::: TSR Weekly Report
2018-01-08 | NO.41(53) 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
Prosecutors: China Paid Wang for Propaganda (2018-01-03)
(Taipei Times, By Huang Chien and Hsieh Chun-lin) An investigation into New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung has found that China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) allegedly promised to pay Wang NT$15 million to NT$16 million (US$506,278 to US$540,030) annually for running the pro-unification propaganda Web site Fire News, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday.

New Party Spokesman Denies Allegations of Collusion (2018-01-03)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung yesterday rejected prosecutors’ conclusion that an online news platform and association in which he is involved are funded by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, accusing prosecutors of making groundless accusations.

Taipei Protests after Beijing Opens New Aviation Corridors over Taiwan Strait (2018-01-04)
(Kyodo) Beijing opened four new aviation corridors over the Taiwan Strait for use on Thursday, prompting Taiwan to strongly protest and demand immediate negotiations with Beijing. The mainland’s Civil Aviation Administration announced on its website that commercial aircraft could begin from Thursday flying south to north through the M503 air corridor, and using three connecting regional corridors.

China's Unilateral New Flight Routes "Destabilizing": President Tsai (2018-01-05)
(CNA, By Leaf Chiang, Yeh Su-ping and Kuan-lin Liu) President Tsai Ing-wen referred to the Chinese establishment of four new flight routes through the Taiwan Strait a destabilizing force that needs to be avoided while referring to regional stability as important. She also reiterated Taiwan's commitment to the status quo, asking "all other parties" to do the same. An official representative of the US State Department shared similar sentiments.

New M503 Flight Route Unilaterally Changes Taiwan Strait Status Quo (2018-01-05)
(CNA, By Yeh Su-ping and Kuan-lin Liu) Alex Huang, a spokesperson for the Presidential Office, spoke out against the establishment of Chinese flight routes through the Taiwan Strait. He said that the route unilaterally changes the status quo and will impact regional peace and stability. Since then, both the President and the Mainland Affairs Council have spoken out against the establishment as well.

Taiwan Calls for Talks with China on Aviation Issues (2018-01-07)
(CNA, By Wang Shu-fen and Evelyn Kao) Following China's establishment of four new air routes through the Taiwan Strait last week, Taiwan is calling for discussions with China regarding said issues. The new air routes have sparked some concerns in Taipei about the impact they will have on existing domestic Taiwanese flight routes.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Taiwan's Domestic Politics

President Attends New Year's Day Flag-Raising Ceremony (2018-01-01)
(CNA, By Yeh Su-ping, Ku Chuan, Liang Pei-chi and Frances Huang) It was the second time that Tsai was attending the flag-raising ceremony in her capacity as the president, since taking office in May 2016. When the flag was being hoisted, Tsai sang the national anthem without skipping the part that says "the fundamentals of my party," as she had done on previous occasions. The words "the fundamentals of my party" are seen as pertaining to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), the party of the Republic of China's founding father Sun Yat-sen.

Committee Sets Sights on Association
(Taipei Times, By Chen Yu-fu) The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee is to investigate alleged links between the Republic of China Public Service Association and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) next month to determine if the association was a KMT affiliate helping the party consolidate its rule during the authoritarian era.

Cabinet Denies Reshuffle Reports (2018-01-03)
(Taipei Times, By Chen Wei-han) The Executive Yuan yesterday dismissed a report about a planned Cabinet reshuffle involving five ministers, including Minister of Labor Lin Mei-chu and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee. The Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that the government was considering removing Lee, Minister of Finance Sheu Yu-jer, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung and Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong ahead of the Lunar New Year, adding that Lin would resign following the passage of draft amendments to the Labor Standards Act.

Taiwan’s Political Party System—Past, Present and Future (2018-01-04)
(Taiwan Insight, By John F. Copper) With populism having succoured the left (meaning Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP) yet it being denounced by liberals in the U.S. and Europe as the precursor of communism and fascism and a threat to democracy, Taiwan’s confused relationship with China (via independence or not), politicians during campaigns habitually promising more than they could possibly deliver, and more such factors, it is exceeding difficult to gauge Taiwan’s future political party system.

