::: TSR Weekly Report
2018-02-20 | NO.41(59) epaper |
Note to Readers
New Publication Takashi Inoguchi and Ankit Panda (2018) "Japan's Grand Strategy in the South China Sea: Principled Pragmatism," in Anders Corr, ed., Great Powers, Grand Strategies: The New Game in the South China Sea (Naval Institute Press, PP. 199-223)
Cross-Strait Relations
Japan Denies Bowing to China Pressure over Taiwan Quake Condolences Message (2018-02-14)
(Kyodo) The Japanese government has denied that a protest from Beijing was behind a decision to drop the Taiwanese president’s name from an online version of a message sent by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week in response to a devastating earthquake. Abe’s message of condolence and support was addressed to President Tsai Ing-wen when it was released to the press on Thursday, but the version subsequently uploaded to the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s website lacked her name.

US Must Not Accept Any Coercive Unification Moves By China: Officer
(CNA, By CNA correspondent and S.C. Chang) A US military officer said that the United States will continue to defend Taiwan and would not stand for any attempts from China to reunify Taiwan and the Mainland. He also stated that arms sales to Taiwan were a crucial part of the US-Taiwan relationship and provided a way for Taiwan to defend itself as Chinese military spending increases.

Students Protest in Taipei over Canceled Flights (2018-02-15)
(Taipei Times, By Lee Hsin-fang and Tseng Wei-cheng) Several Taiwanese students held a protest in front of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications office in Taipei over the difficulty in returning home to Taiwan following canceled flights as a result of the Chinese decision to unilaterally launch new flight routes through the Taiwan Strait. The students accused the Ministry of using the students as political pawns in the conflict. They have also submitted a petition to the Presidential Office.

Taiwan Monitoring Reported China-Vatican Bishop Appointment Deal (2018-02-19)
(CNA, By Joseph Yeh) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responding to a reported breakthrough in the bishop appointment issue between China and the Vatican. They will be monitoring the issue closely in light of reports of a deal potentially being signed next month. The report also states that Taiwan may be forced to move its embassy in the Holy See as a gesture of goodwill to Beijing.

A Cross-Strait Chill? You Wouldn't Know It From Taiwan's Economic Data. (2018-02-16)
(The Diplomat, By Shannon Tiezzi) Taiwan's GDP growth over the past year is a good sign of stability despite tense cross-strait relations. Due to President Tsai Ing-wen's refusal to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, communication across the Taiwan Strait has stopped, but the economic impact of said halting of communications does not seem to be taking a toll on Taiwan. Taiwanese firms face competition from Chinese firms now, serving as a more traditional threat over politically motivated ones.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
 Japanese, UK Envoys Wish Taiwanese Happy Year of Dog (2018-02-15)
(CNA, By Fan Cheng-hsiang and S.C. Chang) The delegations of the United Kingdom and Japan to Taiwan have wished the Taiwanese people a happy lunar new year and a prosperous Year of the Dog. The Japanese delegation expressed further condolences to the victims of the earthquake, while the UK delegation encouraged further exchanges between Taiwan and Britain.

Minister Addresses Nation's Diplomatic Challenges (2018-02-15)
(Taipei Times, By Stacy Hsu) Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee, in a video extending Lunar New Year greetings, said that Taiwan's diplomats were not frustrated with Taiwan's diplomatic challenges and would work tirelessly to represent Taiwan's interests. He mentioned that the New Southbound Policy had grown in scale while relations with the US and Europe had grown stronger over the past year.

Communications with US Smooth Despite Statement: Taiwan Envoy (2018-02-19)
(CNA, By Chiang Chin-yeh and Joseph Yeh) Taiwan's envoy to the United States said that despite a recent US comment that the US does not recognize the Republic of China as a country, communications and relations with the US remain strong. He emphasized that Taiwan's status as a sovereign state is "the status quo." He also said that the two nations should move past the issue of recognizing Taiwanese sovereignty and should look to the future.
PLA, Military Balance and Arms Sales
Boss of Taiwanese Shipbuilder Charged with Fraud over US$1.2 Billion Navy Contract (2018-02-13)
(Agence France-Presse) The chairman of a Taiwanese shipbuilding company that won a contract to build six naval ships was charged in a loan fraud case on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the island’s ambitions to grow its domestic defence industry. Taiwan relies on its main ally the United States as its biggest arms supplier, but since coming to power in 2016, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been pushing to strengthen the island’s own military equipment technology and manufacturing capabilities.
U.S.-China Relations
FBI Chief Says Chinese Operatives Have Infiltrated Scores of ‘Naive’ US Universities (2018-02-14)
(Associated Press) The FBI on Tuesday warned US universities about Chinese intelligence operatives active on their campuses, adding that many academics display “a level of naivete” about the level of infiltration. FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that China has aggressively placed operatives at universities, “whether its professors, scientists, students,” and the bureau must monitor them from its 56 field offices across the nation.

