::: TSR Weekly Report
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2017-09-11 | NO.21(36) 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
Finally, Strategic Clarity in the South China Sea. Is the Taiwan Strait Next? (2017-09-07)
(The Diplomat, By Joseph Bosco) The United States has begun new Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea, which will be reflective of the enforcement of international laws around the region. Now that the South China Sea is affected by these policies, the Taiwan Strait should also be subject to the same freedom of navigation policies, considering it consists of international waters. While the Obama administration was reluctant to challenge Chinese territorial claims, the Trump administration could take a new view and could emphasize the US commitment to defend Taiwan.

Taiwanese Activist ‘May Be Forced to Plead Guilty’ in Mainland China Subversion Trial (2017-09-09)
(Associated Press) The wife of a Taiwanese activist Beijing accuses of subversion said her husband may be pressured into pleading guilty when his trial begins on Monday, but she was hopeful that he could return home safely. Lee Ching-yu said on Saturday that she planned to travel this weekend to attend Lee Ming-che’s trial in Yueyang, Hunan province. Supporters sitting beside her held up signs calling on the mainland to release the activist.

Beijing Most Concerned with China Policy (2017-09-10)
(Taipei Times, By Shih Hsiao-kuang) Regardless of how Taiwan adjusts its staffing, China will continuously be concerned with the China policy of Taiwan, according to China's Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun. The main question facing the Democratic Progressive Party at the moment according to Zhang is whether cross-strait relations are based upon "one China, two nations" or "one China, one Taiwan."

Taiwanese Rights Activist Pleads Guilty to Subversion in China’s Mainland (2017-09-11)
(Agencies) A Taiwanese pro-democracy activist pleaded guilty on Monday to subverting state power in mainland China’s first criminal prosecution of a non-profit worker since Beijing passed a law tightening controls over foreign non-governmental organisations. Lee Ming-che’s supporters, though, quickly said he had been forced to confess to crimes he had not committed.

Cross-Strait Relations: Skepticism Abounds (2017-09-11)
(China Leadership Monitor, By Alan D. Romberg) Whether the issue is internal splits within Taiwan’s two major political parties or Beijing’s view of the parties and their leaders, the predominating mood today is skepticism.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
William Lai Appointed Premier (2017-09-05)
(China Post) The announcement was made by Tsai at a press conference at the Presidential Office. Lai will take over Lin Chuan - both of whom were present at the event - as the head of the Executive Yuan on Thursday. Tsai counted the accomplishments of the outgoing premier and praised him as a man of character who is willing to sacrifice for reform. 

MOFA Asks for League Funding Despite Criticism (2017-09-05)
(Taipei Times, By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested almost US$883 billion to fund anti-Communist NGOs, relics from the Cold War era, which have been denounced as wasteful by pan-green lawmakers. Much of the money would go towards "classified" diplomatic spending. President Tsai Ing-wen has claimed that funding specific organizations is inappropriate, instead stating that proper channels for NGOs should be used.

Taiwan and Austria Ink MOU on Higher Education (2017-09-05)
(CNA Brussels) The Ministry of Education signed a memorandum of understanding with the Management Centre Innsbruck to promote a Taiwanese studies program. The ministry will fund the university programs through courses and thesis writing along with other activities. It will also offer a scholarship for one student to learn Chinese per year.

Thailand's Visa-Free Lag Not Tied to "One China": MOFA (2017-09-05)
(CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified that the delays in Thailand reciprocating Taiwan's new visa-free policy for Thai nationals had little to do with the one China policy. Taiwan implemented the new policy as part of the New Southbound Plan, but Bangkok had yet to implement a complementary policy in Thailand for Taiwanese nationals. The Thai government is supposedly looking at all related factors before making a final decision.

Analysis: Lin's Departure Aimed at Midterm Polls (2017-09-06)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) Prior to his resignation, former Premier Lin Chuan's approval ratings had fallen to 28.7%, for the public had been discontent with all of Lin's major reforms. Lin failed to obtain support from even within the Democratic Progressive Party. The resignation of Lin and appointment of Lai suggest a possible bid by Lai for the 2020 presidential election.

