritime issues is a wise move that can pay off if done smartly. By de-linking economic relations from management of the disputes, Manila can benefit from Beijing at a time when sustained high growth and investor confidence in the Philippines coincides with a massive investment drive by China as part of BRI. The challenge will be to see to it that China itself separates the two aspects of relations, considering that it had previously used economic leverage against the Philippines for political ends.

Manila’s Pivot to Pragmatism on the South China Sea (2017-08-14)
(East Asia Forum, By the Editorial Board) In disputed South China Sea territory, episodes like the standoffs between military personnel on remote reefs, tiffs over fishing rights, and brinkmanship over ‘red lines’ like the Scarborough Shoal are a reminder of the importance of the waters to the west of the Philippine archipelago.The Philippines’ handling of China’s rise holds lessons for other countries sandwiched between Beijing’s provocation and US pressures.

The Korean Peninsula 

American Allies and Adversaries Urge Caution on North Korea
(New York Times, By Sewell Chan) World powers in Europe and the Pacific expressed concern about the bellicose rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang.

South Korea Says U.S. Promises Coordination in Standoff With North (2017-08-11)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-hun) Amid jitters over President Trump’s escalating war of words with North Korea, the South said that Seoul and Washington had reaffirmed a pledge to work together to ensure safety.

U.S. General and South Korean Leader Push for Diplomacy on North Korea (2017-08-14)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-hun) Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said the priority on North Korea was to support diplomatic and economic measures. China said it would enforce new sanctions.

China Extends Ban on Imports from North Korea in Line with United Nations Resolution (2017-08-14)
(South China Morning Post, By Teddy Ng and Shi Jiangtao) China announced sweeping sanctions against North Korea on Monday, extending an import ban to iron, iron ore and seafood. The Ministry of Commerce said the ban, which also covered coal, would take effect on Tuesday. The order extends the existing ban on coal imports to next year and is expected to hit the North Korean economy hard.

US ‘Moving Forward’ with THAAD Deployment in South Korea as North Korean Crisis Grows (2017-08-15)
(South China Morning Post, By Zhenhua Lu) The US and South Korea are “moving forward” to deploy a US missile defence system on the Korean Peninsula, the US Defence Department said, as the North Korean nuclear crisis worsens after Pyongyang announced a plan to fire four missiles near US Pacific island territory Guam. The announcement came as North Korea reportedly said leader Kim Jong-un was briefed on plans for missile tests near Guam.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

Chinese Officials Told to Focus on Performance Not Promotion as Party Congress Nears (2017-08-15)
(South China Morning Post, By Nectar Gan) As the countdown begins to China’s 19th party congress, Communist Party officials across the country have been told to stay focused on their performance rather than obsess over the possibility of a promotion. According to a signed commentary in Thursday’s edition of People’s Daily, officials should not make scaling the party ranks their “highest pursuit”. Such behaviour was leading officials to become indolent and “slack”, the article said.

Beijing and Hong Kong

Hong Kong Activist Says Chinese Agents Stapled His Legs Over Messi Photo
(New York Times, By Austin Ramzy and Alan Wong) Howard Lam, a democracy activist, said he was abducted and beaten after he got the soccer star Lionel Messi to send a photo for the dissident Liu Xiaobo.

China's Foreign Relations

As Trump Unnerves Asia, China Sees an Opening
(New York Times, By Jane Perlez) Mr. Trump’s threat to bring “fire and fury” to North Korea has Beijing hoping to emerge as the sober-minded power in the region.

A New Brand of Chinese Soft Power? (2017-08-12)
(East Asia Forum, By Sacha Cody) But a new ingredient has recently emerged in China’s quest for soft power — Chinese brands and their global influence. A recent study identified 30 Chinese brands that are ‘going global’ (meaning they derive a significant portion of their revenue and positive sentiment from overseas), including businesses in ‘traditional’ industries such as Lenovo and Huawei as well as newer internet and digital businesses like Alibaba and Elex.

China Joins the Crowd in Djibouti (2017-08-14)
(East Asia Forum, By Sam Bateman) China is in the process of setting up its first overseas military base at Djibouti in northeast Africa. The base will be large enough to house a few thousand troops, berth six ships and pre-position supplies. This development is particularly disturbing for India and the United States and will likely spur naval competition in the region.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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