US Secret Service Denies China ‘Nuclear Football’ Skirmish
(Agence France-Presse) The US Secret Service denied on Monday reports that one of its agents and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wrestled with Chinese security officials over the “nuclear football” during President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing in November. Chinese security officials blocked the US military aide carrying the briefcase that carries the procedures and communications equipment that allow the US leader to launch nuclear missiles as the official entered the Great Hall, according to the Axios news website.

Jared Kushner: US Special Counsel Robert Mueller Probes Donald Trump Son-in-Law’s China Business Dealings During Presidential Transition (2018-02-20)
(Agence France-Presse) Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing Jared Kushner’s efforts to get foreign investors beyond Russia to provide financing for his company during the presidential transition, including in China, CNN reported Monday.
China's Domestic Politics and Foreign Relations
Domestic Politics in Mainland China

China Issues Formal Charges against Former Communist Party Star Sun Zhengcai (2018-02-13)
(South China Morning Post, By Nectar Gan) Sun Zhengcai, the former member of China’s Politburo who was once tipped as a possible future leader, has been formally charged with bribery, the top prosecutor’s office announced on Tuesday.

10 Million Catholics in China Face Storm They Can’t Control
(New York Times, By Ian Johnson) As the powers that be in Beijing and the Vatican negotiate over who appoints clerics, many worshipers have more pressing worries.

China's Former Internet Czar Lu Wei: A ‘Shameless,’ ‘Extremely Disloyal,’ ‘Double-faced Man’?
(The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) Lu Wei, once known as China's "internet czar" for his establishment of great controls over China's internet industry, has been expelled from the CCP and dismissed from his office after being accused of misconduct. The specific wording in the official statement is much more harsh than what has been previously published.

China's Foreign Relations

Western Media Reveals Anti-China Bias (2018-02-05)
(China Daily/IPP Review, By John F. Copper) More importantly, the Western mainstream media dreads China’s rise, seeing it as a threat to the liberal world order. In China, Western liberal democracy is not an ideology to admire or follow. Rather, China is influenced by its history of defining world politics wherein economic influence trumps military power.

Shipping Finance: China’s New Tool in Becoming a Global Maritime Power (2018-02-13)
(Jamestown Foundation, By Virginia Marantidou) The Maritime Silk Road—one leg of the trans-Eurasian “Belt and Road Initiative” is a network of Chinese-funded infrastructure projects along global shipping routes. A less studied, but perhaps more important contributor to Chinese maritime dominance is shipping finance. While the first one has monopolized the interest of policy makers, investors, and maritime experts, China’s growing shipping portfolios and its role in shipping finance is largely overlooked outside the shipping industry circles.

The United Front Work Department in Action Abroad: A Profile of The Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (2018-02-13)
(Jamestown Foundation, By John Dotson) The CPPRC is only one example out of many synthetic civic groups managed by Beijing, which have long been employed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party to pose as nominally independent outlets that campaign in support of PRC policies. As the UFWD assumes an ever-more influential role in shaping the foreign policy narratives of the PRC, the Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China and other front organizations are likely to also assume a larger role as outlets for the propaganda themes of their parent organization.

Maldives Crisis Could Stir Trouble Between China and India
(New York Times, By Mujib Mashal) Opposition leaders want India to intervene against the nation’s president, who declared a state of emergency this month, and who is seen as an ally of China.

China’s United Front Work: Propaganda as Policy (2018-02-14)
(The Diplomat, By Mercy A. Kuo) The United Front Work Department works to have various groups represented by the CCP under a common set of ideals and goals. However, propaganda is seen as a useful tool in bringing said groups together and painting a specific image towards the public.

The New Concept of “Sharp Power” in International Politics: A Critique (2018-02-15)
(IPP Review, By John F. Copper) Then, President Xi’s world order is refreshingly new and different. It is based on a “community of shared human destiny” — a new kind of globalization wherein Cold War security alliances are replaced by a system of common security. Xi wants a global system that is equitable, inclusive, and fair.

Chinese Media Misrepresents Top China Scholar (2018-02-16)
(The Diplomat, By Adam Ni) An article written for The Diplomat by Bates Gill was translated into Chinese and published by various Chinese media outlets, but the translation omitted several key sections of the article, leading to massive misrepresentations of the conclusions drawn. It includes the reasons that US allies should be skeptical of President Trump's talk on being tough with China, but neglects to mention the call to action at the end of the article for President Trump to back up what he says. An argument for why this happened is that it does not fall in line with the Chinese narrative presented officially.

Xi Jinping May Turn to Top Ally to Handle US Pressure (2018-02-16)
(The Diplomat, By Don Tse and Larry Ong) Given the Trump administration's newly confrontational attitude towards the United States, President Xi Jinping is likely seeking to appoint Wang Qishan, former anti-corruption chief, as China's next vice president. Wang and Xi have a long history as comrades and partners, and he has experience dealing with crises within China. However, internal party faction conflict may prevent Xi from appointing Wang to the desired post.

China’s Economic Ties with EU Take Hit as Investment Falls and Distrust Rises (2018-02-18)
(South China Morning Post, By Wendy Wu) After years of growth, China’s trade ties with its biggest partner, the European Union, seem to be foundering, with frictions growing over a range of issues from steel overcapacity to market access, human rights and the South China Sea. The tensions were apparent at the end of last year when Brussels and Beijing were due to hold the annual China-EU High-Level Economic Dialogue but the meeting never took place, sources told the South China Morning Post.