Terms Commuted in Vietnam Student Visa Bribery Case (2017-09-07)
(CNA) Hsiao Yu-wen's sentence was shortened from 12 to 10 years by the Taiwan High Court. He was first found guilty in a student visa corruption scandal. The commutations were given after Hsiao was found innocent of a forgery charge and because his accomplice's offenses happened in Hanoi, outside Taiwanese jurisdiction.

Calm Down About Taiwan’s New Premier (2017-09-08)
(The Diplomat, By Michael A. Turton) Despite the popular hype and discourse between the appointment, William Lai's promotion to Premier was not influenced by cross-strait relations or any foreign policy objectives. The appointment was most probably the result of internal DPP politics combined with a desire to expose him to voters in Taipei and to the national government. To analyze Lai's post as more than this shows the double standard placed on Taiwanese domestic politics and the tendency to inflate everything as negatively affecting cross-strait relations.

Ministry Too Passive on UN Participation: Alliance (2017-09-09)
(Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerber) The Taiwan UN Alliance stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be more proactive in applying for full UN membership and finding opportunities to participate in the organization. MOFA officials have stated that instead of pursuing full membership, they will be trying to pursue a more "moderate" path to participation, including simply participating in certain organizations, such as the World Health Assembly. The Alliance will travel to the US to lobby for Taiwanese UN membership this weekend.

Minister Urges UN to Remember Nation's Contributions (2017-09-09)
(CNA) Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee has asked the UN to not forget the people of Taiwan, who have contributed significantly to the world's Sustainable Development Goals. Taiwanese citizens are allowed to enter many countries around the world with visa-free agreements, they are still prevented from entering UN headquarters. Lee stated that Taiwan fares well with human rights and equality compared to many nations around the world.

Low Rating Due to 'Unclear' Goals (2017-09-10)
(Taipei Times, By Su Fang-ho) Former President Lee Teng-hui said the reason for President Tsai Ing-wen's low approval rations is due to her unclear national goals. For that reason Lee approves of the selection of William Lai for Premier due to his efficiency and steadfast belief that Taiwan is an independent nation.

Taiwan Should Participate on the Global Stage, Stop Complaining, Lawmaker Says (2017-09-11)
(Taipei Times, By Lin Chia-nan) DPP lawmaker Lin Ching-yi said yesterday that Taiwan should stop complaining about oppression and instead should play its part in contributing to global sustainable development. The remarks were made at a Taipei forum meant to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Environmental Protection Administration Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei further questioned Taiwan's ability to assist environmental refugees and goals to end dependence on nuclear power in the coming years.

Deputy Minister Hopes for More S Korean Exchanges (2017-09-11)
(CNA Seoul) Deputy Minister of Culture Yang Tzu-pao discussed Taiwan's cultural relations with South Korea, expressing his desires for further cooperation between the two countries. He added that Taiwan could learn from the marketing strategies South Korea has used to popularize South Korean TV and music around the globe. Further discussions took place regarding business opportunities and logistics for exchanges.

PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
Oh Fang, Where Art Thou? Xi Jinping and the PLA’s 90th Anniversary (2017-09-11)
(China Leadership Monitor, By James Mulvenon) As the Chinese Communist Party heads into the 19th Party Congress in October, Xi Jinping’s speech commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army was notable both for what he said and what he did not say. This article dissects the speech and assesses implications for party-military relations, Xi’s relationship with the military, and the upcoming leadership shuffle at the 19th Congress.
U.S.-China Relations
Lacking a Point Person on China, U.S. Risks Aggravating Tensions (2017-09-06)
(New York Times, By Mark Landler) Aside from President Trump himself, it remains unclear who in the administration wields genuine influence on the relationship with Beijing.

Billionaire Who Accused Top Chinese Officials of Corruption Asks U.S. for Asylum
 (2017-09-07)
(New York Times, By Michael Forsythe) The request by Guo Wengui poses a challenge to the Trump administration, which is trying to enlist Beijing on confronting North Korea and other issues.

