• Groups Plan Symbolic Referendum on Migrant Rights (2017-08-22)
    (Taipei Times, By Abraham Gerber) Labor rights campaigners yesterday held a protest outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, complaining of legislative inaction and unveiling a plan to hold a symbolic referendum on the rights of migrant workers from next month to December. The results of the referendum will be announced at a planned labor rights march, according to an organizer. 
  • New Party Vows to Sign Peace Treaty (2017-08-21)
    (Taipei Times, By Shelley Shan) New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming yesterday said the party will continue to advocate peaceful unification with China, adding that signing a peace treaty with China would be one of its campaign promises for the 2020 presidential and legislative elections. The party announced that it has officially split with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and would position itself as a uniting force for all political groups advocating peaceful unification with China and opposing Taiwanese independence. 
  • National Defense Spending to Increase (2017-08-20)
    (Taipei Times, By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung) The national defense budget increase proposed by the Executive Yuan for fiscal 2018 is to be largely spent on personnel, while funding for equipment purchases is to be decreased by US$164.8 million, a Ministry of National Defense senior official said. Democratic Progressive Party legislators said that the defense budget increase showed that President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration was concerned with national defense, despite the budget allocation not reaching 3 percent of GDP. 
  • Cambridge University Press Removes Academic Articles on Chinese Site (2017-08-18)
    (New York Times, By Ian Johnson) The Chinese authorities had ordered the publishing house to censor more than 300 articles related to sensitive issues or its site risked being shut down. 
  • Tensions Over N Korea Could Affect Taiwan: Forum (2017-08-19)
    (CNA) Worsening relations between China and the US in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear expansion could have implications for Taiwan, experts said yesterday in a forum in Taipei on the development of Taiwan-US relations under changing dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region. The escalating tension between the US and China might leave Washington with no option but to increase its support for Taiwan through arms sales and trade, according to some experts. 
  • A Presidential Office Guard Has Been Attacked By a Man with a Samurai Sword and a PRC Flag (2017-08-18)
    (dpa) A military police officer on guard outside the Presidential Office was wounded Friday by a sword-wielding man with a PRC flag who allegedly tried to break into the building, according to police and state-run media reports. The guard sustained cuts to his neck and was rushed to the National Taiwan University hospital for treatment, the Central News Agency said. 
  • Lee Ching-Yu to Meet with UN Commission (2017-08-17)
    (Taipei Times, By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jake Chung) Lee Ching-yu, wife of Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che, who is detained in China, is planning to attend the 113th session of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in September, Taiwan Association for Human Rights Secretary-General Chiu Ee-ling said on Tuesday. 
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  • 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.
  • Amid the US-ROK Drills, China Warns Not to 'Add Fuel to the Fire' (2017-08-22)
    (The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) The United States and South Korea are conducting joint military exercises to prepare for any potential North Korean military issues, but the North Koreans see these drills as a provocative action. The Chinese government has responded by advising not to make a bad situation worse and to be mindful of the necessary de-escalation. Beijing has proposed in the past an idea where the US and South Korea would halt military exercises if North Korea stopped its nuclear program.  
  • Can China Curb North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions? (2017-08-22)
    (The Diplomat, By Son Daekwon) While Donald Trump often criticizes China for not taking more action upon North Korea and attempting to solve the crisis in the region, China's ability to influence the issues may be more limited than Trump imagines. A shared border and common ideologies are not enough to create a sense of power or control over another state, as evidenced by a failure of the Soviet Union to curb China during the Cold War. North Korea has already stated that their nuclear program takes priority over a friendship with China.  
  • China 'Strongly Dissatisfied' with US Trade Investigation (2017-08-22)
    (The Diplomat, By Charlotte Gao) The United States recently began an investigation into China's intellectual property practices. China has responded and says that they will retaliate, expressing "strong dissatisfaction" and the US side ignores WTO rules. The Chinese continue to say that they will defend all aspects of China's interests, no matter the cost.  
  • Leveraging US Military Power in South China Sea (2017-08-22)
    (The Diplomat, By Steven Stashwick) Many of the South China Sea disputes have been somehow related to the power struggle between the United States and China on a global scale. In order to solve any disputes, the US must put into place a new strategy of new military balancing strategies in an effort to avoid greater militarization of the region. Future developments depend on the two sides' cooperation and de-escalation. This will allow status quo maintenance to emerge as the norm for the region, which will at least prevent a violent outburst.  
  • Can China Be Taken Seriously on its ‘Word’ to Negotiate Disputed Territory? (2017-08-18)
    (The Diplomat, By Namrata Goswami) China's negotiations with Bhutan are notable due to their peaceful nature despite lack of official diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, it reflects a pattern in Chinese diplomacy when dealing with territorial disputes, where China and the second party agree to peaceful and calm negotiations prior to China's aggressive declaration of its claims to the global community. China intentionally breaks its agreements with other countries in negotiating tactics, presumably to constrain behavior while putting in every effort necessary to steer the conversation into Chinese domination.  