China and Vatican Close to a Deal on Appointment of Catholic Bishops, Report Says (2018-02-19)
(South China Morning Post, By Kristin Huang) Beijing and the Vatican are close to reaching an agreement on the appointment of bishops in mainland China, a move that could end decades of hostilities between pro-government and underground Catholic groups. According to a report by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Sunday, from late March onwards “every day is a good day [for the Vatican] to sign the agreement with the Chinese authorities”.

New Zealand Investigates Claims of Chinese Link to Break-Ins at Academic’s Office and Home (2018-02-20)
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) New Zealand’s prime minister has ordered the country’s security agencies to investigate a university professor’s claims that burglaries at her home and office were linked to her academic research on Chinese government influence in New Zealand politics. Anne-Marie Brady, a specialist in Chinese and polar politics at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury, made the claims while addressing an Australian parliamentary committee last week.
Territorial Disputes, the Korean Peninsula, and Other Regional Issues
Territorial Disputes

Coastguard on the Front Line as Japan Protests over Chinese Incursions in East China Sea (2018-02-13)
(South China Morning Post, By Teddy Ng and Kinling Lo) Japan has lodged a formal protest with China over the entry of three Chinese coastguard ships into Japanese territorial waters in the East China Sea. The protest came after the United States said it would expand its coastguard presence in the Western Pacific to strengthen security ties with smaller nations – a move likely to prompt dismay in Beijing.

China Has Built Seven New Military Bases in South China Sea, US Navy Commander Says (2018-02-15)
(Kyodo) The commander of the United States Pacific Command on Wednesday warned of China’s growing military might, saying Beijing had unilaterally built seven new military bases in the South China Sea. “China is attempting to assert de facto sovereignty over disputed maritime features by further militarising its man-made bases,” Admiral Harry Harris said in a congressional hearing.

China’s South China Sea Islands Won’t Stop Lawful Patrols, US Navy Says (2018-02-17)
(Associated Press) American forces will continue to patrol the South China Sea wherever “international law allows us”, a senior US Navy officer said aboard a US aircraft carrier on Saturday. Lieutenant Commander Tim Hawkins said the US Navy had carried out routine patrols at sea and on air in the strategic waters for 70 years to promote regional security and guarantee the unimpeded flow of trade crucial for Asian and US economies.

China’s Rising Challenge to US Raises Risk of South China Sea Conflict, Philippines Warns
(South China Morning Post, By Catherine Wong) The risk of “miscalculation” and armed conflict in the South China Sea is rising as China starts to challenge US dominance in the disputed waters, according to the Philippines’ envoy to Beijing. The assessment comes as Beijing appears to have expanded its communications links and other facilities on artificial islands in the area.

The Korean Peninsula

U.S. Opens Door to North Korea Talks, a Victory for South’s President
(New York Times, By Mark Landler and Choe Sang-hun) The tactical shift by the White House could introduce an unpredictable new phase in the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

US-South Korea Military Drills to Go On Despite Pyongyang’s Charm Offensive: Former CIA Officer (2018-02-17)
(South China Morning Post, By Robert Delaney) South Korean government officials have offered assurances that their joint military exercises with the US, which were pre-empted by the Winter Olympic Games, will proceed despite North Korea’s recent efforts to rebuild ties with Seoul by inviting President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang.

The Korean Peninsula after the Olympic Detente (2018-02-19)
(East Asia Forum, By the Editorial Board) If the credibility of the negotiation process and North Korea’s post-denuclearisation future can be guaranteed, the peacebuilding intent of the ancient Olympic spirit could yet be carried into modern times.

Other Regional Issues

Putting the ‘Pacific’ into Japan’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (2018-02-15)
(East Asia Forum, By Sandra Tarte) If there are any lessons to be learnt from the recent past, it is the importance of keeping in mind the implications for Japan of the Pacific’s evolving regional order. Whatever the decision taken, Japan should not this time leave the announcement to the last minute.

PacNet #13 - Is the “Indo-Pacific” Construct Trump’s Pivot to Asia Policy?
(CSIS, By Aaron Rabena) The Trump administration appears to have adopted the “Indo-Pacific” as a framework and active instrument of its Asia strategy. Apparently, though, this is not so different from the Obama administration’s 2011 “Pivot” or “Rebalance” to Asia in terms of seeking to sustain US leadership and commitment, centralizing the regional security agenda, and checking Chinese behavior and regional dominance.

US Diplomatic Demolition Not Here to Stay (2018-02-16)
(East Asia Forum, By Jeffrey Robertson) What this suggests is that the US State Department’s diplomatic doldrums will not last, and that a better and stronger foreign service will emerge out of the rubble. Despite what Trump seems to believe, the role of the diplomat is not disappearing. The hope is that it will not require a more serious diplomatic fiasco than the one in South Korea for the United States to realise the importance of strengthening its State Department.

Contact: James Lee, Senior Editor 

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