KMT Lawmakers Say Immigration Policy Too Slow (2018-01-06)
(Taipei Times, By Cheng Hung-ta and Jake Chung) KMT legislators criticized the Cabinet as moving too slowly on immigration reform and asked them not to consider new measures as ways to prevent crime. They discussed several of the difficulties faced by immigrants to Taiwan. KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an further introduced a draft bill for some immigration reforms as well.

Oceans Ministry Needed to Assert Nation's EEZ: Official (2018-01-07)
(Taipei Times, By Hung Ting-hung) Aviation Safety Council Chairperson Hwung Hwung-hweng said that Taiwan should establish an oceans ministry or council on maritime affairs to better defend Taiwan's exclusive economic zone. He said that this would be necessary to declare sovereignty over the area as well as bring neighboring nations to the negotiating table.

Taiwan's Foreign Relations

Trade Volumes in Special Zones Rise More Than 50%
(Taipei Times, By Shelley Shan) Trade volume at the Port of Kaohsiung’s free-trade zones rose by more than 50 percent as of November, Taiwan International Ports Co said yesterday. Trade volume and trade value in the free-trade zones have grown significantly since the port received London Metal Exchange (LME) certification in 2013, the company said.

MOFA Tells Nigeria Trade Office to Move from Taipei (2018-01-03)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has issued a formal diplomatic note requesting the relocation of the Taipei-based Nigeria Trade Office in Taiwan. The ministry on Dec. 8 completed the relocation of the nation’s representative office in Nigeria from its capital, Abuja, to Lagos and the office is to begin operations on Friday, Department of West Asian and African Affairs Director-General Antonio Chen told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Taiwanese Man Bailed over Oil Transfer to North Korean Ship (2018-01-04)
(South China Morning Post, By Lawrence Chung) A man from Taiwan has been released on bail as part of the wider investigation into the Hong Kong-registered tanker accused of breaking UN sanctions by transferring oil to a North Korean ship. Prosecutors in Taiwan suspect that Chen Shih-hsien was the oil dealer behind the transfer of the fuel.

Taiwan Should Reach a Tax Agreement with the US: Premier (2018-01-04)
(CNA, By Shih Hsiu-chuan) Premier Lai Ching-te stated on Thursday that Taiwan and the US should create an agreement to prevent the same income from being taxed twice in each country and to further boost supply chain links. If such an agreement is created, tax rates for companies in either country will be cut to 10 percent. Lai has instructed the Ministry of Finance to facilitate the signing of such an agreement.

Vice President Chen to Attend Inauguration of Honduran President (2018-01-04)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and Kuan-lin Liu) Vice President Chen Chien-jen will be attending the inauguration of the re-elected Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The trip is still under the planning phase. President Tsai Ing-wen called President Hernandez in late December to congratulate him on his victory.

Taiwan's Office in Nigeria Drops "Republic of China" from Name (2018-01-05)
(CNA, By Kuan-lin Liu and Elaine Hou) Following the Nigerian government's order to remove "Republic of China" from its name, the new trade office of Taiwan in Nigeria bears the name "Taipei Trade Office in Nigeria." The new office, which was ordered to move from the capital, Abuja, to Lagos by the Nigerian government, is scheduled to open on Friday. The orders reportedly came from Chinese pressures.

Vietnamese Language Section Added to New Southbound Policy Portal (2018-01-05)
(CNA, By Elaine Hou and William Yen) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs added a Vietnamese language section to the official website for the New Southbound Policy in order to better share information with Vietnamese readers, joining with the Chinese and English versions which already exist. An Indonesian section was also added a few weeks ago. Vietnam is a key target of the New Southbound Policy, along with India and several other South and Southeast Asian nations.

US Commentator Urges Trump to Support Taiwan Amid China's Threats (2018-01-06)
(CNA, By Kuan-lin Liu and Leaf Jiang) Tom Rogan, a US political commentator, said that President Donald Trump should respond to increased aggression from China against Taiwan by sailing a carrier strike group near Taiwan. He suggested to do this outside, but near, the Taiwan Strait so that it would threaten, but not escalate, greater tensions. He further suggested that the US should ask its global allies to respond as well.