Chinese Attitudes toward the U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords (2017-09-11)
(China Leadership Monitor, By Michael D. Swaine) China’s leaders strongly oppose President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords. Since Trump’s announcement, authoritative Chinese views have avoided criticizing the administration and have instead stressed the importance of both recognizing climate change as a global issue and the need for multilateral cooperation to combat it.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

America, China and the South China Sea: False Premises and Wishful Thinking
 (2017-09-06)
(The Diplomat, By Mark J. Valencia) In a response to Tuan N. Pham's recent commentaries on the South China Sea and the United States's role in the conflict, Mark Valencia refutes that the United States has made concessions to China regarding the conflict. He instead argues that China is attempting to center the world around itself and see itself as a new global hegemon, rather than to convince the world to see China as an equal power to America.

Taiwan Could Help Resolve Territorial Dispute: UK Expert (2017-09-09)
(CNA) A visiting British expert mentioned that Taiwan could hold the key to resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea. He attributed his thinking to the fact that the Republic of China was the first to stake territorial claims in the region and noting that Taiwan still possessed many historical ROC documents. Furthermore, political openness makes it easier to discuss territorial and sovereignty issues in Taiwan compared to in China or Vietnam.

Indonesia, Long on Sidelines, Starts to Confront China’s Territorial Claims (2017-09-10)
(New York Times, By Joe Cochrane) A military buildup and maritime skirmishes involving Chinese boats suggest a more aggressive posture by Indonesia in the South China Sea.

A FONOP Schedule in the South China Sea: What Next? (2017-09-11)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) The US Department of Defense earlier this month began to organize a regular freedom of navigation operations schedule in the South China Sea as a response to increased Chinese aggressions in the region. The new schedule will serve not only to target Beijing, but will be used as a legal signaling tool, encouraging all states to follow international law. However, in the past, Chinese behavior has not changed as a result of FONOPs.

The Korean Peninsula 

U.S. Seeks U.N. Consent to Interdict North Korean Ships
 (2017-09-06)
(New York Times, By David E. Sanger) The measure would fall short of a full blockade of the kind used in the Cuban missile crisis, but could set the stage for conflicts at sea.

Chinese Navy Keeps Firm Focus on Northern Shores as North Korean Tensions Rise (2017-09-07)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) China’s navy has remained firmly focused on protecting its northern shores in the last two years – shifting its attention only briefly at the height of tensions in the South China Sea. But military observers said the People’s Liberation Army Navy was also conducting more drills further afield to raise its international profile and extend its reach.

Implosion of Trump’s Korea Policy Requires Moon to Step Up (2017-09-07)
(East Asia Forum, By Stephen Costello) China, Japan, Russia and the UN all have good reasons to welcome Seoul’s lead on breaking this impasse, but none of them has the legitimacy, interest, flexibility or capacity to take the lead by themselves. Only South Korea does, and it can expect broad and robust cooperation.

Pushing Seoul’s North Korea Agenda in the US (2017-09-09)
(East Asia Forum, By Jeffrey Robertson) South Korea is facing a major foreign policy challenge, and it’s not North Korea. It’s ensuring that the United States is aware of and understands South Korea’s policy preferences for handling North Korea — a challenge that has recently become much more important.

Can China and Russia Work Together to Defuse Korean Peninsula’s Nuclear Crisis? (2017-09-09)
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) Even though China had earlier hinted that it is likely to support tougher sanctions, diplomats said they would expect resistance from Beijing and Moscow. Beijing and Moscow’s sentiments are being studied carefully as the two are Pyongyang’s only remaining allies. The repeated launch of ballistic missile and nuclear tests has prompted China and Russia to team up to counterbalance US calls for tougher sanctions.

China’s Xi Urges France’s ­Macron in Phone Call to Help Restart Talks with North Korea (2017-09-09)
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) President Xi Jinping yesterday urged his French counterpart ­Emmanuel Macron to help restart negotiations with North Korea, as leading UN members consider a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang. Xi’s telephone conversation with Macron was the latest ­between the leader of China and other world powers. US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone with Xi on Thursday and Wednesday respectively,­ state news agency Xinhua said.

