::: TSR Weekly Report
2017-11-20 | NO.41(46) 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
Panama Opens Embassy in Beijing, as Leader Voices Support for ‘One-China’ Principle (2017-11-16)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela voiced his support for the “one-China” principle on Thursday as the country opened its first embassy in Beijing, five months after it ditched Taiwan and established diplomatic ties with the mainland. Varela, who is on a weeklong visit to China, is expected to meet President Xi Jinping on Friday, when the two will witness the signing of about 20 agreements. He said that he and Xi had agreed to initiate political dialogue and discuss issues such as cooperation on tourism, justice, trade and maritime logistics.

Ma Ying-jeou Urges Return to Original "1992 Consensus"
(Taipei Times, By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jake Chung) Former President Ma Ying-jeou said that the DPP should return to the original spirit of the 1992 Consensus, which just recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of its inception. Ma further stated that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait were Chinese by ethnicity and took note of the fact that President Xi Jinping repeatedly referenced the 1992 Consensus at the 19th Party Congress.

Xi Jinping Hails Panama Leader as a Hero for Cutting Links with Taiwan in Favour of Mainland China (2017-11-17)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) Chinese President Xi Jinping has lauded his Panamanian counterpart Juan Carlos Varela as being a “hero” for establishing diplomatic ties with the mainland.

Panama’s Switch From Taipei to Beijing Could Be a Model for Others, President Says (2017-11-20)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said his country’s decision to shift diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing could be a model for other countries but would not affect its relations with Washington. In Beijing on a week-long trip to foster Chinese links with Panama and the rest of Latin America, Varela said on Monday that he hoped his trip would not only underline Panama’s support for Beijing’s “one-China” policy, but also signal that Panama welcomed China’s growing presence in the United States’ backyard.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Taiwan's Domestic Politics

Taipei to Probe Censorship of ROC Flag (2017-11-19)
(Taipei Times, By Tsai Ya-hua, Huang Chien-hao and William Hetherington) The Taipei City Government has announced that it will investigate Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand (MOD) service after several users complained about the censorship of the ROC flag. The documentary in question was supposedly an edited version intended for broadcast in Hong Kong. Several city council members raised concerns that the censorship of the flag was an insult to the nation.

Taiwan's Foreign Relations

Taiwan Advocate Considered For US Defense Position (2017-11-13)
(Taipei Times, By Nadia Tsao and Jake Chung) Sources in Washington, DC have reported that Alexander Gray may soon be tapped for deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Trump administration. Grey has long been a proponent of increased Taiwanese national defense and is familiar with military affairs between China and Taiwan.

Taiwan in a Challenging East Asia Security Environment
(Taiwan Insight, By Gordon Houlden) The economic rupture of East Asia caused by a meltdown of deeply intertwined relations between the US and China would not spare Taiwan, or its economy. The potential gains of closer political and military linkages between Washington and Taipei in the wake of fractured US-PRC relations would most probably be more than outweighed by the economic dislocation that would likely follow, as well as the prospect of a more aggressive stance by Beijing towards Taipei.

Trump’s First Asia-Pacific Tour: The View From Taiwan
(The Diplomat, By Cheng-Fung Lu) Donald Trump's visit to Asia highlighted the significant pillars of the US-China relationship, but the issue and importance of Taiwan in this context was not explicitly detailed. President Xi Jinping urged the United States to abide by the One China Policy in light of potential greater relations between the US and Taiwan following President Tsai Ing-wen's transit stop in Hawaii and President Trump's refusal to halt arms sales to Taiwan.

Relations with Dominican Republic Stabilized: MOFA
(CNA) Following a series of high-level official visits, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic have been stabilized. Earlier last month, there were fears that the Dominican Republic may switch its diplomatic recognition to Beijing over Taipei. The embassy in Santo Domingo had heard rumors of large monetary packages being offered from Beijing to the Dominican Republic in an effort for Beijing to woo the Dominican Republic's support.

Al Gore Visits Taiwan to Speak at Electric Scooter Developer Gogoro's Office (2017-11-17)
(CNA) Former US Vice President Al Gore visited Taipei to speak about environmental issues at electric scooter maker Gogoro's offices. The visit was kept relatively underground, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that no visits between Gore and Taiwanese government officials were planned.

US Legislators Recommend More Military Exchanges (2017-11-17)
(CNA) The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its newest report that the Trump administration should invite Taiwan to participate in future military exercises, at least as an observer state. The Commission detailed that the US should be offering Taiwan more support in military and security exchanges to better improve Taiwanese defense objectives.