  • The Russia Factor in China's North Korea Challenge (2017-08-18)
    (The Diplomat, By Joel Wuthnow) Following the unanimous UNSC decision to implement new North Korea sanctions, the job of enforcing them falls upon China, seeing as China is North Korea's primary trading partner. However, a crucial factor in this relationship is how Russia may take advantage of a weakened relationship between China and North Korea. An increase in Russian trade to North Korea will lead to an increase in Russia's influence over the situation, especially given China's weakening influences. This idea will greatly influence China's decision on how strictly to enforce the newly-approved sanctions.  
  • A Latin American Battle: China vs. Taiwan (2017-08-19)
    (The Diplomat, By Binay Prasad) While the United States retreats from the Latin America and Caribbean regions, theoretically leaving a wide space from which China can exude its own influence, the true conflict in Latin American foreign relations is not one between the US and China. Rather, Taiwan and China have been battling over diplomatic recognition in the region, as both sides firmly commit to their definitions of the One China Principle and many of Taiwan's only 20 diplomatic partners are found in this region. Checkbook diplomacy plays a big part in the developing countries' diplomatic positions, especially as China offers more aid and poaches Taiwan's partners, as it did with Panama earlier this year.  
  • Trump Is Undercutting America’s Allies and Strengthening China’s Hand (2017-08-17)
    (The Diplomat, By Chris Carothers) US President Donald Trump's unpredictability are allowing Beijing to greater influence the East Asian sphere, especially given South Korea and Taiwan's current political issues and the looming threat of North Korea. South Korea's issues with Trump relate to his stance on North Korea and related issues as well as trade, while Taiwan deals with Trump's backing away from initially friendly relations in favor of one toward China. Issues surrounding human rights also concern South Korea and Taiwan while Trump backs away from China due to a supposedly weak North Korea position almost as quickly as Trump turned to China. Trump's unpredictability diminishes the power of South Korea and Taiwan in the face of a growing China.  
  • Beware the New China-Philippines South China Sea Deal (2017-08-17)
    (The Diplomat, By Prashanth Parameswaran) As the Philippines continues to show off its agreements and deals with China regarding South China Sea, it remains ignorant of the great potential risks to these deals and whether or not they outweigh the benefits. For example, there is no guarantee that China will honor such deals, given its history with the Philippines and South China Sea issues. Another issue is that the Philippines may give up more than it receives in a deal. The third risk is that the Philippines may be reinforcing China's strategy of dividing and conquering Southeast Asia through bilateral deals with individual countries instead of pursuing a more collective, multilateral approach.  
  • US, Japan Conduct Military Exercise Near Senkakus (2017-08-17)
    (The Diplomat, By Franz-Stefan Gady) The US Air Force and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force conducted a joint air drill near the disputed Senkaku Islands earlier this week. The exercise was done to show the commitment the US and Japan have to regional security and peace. The islands in question, located in the East China Sea, are disputed between Japan and China.  
  • Amid North Korea Crisis, China and US Aim to Deepen Military Cooperation (2017-08-16)
    (The Diplomat, by Charlotte Gao) U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week in a secret meeting that was only revealed at the last moment. The two agreed to cooperate on building military ties and improving communication between the two great powers. Both countries agreed in the stabilization benefits between the two militaries, including on important global issues such as North Korea.
  • Counterintelligence Remains Weakness in Taiwan’s Defense (2017-08-17)
    (The Jamestown Foundation, By Peter Mattis) Despite Beijing’s relentless and sometimes fruitful efforts to penetrate the most sensitive parts of Taiwan’s national security institutions and society, Taiwan’s leaders have not been able to push forward a stronger legal foundation for counterintelligence. This is partially in part due to the distrust of the national security apparatus by Taiwanese politicians, as well as the misfounded belief that reducing economic reliance on China and attempting to balance Southeast Asia against China with the "Southbound Policy" will reduce the Chinese threat.
  • China Steps Up Warnings Over Debt-Fueled Overseas Acquisitions (2017-08-18)
    (New York Times, By Sui-Lee Wee) The announcement by China’s cabinet is the strongest signal yet that Beijing wants to rein in runaway debt that could pose a threat to its economy. 
  • Japan Still Seeks U.S. Protection but Quietly Stakes Its Own Path (2017-08-18)
    (New York Times, By Motoko Rich) Japan, aware of neighboring threats like North Korea’s weapons advances, is mostly in lock step with the U.S. But it is starting to consider a more independent role in Asia. 
  • Bannon and Dunford Remarks Muddle U.S. Strategy for North Korea (2017-08-16)
    (New York Times, By Jane Perlez and Choe Sang-Hun) The White House adviser’s blunt comments appeared to undercut the United States’ top military official, who sought to persuade China to get tough on Pyongyang. 
  • What’s in a Name? For Taiwan, Preparing for the Spotlight, a Lot (2017-08-16)
    (New York Times, By Chris Horton) Taiwan’s athletes have long had to compete abroad as “Chinese Taipei.” But now, as it prepares to host a major sports event, the whole island is getting the label. 