After U.S. Compromise, Security Council Strengthens North Korea Sanctions (2017-09-11)
(New York Times, By Somini Sengupta) The Security Council adopted a measure that sets a modest cap on oil imports to North Korea, far weaker than what the United States had sought.

Time to Prepare for the Worst in North Korea (2017-09-11)
(East Asia Forum, By Jia Qingguo) The United States and South Korea have long tried to persuade China to hold talks on contingency planning. So far Beijing has resisted the idea for fear of upsetting and alienating Pyongyang. But, given recent developments, Beijing may have no better choice than to start talking with Washington and Seoul.

What China Can and Can't Do About North Korea (2017-09-11)
(The Diplomat, By Ankit Panda) The relationship between China and Taiwan has faltered and deteriorated under the leadership of Kim Jong-un. Further nuclear escalation from North Korea has encouraged Beijing to continue its strategy of balancing both the US, Japan, and Western powers with North Korea on the other side through de-escalatory tactics. However, China has yet to show how it can use its economic influence over North Korea as an advantage in this crisis.

Other Regional Issues

Whither Trump’s Asia Policy?
 (2017-09-04)
(East Asia Forum, By Sheila A Smith) Nine months later, there is little evidence that the Trump administration will craft a definitive foreign policy for Asia. Rather, it seems increasingly likely that US policy towards Asia will be reactive rather than prescriptive, framed by Trump’s transactional ambitions on trade and counterbalanced by the United States’ longstanding security alliances.

Why Asia Needs to Show the Way on Trade Strategy (2017-09-10)
(East Asia Forum, By Peter Drysdale) RCEP was designed by ASEAN policy strategists to buttress regional trade reform and lift Asia’s growth potential in the global economy. It is now the only active, credible multilateral endeavour anywhere in the world positioned to deliver significant push-back on the retreat from globalisation, soon.

Asia and the Threat to Global Economic Security (2017-09-11)
(East Asia Forum, By the Editorial Board) Trump’s America puts the US-created and led global economic order under threat. There is no region in the world to which this threat is more dangerous than it is for Asia. The foundation of Asia’s prosperity, its economic integration and political stability is the global liberal economic order.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

Xi Jinping Is About to Face a Constitutional Crisis (2017-09-07)
(Foreign Policy, By Thomas Kellogg) Speculation has centered on whether anti-corruption czar Wang Qishan, a close ally of Chinese President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, will remain on the Standing Committee, despite the fact that he, at 69, has already passed the informal retirement age of 68 for PSC members at the start of their term. But there’s far more at stake in this outcome than a single senior leadership post. It could mark the beginning of an open confrontation between Xi and China’s constitutional order.

A Cadre by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet? Domestic Policy Trajectory after the 19th Party Congress (2017-09-11)
(China Leadership Monitor, By Jessica Batke) In advance of the leadership reshuffle this fall, with five of seven Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) members expected to vacate their seats, observers’ focus is trained on the top candidates for advancement and the intense competition between them. Yet little is known of any given politician’s personal policy preferences, leaving us unable to estimate how his elevation might influence the development or implementation of domestic policy. In the absence of such information, this article offers a framework for projecting the policy trends that are likely to continue on no matter who finds his way to the PBSC.

Xi Jinping and the Party’s “Guiding Ideology” (2017-09-11)
(China Leadership Monitor, By Alice L. Miller) As the 19th Party Congress approaches, there is widespread speculation that the party constitution will be revised to incorporate concepts associated with party General Secretary Xi Jinping as part of the party’s authoritative “guiding ideology.” Although such a revision is possible, analysis of changes in past constitutions and available evidence from PRC media suggest a more limited outcome.

The General Secretary’s Extended Reach: Xi Jinping Combines Economics and Politics (2017-09-11)
(China Leadership Monitor, By Barry Naughton) Xi Jinping has seized the initiative in economic policy, making himself the dominant actor in financial regulation and environmental policy, among other areas. These precedent-breaking economic policy roles provide Xi clear political benefits. They strengthen the central government’s power over local actors, and confirm Xi’s personal dominance of the political process.