Official Urges US-Taiwan Digital Trade Partnerships
(CNA) A visiting US trade official had stated that the US and Taiwan should be focusing on bilateral ventures to benefit digital trade, especially for overseas trade. These partnerships could further promote the Cabinet's "five plus two" industrial development program as well as the New Southbound Policy.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Why Shinzo Abe Stopped Prodding Beijing on the South China Sea (2017-11-15)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) China and Japan have signalled their intent to put bilateral relations back on track, raising hopes for the resumption of a stalled three-way summit with South Korea to tackle a shared threat. During the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila this week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was careful not to mention disputes in the South China Sea, while Chinese leaders called for both countries to build on the positive momentum. Chinese analysts said tensions appeared to be easing between the two neighbours amid the threat from North Korea but China would wait to see if Tokyo’s pleasantries would be translated into Beijing-friendly policies.

Parsing Trump’s Recent Policy Statements on the South China Sea
(The Diplomat, By Mark J. Valencia) Despite US President Donald Trump's heated rhetoric and strong words towards the need for strong leadership and respect for international law in resolving the South China Sea conflicts, at a closed-door meeting with ASEAN officials during his recent trip to Asia, Trump's only comment was about a "need for fair trade" regarding the South China Sea. This led to concerns about the US's commitment to peacefully mediating the conflict, and it led to further issues when US and Vietnamese official statements seemed to contradict one another.

Asean’s ‘Landmark’ South China Sea Deal May Not Mean It Will All be Plain Sailing in Future (2017-11-20)
(South China Morning Post, By Richard Heydarian) After years of non-stop tensions among claimant states, this is undoubtedly the right step in the right direction. The challenge, however, is to make sure that the final COC will be negotiated expediently and has a consequential impact on the management and resolution of the decades-long disputes.

The Korean Peninsula

China Will Send Envoy to North Korea, Likely to Urge Nuclear Talks (2017-11-15)
(New York Times, By Jane Perlez) The move to meet with Kim Jong-un of North Korea comes less than a week after President Trump’s visit to Beijing. But analysts are skeptical about its prospects.

China Envoy Discusses ‘Situation of the Korean Peninsula’ With North
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-Hun) President Xi Jinping’s special envoy met with North Korean officials in Pyongyang as Washington presses China to rein in its neighbor’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

South Korean Official Says Trump’s Visit Improved Relations
(New York Times, By Rick Gladstone) Choo Mi-ae, the leader of the Democratic Party of South Korea, says she thinks President Trump learned something about the Korea crisis on his trip.

Trump Returns North Korea to List of State Sponsors of Terrorism
(New York Times, By Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger) North Korea had been removed from the list under the George W. Bush administration in an attempt to salvage negotiations for a nuclear deal.

Xi Jinping’s Envoy Heads Home from North Korea But China Silent on Talks with Kim Jong-un (2017-11-20)
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) A special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his four-day visit to North Korea on Monday with no mention of a meeting with Kim Jong-un, the leader of the reclusive state. State-run Xinhua reported that Song Tao met North Korean officials in Pyongyang and discussed ties between the two countries and the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Other Regional Issues

PacNet #82 - After China’s 19th Party Congress – Implications for the Regional Architecture and Order (2017-11-08) (Center for Strategic and International Studies) President Xi Jinping has consolidated his power after the recent 19th Party Congress in China. How will China’s behavior on the international stage change during Xi’s second term and what does China’s continued rise mean for the regional architecture and order? Will China seek to gradually “ignore” ASEAN centrality as it seeks to create a more Sino-centric regional order based on Chinese characteristics?

The Belt and Road Initiative and Asia’s Changing Order (2017-11-15)
(East Asia Forum, By Nick Bisley) More broadly, the BRI reflects an ambition to fill in the missing piece of the connectivity puzzle that will create a more China-centred regional order. The question is whether the United States will contest China’s efforts or be too busy with its own travails to even realise that there is a competition. If Trump’s first nine months in office are any indication, China has the field wide open.

Trump Declares ‘America First’ Policy a Success After Asia Trip
(New York Times, By Michael D. Shear) Home from a 12-day trip to Asia with few concrete achievements, Mr. Trump made no significant announcements in what he had hyped as “a major statement.

Why Vietnam Is Wary of Fellow Communist China’s Growing Clout (2017-11-16)
(Bloomberg News) To understand the challenges Xi Jinping faces in assuming greater leadership in world affairs, look no further than the Chinese president’s travels through his own backyard this week. Over five days in Vietnam and Laos, Xi played two seemingly disparate roles: defender of global commerce and torch-bearer for international communism. While the trip presented China as an alternative to a more inward-looking US, it also showed the region’s ambivalence to embrace Beijing’s world view.

Can East Asian Regionalism Be a Bulwark Against a ‘Post-Liberal’ West?  (2017-11-18)
(East Asia Forum, By See Seng Tan) Despite the present uncertainty surrounding regional trade deals like the TPP and RCEP, East Asia’s shared commitment to open regionalism makes East Asian regionalism an important counter-narrative and alternative model to the isolationist and protectionist zeitgeist. This is perhaps the most important role that East Asian regionalism can and hopefully will play in the future: as a bulwark against the anti-globalisation tide reinforcing a liberal message.

