::: TSR Weekly Report
2017-09-04 | NO.21(35) 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
MAC Advisers' Report Warns Over NGO Safety in China (2017-08-30)
(Taipei Times, By Lin Liang-sheng and Jonathan Chin) The Mainland Affairs Council stated that NGO groups still face increasing risks and uncertainties when working on the Chinese mainland. A report shows that Beijing requires all NGOs working in China to register with the government, showing tightening restrictions and regulations upon NGOs within China. The report also stated that the Taiwanese government should have in place a response strategy should anything happen to Taiwanese activists working in China.

Mainland Affairs Council: MAC Will Help Detainees in China (2017-08-31)
(CNA) As long as the families of victims agree, the MAC will assist in freeing people who have been detained in the PRC for unknown reasons. The statement was made in response to the detention of a Taiwanese businessman in Xiamen last year. Each case will be handled depending on how much influence the families of the victims allow the government to have.

Chinese Student Given Approval for Study in Taiwan (2017-09-01)
(CNA SHANGHAI) Several Chinese students are making their way to Taiwan for their studies after receiving their approved permits. Initially, one certain permit was denied, with the given reason being that the school in question "supported pro-Taiwan independence activities." The entrance of Chinese students to the Taiwanese educational system is a symbol of good faith on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and serves as an important aspect of cross-strait relations.

Taiwan Welcomes ‘Beijing’s Goodwill’ Invitation to Chinese Culture Conference (2017-09-02)
(South China Morning Post, By Lawrence Chung) Taipei has welcomed an invitation to attend an annual Chinese cultural conference in Hong Kong in December, describing the offer as a goodwill gesture from Beijing. But analysts said this did not mean Beijing would resume political exchanges or talks with the island, links that were suspended in June last year when Tsai Ing-wen took over as Taiwan’s president.

Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Taipei Forum Report on U.S. Politics and Asia-Pacific Policy under President Trump (2017-07-28)
(Taipei Forum) To better understand U.S. politics and Asia-Pacific policy under President Trump, a Taipei Forum Foundation delegation visited New York and Washington D.C. in early June 2017. The following report contains information and perspectives from the conversations between the group and U.S. officials and experts and is divided into six parts: current U.S. domestic politics, foreign policy making in the Trump administration, U.S.-China relations, U.S.-Taiwan relations, Taiwan’s major challenges, and the North Korea nuclear issue. A Chinese version of the report is available here.

A Massive Blackout Prompts Questions about Taiwan’s Energy Policy
(The Economist) The giant power cut on August 15th saw nearly half of all households on the island lose electricity. Power was restored everywhere in about five hours. But the questions the blackout raised about the wisdom of the government’s promise to shut down nuclear power stations will linger much longer.

Free Thai Visas Remain in Doubt (2017-08-29)
(CNA) Thailand has not yet announced whether or not it will continue the policy of issuing free visas to Taiwanese nationals, a policy which will expire at the end of August. Launched in December, Thailand began a program to issue Taiwanese tourists free visas to visit Thailand in an effort to spur tourism within the region. There has also been demand for a reciprocal program where Thai nationals could enter Taiwan without a visa.

Tsai is Leading a Fascist Regime: Ma (2017-09-01)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Yu-fu, Tseng Wei-chen and Jonathan Chin) Former President Ma Ying-jeou accused President Tsai Ing-wen of leading a "fascist" regime when he participated in a hunger strike supporting KMT lawmakers. The hunger strike was intended to show opposition to the supposedly unconstitutional methods the DPP used to pass the recent budget bill. The KMT caucus has pledged to launch a new strategy to oversee the plan's implementation.

Independence Groups Call for Education Localization (2017-09-04)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) Pro-independence groups have asked President Tsai Ing-wen to localize education to reinforce the Taiwanese identity. According to these groups, the native language of Hoklo (Taiwanese) should be required for school entrance exams and history courses should be adapted to be more global rather than maintaining the current China-centric curriculum. Also, flags with symbols of Taiwanese independence were banned at the Taipei Summer Universiade. All of these instigators have led pro-independence groups to assert that Taiwan is moving away from "Taiwan" and toward "Chinese Taipei."

Premier Resigns, Cabinet Reshuffle Slated for Thursday (2017-09-04)
(China Post) The current Premier of Taiwan Lin Chuan will resign on Thursday along with the entire Cabinet. Lin's resignation comes after a series of controversial policies during his tenure. Tainan Mayor William Lai is reported to be Lin's replacement, though the Executive Yuan has yet to confirm this report.