China's Foreign Relations

No Free AIIB Pass for Belt and Road Projects, Bank Executive Says (2017-09-08)
(South China Morning Post, By Sarah Zheng and Kristin Huang) The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will strictly scrutinise projects put to the lender even if they are part of Beijing’s ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative”, a senior bank executive said on Friday amid concerns about the bank’s loan book. Joachim von Amsberg, AIIB vice-president of policy and strategy, said the bank would weigh market demands, environmental impacts and local regulations when picking projects to back.

China Is Using America’s Own Plan to Dominate the Future of Artificial Intelligence (2017-09-08)
(Foreign Policy, By Gregory Allen and Elsa B. Kania) With China’s July 2017 Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, the country has announced that it, too, sees AI as the transformative technology that will underpin future economic and military power. China’s plan calls for exceeding all other nations in AI by 2030, but the checklist for China’s ambitious agenda is strikingly similar to the policies prescribed by the Obama administration’s reports.

China to Join Forces with Canada and EU to Continue Fight Climate Change Despite Trump Withdrawal
 (2017-09-09)
(Agence France-Presse) Environment ministers representing Canada, China and the European Union will co-host a meeting in Montreal later this month to advance implementation of the Paris climate change agreement. The ministerial meeting will include representatives from some 30 countries, according to Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna.

One China – One Europe? German Foreign Minister’s Remarks Irk Beijing (2017-09-09)
(The Diplomat, By Lucrezia Poggetti) The German Foreign Minister suggested to China that much like how the world must observe the One China Policy to conduct business with China, China should be observing a "One Europe" policy when conducting business with European nations. Minister Gabriel was referring to China's tactic of splitting the Eastern and Western European nations by threatening Eastern European nations against political criticism with economic investments. Beijing was quick to decry this comparison and warned Europe to clarify.

China’s State Council Announces Curbs on Overseas Investment (2017-09-05)
(The Diplomat, By Mercy A. Kuo) Andrew Polk, an economist and the founding partner of a Beijing-based research firm, Trivium/China, explains the implications of the Chinese State Council's curbs on overseas investment. He describes how China's politicians wish to have more say over the deployment of Chinese resources.

New Articles and Books on Taiwan and East Asia
Primordialism, Instrumentalism, Constructivism: Factors Influencing Taiwanese People’s Regime Acceptance of Mainland China’s Government by Chia-Chou Wang (Journal of Contemporary China)
Taiwan Citizens' Views of China: What Are The Effects of Cross-Strait Contacts? by T.Y. Wang and Su-feng Cheng (Journal of East Asian Studies)
The Rise of “Localism” and Civic Identity in Post-handover Hong Kong: Questioning the Chinese Nation-state by Sebastian Veg (China Quarterly)
Changing Taiwanese Identities By J. Bruce Jacobs and Peter Kang (eds.) (Routledge)

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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New Publication Religion and the Regime: Cooperation and Conflict in Contemporary Russia and China by Karrie J. Koesel (World Politics)
New Publication How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, Not Engaged Argument by Gary King, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret E. Roberts (American Political Science Review)
New Publication Primordialism, Instrumentalism, Constructivism: Factors Influencing Taiwanese People’s Regime Acceptance of Mainland China’s Government by Chia-Chou Wang (Journal of Contemporary China)
New Publication Taiwan Citizens' Views of China: What Are The Effects of Cross-Strait Contacts? by T.Y. Wang and Su-feng Cheng (Journal of East Asian Studies)
New Publication The Rise of “Localism” and Civic Identity in Post-handover Hong Kong: Questioning the Chinese Nation-state by Sebastian Veg (China Quarterly)
New Publication Changing Taiwanese Identities By J. Bruce Jacobs and Peter Kang (eds.) (Routledge)
New Publication The Taiwan Voter by Christopher H. Achen and T.Y. Wang (eds.) (University of Michigan Press)
New Publication Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? by Graham Allison (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
New Publication The China Order: Centralia, World Empire, and the Nature of Chinese Power by Fei-Ling Wang (SUNY Press)
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