Can Tokyo Traverse 2018’s Geopolitical Tightrope Between Beijing and Taipei? (2018-01-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Takehiro Masutomo) However, the improving China-Japan relationship suggests that the window of opportunity for Tokyo and Taipei to seal a free-trade agreement, the most viable and significant cooperation initiative at this stage, is closing. Taiwan wants trade talks with its third-largest trade partner, Japan, to pave the way for its inclusion in a much broader, Japan-led Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
Chinese Navy Trains More Fighter Pilots for Expanded Aircraft Carrier Fleet (2018-01-02)
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) China’s navy on Tuesday said it had stepped up fighter pilot training near the Bohai Sea this winter as it prepares to expand its aircraft carrier fleet. The PLA Navy has started training its own pilots – rather than recruiting them from the air force – at its Naval Aeronautical University, which opened last year with a main campus in Yantai, Shandong. Fighter pilot cadets are using the country’s most advanced training aircraft at that campus and three others – in Liaoning, Hebei and Shanxi provinces, the official PLA Daily reported.

PRC Threatening Regional Security: US Academics (2018-01-04)
(CNA) An analyst at the US Project 2049 Institute think tank said that an increase in Chinese military buildup posed a greater threat to regional security and stability. Another analyst from the Rand Corporation also said that the PLA is engaging in "deterrent diplomacy," where they push peace by threatening large-scale military action through large buildups. However, neither analyst believes that war is imminent.

China’s New Killer Drone Conducts Missile Firing Tests (2018-01-03)
(The Diplomat, By Franz-Stefan Gady) The new Wing Loong II unmanned aerial vehicle has managed to hit five successive targets with five separate types of missiles as part of its flight testing, setting a new record. The drone was primarily designed to be sold for export, with Saudi Arabia interested as a potential buyer for the technology.

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Monitored as it Travels Near Taiwan: MND (2018-01-05)
(CNA, By Liu Lee-jung and William Yen) The Ministry of National Defense announced that the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning sailed through the median of the Taiwan Strait on Friday. They did not report any abnormal activity and are continuing to monitor for any threats. Liaoning is China's first aircraft carrier and sparked tensions when it sailed through the Taiwan Strait in July 2017 shortly after its construction was completed.

Taiwan Will Not Deploy IDF Jets to Penghu Year-Round: Air Force (2018-01-06)
(CNA, By Liu Lee-jung and Ko Lin) Following a rumor that Taiwan may deploy a fleet of Indigenous Fighter Jets to Penghu County, the Air Force responded that it was pure speculation and that the claim was unrealistic. A rumor had earlier spread that this would be a response to China's establishment of four new air traffic routes through the Taiwan Strait.

PLA's Missions Aim to Alter Taiwanese Opinion: Analysts (2018-01-07)
(Taipei Times, By William Hetherington) Analysts in Taiwan have suggested that China's military missions near Taiwan throughout the past year have been a part of a strategy to influence public opinion. They cite the experience and past use of Chinese propaganda as examples of its effectiveness and its precedent. The Ministry of National Defense emphasizes that it remains ready to address any issues that may arise.

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

China’s Air Force Targets South China Sea with New Strategic Expert in Top Ranks
(South China Morning Post, By Choi Chi-yuk) A Chinese air force general with specialist expertise in the South China Sea has been parachuted into the top flight of the military wing’s Communist Party ranks, highlighting the strategic importance of the disputed waters. Shanghai-based online news portal Thepaper.cn reported on Monday that Lieutenant General Xu Anxiang, 61, formerly head of the air force’s Southern Theatre Command, had been transferred to become one of the 10 members of the standing committee of the air force’s Communist Party committee.