Groups Call for Release of HK Democracy Advocates (2017-09-03)
(Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerber) Protestors burned photos of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in a demonstration in Taipei to demand the release of imprisoned Hong Kong democracy advocates. The protestors viewed the imprisonments as increasing encroachment on Hong Kong autonomy by Beijing, fearing that Taipei would fall next. Other than the release of the prisoners, the group called for the withdrawal of lawsuits against protestors and the reinstatement of several disqualified pro-democracy lawmakers.
PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
The Likelihood of Cross-Strait Armed Conflict and Taiwan’s Military and Political Readiness: An Interview with Arthur Ding (2017-09-06)
(Taiwan Security Research, By Eric Rowe) To gain a better understanding of how likely it is for an armed conflict between Taiwan and China to occur, what could cause an armed conflict to erupt, the military readiness of both sides, and Taiwan’s political will to defend itself, Taiwan Security Research conducted an interview with Dr. Arthur Ding, a Professor Emertius at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University.

Army to Transfer Drones and Equipment to Navy (2017-08-29)
(Taipei Times, By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin) The Ministry of National Defense stated that the Army will transfer its entire fleet of Juiyuan medium-sized drones to the Navy this week. The drones will be used to monitor activity in Taiwan's territorial waters and increase maritime surveillance capabilities. However, the transfer of these drones could interfere with the Coast Guard's plan to purchase rotary-wing drones.

US Warfare Center Detects Formosat-5 (2017-08-29)
(CNA) The US Department of Defense's warfare command center has detected and numbered the Formosat-5 satellite. The satellite was launched from California on Friday. The satellite will be used to provide data to Taiwan that can be used in national security, geopolitical, scientific, and academic purposes.

China is Seizing Air Supremacy: MND (2017-09-01)
(CNA) A Ministry of National Defense report stated that China has the ability to seize air supremacy and slowly gain control of the Taiwan Strait. China's recently improved surveillance and information techniques are widespread enough to support all its other military actions. While China continues to conduct far-sea testings, it regularly also manages to fly over the first island chain in the Pacific, which consists of Taiwan, Japan, Borneo, the northern Philippines, and other major islands.

Retired General Sentenced to Eight Months for Spying (2017-09-02)
(Taipei Times, By Jason Pan) The Supreme Court upheld a ruling to sentence Retired Major General Hou Shih-cheng to eight months of prison for attempting to recruit military officials to spy for China. Hou had created a business in 2008 and in attempting to expand it to China, met a Shanghai City Government official Tang who agreed to help him in exchange for being introduced to Taiwanese military officials that may work in a spy network. The court said Hou was aware of China's attempts to infiltrate the Taiwanese military.

New Missile Command to Better Coordinate Defenses (2017-09-02)
(CNA) The Taiwan Air Force has created a Republic of China Air Force Air Defense and Missile Command to better coordinate air defense operations. This new command has control over missile radars, ballistic missile launchers, and a radar system. This occurred alongside President Tsai's reiteration of her commitment to increasing military spending and the defense budget next year.

ECM Upgrading of F-16s Begins (2017-09-04)
(CNA) Taiwan's fleet of F-16 fighter jets have begun to be upgraded for better air-to-air and air-to-ground surveillance capabilities. This upgrade is in accordance with the Government Procurement Act which stipulates the Taiwan Air Force should obtain the same equipment used by the U.S. Air Force.
U.S.-China Relations
China-US Mistrust Over THAAD a ‘Military Relations Failure’, US Defence Official Says (2017-09-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Zhenhua Lu) The mistrust between the US and China over the deployment of a US missile defence system on the Korean Peninsula is a “failure of military relations” between the sides, a long-time US defence adviser said, adding that persuading China that the system is not against it could be extremely difficult for the US.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Countering Chinese Coercion: The Case of Doklam (2017-08-29)
(War on the Rocks, By Oriana Skylar Mastro and Arzan Tarapore) Two nuclear-armed powers have stepped back from the brink — for now. Yesterday India and China announced they had agreed to end a two-month border confrontation, in which a few hundred troops had faced off in the Doklam area claimed by both China and Bhutan, and many thousands more had been placed on heightened alert. The immediate crisis seems to be over, but it offers tantalizing insights into Chinese coercive strategies and how they may be thwarted. This has implications not only for India in its own land border disputes, but also for several Southeast Asian nations and the United States, as they all confront China’s attempts to expand its control and influence.