The Policy Significance of Trump’s Asia Tour
(The Diplomat, By Roncevert Ganan Almond) President Trump's trip to Asia covered three policy goals: the North Korean threat, greater US-led bilateral trade agreements, and the idea of a "free and open Indo-Pacific region." It further allowed the President to escape several of his current domestic challenges. While the trip only recently concluded, one may already analyze the results of the trip to establish an initial outlook on what the future may hold in terms of the Trump administration's Asia policy.

U.S. Marine Involved in Deadly Crash on Okinawa (2017-11-19)
(New York Times, By Motoko Rich) Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Nicholas James-McLean had been driving under the influence of alcohol.
U.S.-China Relations
Goldman Sachs’s China Deal Prompts Questions About Country’s U.S. Investment (2017-11-15)
(New York Times, By Ana Swanson and Keith Bradsher) The bank’s $5 billion pact with an arm of the Chinese government to make deals in the United States highlights political divisions over trade and investment.

US Urged to Block China’s State Companies from Buying High Security Risk American Assets (2017-11-16)
(South China Morning Post, By Lu Zhenhua) The US should block China’s state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds from acquiring US assets, particularly the country’s “critical technologies or infrastructure” exposed to potential national security risks, a US congressional advisory committee said. The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) recommended in its annual report that Congress consider updating legislation pertaining to national security reviews of foreign investment to address “current and evolving security risks”.

Trump Says He Helped Free U.C.L.A. Players in China. Critics Ask, What About Activists? (2017-11-20)
(New York Times, By Javier C. Hernández) President Trump, rights advocates say, squandered a chance in Beijing to help free Chinese dissidents facing harsh prison sentences.

How the US Stopped Complaining about China’s Exchange Rate Policy (2017-11-20)
(South China Morning Post, By Frank Tang) The United States’ loud complaints about the Chinese currency’s exchange rate, a thorny issue in the two nations ties over the past decade, have quietly faded away since Donald Trump became US president.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

Why China’s Central Military Commission Got Downsized (2017-11-15)
(The Diplomat, By Don Tse) There are three primary reasons as to why the CMC was downsized in the 19th Party Congress. These include Xi Jinping's objective of power consolidation, his avoidance of internal backlash from expanding it, and to buy time.

China’s Propaganda Chief Warns Against ‘Seduction’ of Western Values (2017-11-17)
(Reuters) Western countries are trying to push their culture and political values onto others, seducing them into abandoning their own, China’s propaganda chief warned on Friday, saying the country must follow its own path.

China's Foreign Relations

Chinese Nationalism Jostles With Academic Freedom in Australia (2017-11-15)
(New York Times, By Xiuzhong Xu) Chinese students, an increasingly crucial source of revenue, are challenging what they see as anti-China slights, raising censorship concerns.

Seeing U.S. in Retreat Under Trump, Japan and China Move to Mend Ties
(New York Times, By Motoko Rich and Jane Perlez) With President Trump creating unease in Asia, two longtime adversaries inch toward a possible rapprochement that reflects a shifting power balance.

The Real Source of China's Soft Power
(The Diplomat, By Thomas Barker) Soft power, the ability to convince others of a position or to get what you want through culture, values, and policies, is becoming much more of a prevalent issue in China as it aims to compete with the United States on the global stage. Despite recent efforts to develop it, China has not made a lasting impression on the world through soft power yet. This could be due to a difference between image and actions, issues within Chinese media, or the inherent nature of China's political system.

Why a Stronger Xi Jinping is Taking a Gentler Approach in China’s Foreign Affairs (2017-11-19)
(South China Morning Post, By Wang Xiangwei) In his report to the congress, Xi vowed that China would continue to seek a greater role in world affairs in a new era as it strides towards the global centre-stage. In this context, it is interesting to see that, contrary to popular expectations, after securing a stronger mandate at the conference, Xi appears to have adopted a more conciliatory approach to foreign policy.

Why a Chinese Communist Party Branch at the University of California, Davis, Was Disbanded (2017-11-20)
(South China Morning Post, By Nectar Gan and Zhuang Pinghui) A group of visiting Chinese scholars in the United States have dissolved a Chinese Communist Party cell they set up at the University of California, Davis, citing fears about violating US laws. The scholars – six party members and one probationary member – raised eyebrows over the weekend after they were reported to have founded a party branch at the university earlier this month.

Australian Furor Over Chinese Influence Follows Book’s Delay (2017-11-20)
(New York Times, By Jacqueline Williams) The decision by a leading publisher to postpone a book about Chinese sway in Australia is itself seen as evidence of Beijing’s meddling.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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