The Korean Peninsula

China’s Point Man on North Korea Promoted in Diplomat Reshuffle
(South China Morning Post, By Shi Jiangtao) Beijing’s top diplomat in charge of North Korean and Asian affairs has been promoted to deputy foreign minister, underlining China’s efforts to stabilise its often troubled relations in the region. The appointment of assistant foreign minister Kong Xuanyou was unveiled along with a slew of personnel changes at the ministerial level by state media on Tuesday. Analysts said the move showed a generational shift in the diplomatic establishment was under way that would likely see a reshuffle of Foreign Minister Wang Yi and several of his deputies, as well as the heads of key diplomatic missions around the world.

South Korea Proposes Border Talks With North Korea After Kim’s Overture (2018-01-02)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-hun) South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, moved quickly to embrace Kim Jong-un’s proposal to start inter-Korean dialogue and send a team to the Olympics.

China Welcomes North Korea’s Rare Overture, But US is Sceptical (2018-01-03)
(South China Morning Post, By Shi Jiangtao) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reopened a cross-border communication channel with South Korea on Wednesday nearly two years after it was disabled, prompting a mixed response from Beijing and the US-led alliance against Pyongyang’s nuclear provocations. While Beijing welcomed the reopening of the border hotline as a positive sign from the North following months of inflamed tensions, Washington was sceptical about Pyongyang’s rare overture.

The ‘Nuclear Button’ Explained: For Starters, There’s No Button (2018-01-03)
(New York Times, By Russel Goldman) The image of a leader being able to launch missiles with the push of one finger has, for decades, instilled fear.

North and South Korea Agree to Border Talks Next Week (2018-01-05)
(New York Times, By Choe Sang-hun) The talks could lead to a thaw in the tensions over the North’s nuclear program, but President Moon Jae-in of South Korea has vowed to take a tough line in negotiations.

Understanding the US-China Impasse on North Korea (2018-01-05)
(IPP Review, By John F. Copper) What China would like is for the US to practice a little patience, as China does. Doing so, the two would likely succeed in their mission of a denuclearized and more peaceful North Korea.

How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea (2018-01-06)
(New York Times, By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad) For decades, they warned the North was making progress on a missile that could reach the United States. But the last breakthroughs happened faster than they expected.
U.S.-China Relations
China Hits Back at Donald Trump’s ‘Zero-Sum Mentality’ on Trade, Threatens Retaliation (2018-01-03)
(South China Morning Post, By Frank Tang) Beijing on Wednesday criticised Washington’s “zero-sum mentality” with regards to bilateral trade and threatened to retaliate against the tougher stance taken by US President Donald Trump in recent weeks. “China and the United States are about to ride a bumpy journey in trade in 2018 if the US government goes it own way, and retaliatory measures by China could be on the table,” Xinhua said in an English-language commentary. The article did not say what measures the government might take.

As America Withdraws From Latin America, China Steps in (2018-01-04)
(The Diplomat, By Antonio C. Hsiang) Despite the fact that Latin America has historically been largely influenced by US foreign policy, recent years have shown a US withdrawal from the region, which has allowed China to easily come in and implement its own foreign policy goals. This is evident through the ease of which China managed to spread the Belt and Road Initiative into Latin America, including partners such as Argentina. Although the current US administration seems content with withdrawal and ceding power to China in Latin America, this will be a challenge to reverse should the American mindset change.

How Washington’s Allegations of ‘Overseas Influence’ Shifted to China from Russia (2018-01-06)
(South China Morning Post, By Zhenhua Lu) Underscoring the Republican Party’s domination of the US government at all levels and the Trump administration’s America-first mantra, allegations of overseas influence operations against China have moved to the centre of the US political stage. In addition to Trump’s national security strategy, in which the president accused China of trying to “influence [US] operations, economic inducements and penalties”, such allegations have undergirded Trump-ordered governmental investigations, Congressional committee hearings, legislative recommendations on China’s soft power campaign through educational institutions, think tanks and state-run media.

China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Beijing and Hong Kong

Democracy Advocates March in Hong Kong
(Reuters) Thousands of protesters urged China not to meddle further in the city’s affairs and undermine its autonomy.