Vietnam Protests Over Chinese Military Drill in South China Sea (2017-09-01)
(Reuters) Vietnam has opposed what it called a Chinese announcement of military exercises in a disputed area of the South China Sea. Disagreements over the two nations’ rival claims to the waters have pushed tensions between the neighbours to the highest level in three years.

U.S. to Challenge China With More Patrols in Disputed Waters
(Wall Street Journal, By Gordon Lubold and Jeremy Page) The Pentagon for the first time has set a schedule of naval patrols in the South China Sea in an attempt to create a more consistent posture to counter China’s maritime claims there, injecting a new complication into increasingly uneasy relations between the two powers.

Why India Did Not ‘Win’ the Standoff with China (2017-09-01)
(War on the Rocks, By M. Taylor Fravel) The end of a standoff between India and China over a remote road on the Doklam plateau has prompted a vibrant discussion about the lessons learned. The emerging consensus is that India “won” and China “lost.” India’s willingness to challenge China is even viewed as providing a model that other states can use to counter Chinese coercion. If others stand up, China will back down. Nevertheless, this consensus is misplaced. And the sports analogy of winning and losing obscures much more than it reveals.

The United States Has Not Lost the South China Sea (2017-09-01)
(The Diplomat, By Tuan N. Pham) Some academics and analysts have suggested that the United States has lost its influence over the South China Sea region, especially following Chinese domination of the last ASEAN Regional Forum meeting and increased Chinese presence in the region. While America may have lost some influence, its policy remains to be one of accommodating and balancing against the PRC. Furthermore, many ASEAN nations have pursued greater relations with the United States in order to balance against Chinese power.

What South China Sea Rivals Can Learn From the Doklam Border Dispute (2017-09-03)
(South China Morning Post, By Sourabh Gupta) The successful application of China-India boundary management protocols bears wider relevance to the South China Sea, East China Sea and the Western Pacific, where such mechanisms operate rudimentarily at best.

Chinese Fishing Fleets Threaten to Inflame Tensions in Disputed Seas (2017-09-03)
(South China Morning Post, By Laura Zhou) The end of a fishing ban in the South China Sea could raise the risk of conflicts between China and its neighbours as mainland fishermen – usually under the protection of the coastguard – return to the disputed waters.

How America Can Keep From Losing in the South China Sea (2017-09-04)
(The Diplomat, By Tuan N. Pham) The US must begin to change their strategy in the South China Sea by embracing new forms of strategic competition with China. Furthermore, America must maintain its focus on the region and pay close attention to furthering its interests and supporting its allies, who all may suffer from a greatly empowered China. The US must also shift towards a focus of economic integration into the region, such as by pursuing bilateral agreements with smaller states in the region, which would serve as a direct counter to China's economic influence.

The Korean Peninsula

China Refuses to Condemn North Korea’s New Missile Launch (2017-08-30)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) While Japan, the United States, and other actors have outright condemned the latest North Korean missile launch, China has yet to do so, instead advising to stay calm and exercise restraint. The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that sanctions are ineffective, but still stated that they are opposed to the DPRK's missile launches in general.

NSC Keeping a Close Eye on North Korea Situation
(Taipei Times, By Chung Li-hua, Lu Yi-hsuan and Jake Chung) The National Security Council will provide consistent updates on developments in the region after North Korea launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan earlier this week. President Tsai Ing-wen has instructed several government departments to be on alert and to provide as much information as possible. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said that the Republic of China condemns the provocative action by North Korea.

2 Days After North Korea Missile Test, a Show of U.S. Airpower (2017-08-31)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-Hun) The United States and South Korea completed their annual joint military exercises by flying warplanes two days after a North Korean missile test over Japan.

North Korean Nuclear Test Draws U.S. Warning of ‘Massive Military Response’ (2017-09-02)
(New York Times, By David E. Sanger and Choe Sang-Hun) The North’s sixth nuclear test on Sunday was its most powerful yet, but it was unclear whether it had in fact detonated a hydrogen bomb.

Allies for 67 Years, U.S. and South Korea Split Over North Korea (2017-09-04)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-Hun) The uneasy relationship between President Trump and South Korea’s leader is testing a seven-decade alliance at a critical time.