China's Foreign Relations

First Djibouti ... Now Pakistan Port Earmarked for a Chinese Overseas Naval Base, Sources Say
(South China Morning Post, By Minnie Chan) Beijing plans to build its second offshore naval base near a strategically important Pakistani port following the opening of its first facility in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa last year. Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said the base near the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea would be used to dock and maintain naval vessels, as well as provide other logistical support services.

A Chinese Flag Flies over Sri Lanka as China Extends its Reach into India’s Backyard (2018-01-05)
(South China Morning Post, By Kinling Lo) On the first day of the new year, the Chinese and Sri Lankan flags were hoisted to the same height over the Hambantota port in the Indian Ocean nation. It was the first time the Chinese flag had risen over the loss-making facility which Sri Lanka formally handed over to a Chinese state firm in a US$1.12 billion deal. The port deal is just one of a series of infrastructure forays China has made into Sri Lanka in a region usually regarded as India’s backyard.

2018: China Vows to Be the Keeper of International Order (2018-01-02)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in his 2018 New Year's Day speech that a goal of his is to make China the keeper of the international order. He covered China's major achievements, both in the domestic and international spheres, through his speech. He also mentioned China's support for the United Nations in his speech.

2017: A Tough Year for China-India Relations (2018-01-04)
(The Diplomat, By Ivan Lidarev) Through a combination of military tensions and competing strategic and influencing interests, India and China's relationship has reached new hardships throughout the past year. The biggest example of this, rising as a result of a combination of factors, was the summer military standoff in the Doklam region. Ties between India and China are increasingly looking worse, and the results of doing so would be terrible for the region as a whole.

China: Ties With Cambodia Have Become 'Model of Country-to-Country Relations’ (2018-01-05)
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) China’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said that the relationship between China and Cambodia embodied the perfect example of country-to-country relations. He made the statement at a press conference announcing that Premier Li Keqiang would be visiting Cambodia to discuss bilateral agreements and issues and focus on the relationship between the two countries. Cambodia is a strong supporter of Beijing's opinion and serves as an ally for China within the ASEAN circle.

China-Backed AIIB on Track for US Dollar Bond Launch by Mid-2018 (2018-01-07)
(Reuters) The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) may issue its first US dollar-denominated bond by the end of June this year, according to a state media report on Sunday citing the bank’s treasurer Soren Elbech.

China-Pakistan Military Ties Set to Get Even Closer as ‘Iron Brothers’ Eye New Alliance (2018-01-07)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) With reports that China is planning to build its second offshore naval base near a strategically important Pakistani port it appears that the relationship between Beijing and Islamabad is as strong as ever. Once dubbed “iron brothers” by the now retired vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Fan Changlong, the two countries have steadily increased cooperation on military and defence matters in recent years as they seek to counter the perceived threat from rivals India and the United States.

How Will China Handle European Disenchantment? (2018-01-08)
(South China Morning Post, By Mathieu Duchatel) China may choose to ignore problems in relations with Europe and focus on expanding its influence in areas where it does not meet resistance. However, given the current emphasis on a higher international profile, it is not entirely out of question that China concludes that a more constructive approach is needed to overcome the stalemate with Europe. If this is the final assessment in Beijing, it should come with an awareness that cosmetic moves will not be sufficient to restore a positive dynamic in the relationship.

Macron Signals French Interest in China’s New Silk Road Ambitions (2018-01-08)
(South China Morning Post, By Liu Zhen) French President Emmanuel Macron signalled his country’s interest in Beijing’s massive New Silk Road plans, starting his three-day visit in the ancient capital of Xian but also calling for more balanced trade with China. In a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping later on Monday, Macron said France would like to take part in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, offering support for Xi’s plans to revive land and sea trade routes connecting Asia and Europe via massive infrastructure projects.

The Grand Narratives of Chinese FDI Aren’t So Great (2018-01-09)
(East Asia Forum, By Alvin Camba) Rather than the essentially benevolent investment stream portrayed by Chinese actors or a grand plan directed by the Chinese government as often depicted by Western media outlets, Chinese FDI can be more usefully studied by investment type, host country context and regional variation.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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TSR received a favorable review by the Foreign Affairs (July/Aug 2000)
The Best of Asia-Pacific Web Award
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