A Nuclear Slap in China’s Face (2017-09-05)
(Foreign Policy, By William Tobey) Xi styles himself as the strongest Chinese leader since Mao, but Kim Jong Un has humiliated him repeatedly, for example by killing Kim family members who were close to Beijing. In the latest affront, North Korea’s sixth, and by far largest, nuclear test upstages a BRICS summit meeting Xi is hosting, and comes just before next month’s crucial Chinese Communist Party Congress, where he hopes to consolidate further his hold on the country. The specter of nuclear chaos is hardly consistent with the image of control that he seeks to project.

U.S. Desire for North Korea Oil Cutoff Puts China in a Tight Spot (2017-09-05)
(New York Times, By Jane Perlez) China’s leader will not want to look weak in the face of American pressure. But a destabilizing war on the Korean Peninsula would be even less welcome.

North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal Threatens China’s Path to Power (2017-09-05)
(New York Times, By Jane Perlez) Beijing has made little secret of its goal to replace the United States as the major power in Asia, but North Korea presents a nettlesome challenge.

China ‘Shoots Down Incoming Missiles’ During Exercise Over Waters Close to North Korea (2017-09-05)
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) China shot down “incoming missiles” in the early hours of Tuesday morning during a military exercise held over the waters that separate it from the Korean peninsula. The drill, which began at midnight and came just two days after Pyongyang conducted its latest nuclear test, challenged a ground unit, under China’s air force, to shoot down simulated low flying missiles in the skies over Bohai Bay, according to a report by the official military news website 81.cn.

China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

China Sets Date for Major Communist Party Reshuffle (2017-08-31)
(New York Times, By Javier C. Hernández) President Xi Jinping is poised to win a broad mandate for his policies at the congress that will open in Beijing on Oct. 18, and he will most likely further consolidate his power.

Man Jailed for Selling VPNs to Evade China’s ‘Great Firewall’ (2017-09-04)
(South China Morning Post, By Nectar Gan) A man has been sentenced to nine months in jail for selling virtual private networks to circumvent internet censorship, amid Beijing’s tightening crackdown on ways to get around its “Great Firewall”. Deng Jiewei, a 26-year-old from Dongguan in Guangdong province, was convicted of “providing software and tools for invading and illegally controlling the computer information system”, according to court documents posted on a website run by the Supreme People’s Court.

China’s Rights Crackdown Is Called ‘Most Severe’ Since Tiananmen Square
(New York Times, By Nick Cumming-Bruce) A report by Human Rights Watch outlines moves by China to silence critics, and faults the United Nations for overlooking the country’s abuses.

Beijing and Hong Kong

Law Criminalising Insults to National Anthem Passed by China’s Legislature, With Detention for Offenders (2017-09-01)
(South China Morning Post, By Stuart Lau, Tony Cheung, and Kimmy Chung) China’s top legislature on Friday passed a law that will eventually apply in Hong Kong, criminalising disrespect for the national anthem and laying out stiff penalties for offenders, including periods in detention. Concerns in Hong Kong about the implications for freedom of expression prompted the city’s justice minister to give an assurance that the government understood such anxieties and would gauge public views first.

Beijing Reins in Hong Kong (2017-09-01)
(East Asia Forum, By Victoria Hui) In the aftermath of the Umbrella Movement in December 2014, Chen Zuoer, former chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies and the former deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, vowed to rein in ‘Hong Kong’s governance’. He declared a struggle against all the societal forces behind the protest, ‘from the street to the law courts, to the Legislative Council, to inside the government and to universities and secondary schools’. By August 2017 he could declare ‘mission accomplished’.

China's Foreign Relations

The Belt and Road to China-based Globalisation (2017-08-31)
(East Asia Forum, By Colin Mackerras) China’s image appears to have worsened over the last few years and is now undergoing another serious downturn due to global reaction over Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo’s death. But what the West thinks may not be the crucial factor in the long term. In all likelihood, the impact of the BRI over the next several decades will be huge.

Xi Urges BRICS Leaders to Work Together to Boost Globalisation as Summit Ends in China
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu) China called for more support for free trade and a more open global economy as it wrapped up a summit of the world’s leading emerging market economies on Tuesday. Addressing a summit for the BRICS nations – which also include Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa – on Tuesday in Xiamen, President Xi Jinping said emerging markets and developing countries would be the major engine for driving global growth but were confronted with more complicated and severe external situations.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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