  • China’s Crackdown on North Korea Over U.N. Sanctions Starts to Pinch (2017-08-16)
    (New York Times, By Jane Perlez) A ban on North Korean seafood exports began to be felt this week, curtailing an easy source of cash for the North Korean government but angering Chinese wholesalers. 
  • South Korea’s Leader Bluntly Warns U.S. Against Striking North (2017-08-15)
    (New York Times, By Choe Sang-Hun) President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that unilateral military action over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program would be intolerable. 
  • Hong Kong Police Say Activist Faked Account of Kidnapping and Torture (2017-08-15)
    (New York Times, By Austin Ramzy) The police arrested the activist, Howard Lam, who said mainland Chinese officers stapled his legs during an abduction, on suspicion of misleading investigators. 
  • China Must Get Along with Regional Powers to Make its New Silk Road Plan Work (2017-08-19)
    (South China Morning Post, By Rafaello Pantucci) Relations between states at a strategic, economic and even emotional level will all intertwine to create a complicated web that will require sophisticated diplomacy to navigate. For China this is a particularly important lesson to learn, given its keynote “Belt and Road Initiative” that requires an acquiescent and peaceful world to deliver on its promise of building a web of trade and economic corridors emanating from China and tying the Middle Kingdom to the world. China’s current stand-off with India highlights exactly how geopolitics can disrupt Xi Jinping’s foreign policy legacy initiative. 
  • Protests, Rumours of Terrorist Attack, Mar Opening of University Games in Taipei (2017-08-19)
    (South China Morning Post, By Lawrence Chung) Taiwan went on high alert as the 2017 Universiade kicked off in Taipei on Saturday amid public protests and rumours of a possible attack by Islamic State (IS) terrorists. The global event, which was opened by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, was dogged by ideological debates over whether Taiwan – as a host entity – should fly its official Republic of China flag throughout the competitions. 
  • Ex-leaders’ Influence ‘Wanes’ at Secretive Chinese Communist Party Summer Getaway (2017-08-18)
    (South China Morning Post, By Choi Chi-yuk and Viola Zhou) The influence of Chinese Communist Party elders appeared to be on the wane at the key annual summer conclave this year, sources said, underscoring President Xi Jinping’s dominance as he makes final preparations for his second term in office.  
  • Pushing Boundaries – Chinese Diplomatic and Military Behavior Intensifies in the Run-up to the 19th Party Congress (2017-08-17)
    (Jamestown Foundation, By Peter Wood) More than ever, it is important to understand the factors that go into determining China’s willingness to use force, expend political capital, and confidence when challenging its neighbors. A review of China’s recent diplomatic and military actions—and their impact on U.S.-China ties—can provide some useful context as both sides attempt to cooperate on North Korea and other issues. 
  • No Brexit from the South China Sea (2017-08-16)
    (East Asia Forum, By Donald R. Rothwell) The recent statements by senior UK ministers regarding the future deployment of British warships in the South China Sea provoked an inevitable response from China and speculation as to when these actions may actually take place. But care needs to be exercised in reading too much into what has been said. Unlike the United States, the UK does not have a distinct freedom of navigation program. 
  • America: China Doesn't Care about Your Rules-Based Order (2017-08-17)
    (The National Interest, By Koh Swee Lean Collin) With China's newfound economic and political strength comes the confidence to assert it's will in the Asia-Pacific and address perceived grievances. This also gives China the confidence to pick-and-choose international law when it benefits its own territorial claims as it seeks to be regional hegemon. 
  • Chinese Double Standards in the Maritime Domain (2017-08-16)
    (The Diplomat, By Tuan N. Pham) China has launched intelligence gathering ships into both American and Australian Exclusive Economic Zones, a practice which China routinely condemns its international counterparts of illegally engaging in. However, as China is slowly starting to engage in the same practice, it gets rid of any hope of China's "seeing the light" and instead highlights its hypocrisy by its justification of engaging in the same actions. Beijing should not play by its own set of rules and should maintain behaviors set by international law, especially if it regularly points to those laws to criticize other countries' actions. 
  • Locating Taiwan on Australia's Strategic Radar (2017-08-15)
    (The Diplomat, By Sinclaire Prowse) Australia and Taiwan, while historically have been great partners, must reexamine their bilateral relationship in the face of Australia's position as a balancing act between China and the United States, especially given Canberra's strict adherence to the "one China" policy. Australia has tended to base its Taiwan policy on the current relationship between China and the United States. However, as the relationship between Taiwan and China grows more tense, Canberra cannot sit idly by and base its decisions entirely on the China-US relationship and must begin to make its own decisions.  
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  • Poll Finds Wide Support for New Diplomatic Moves (2017-08-22)
    (CNA) A public opinion poll found an approval rating of more than 70 percent for two of the government’s diplomatic initiatives: the “steadfast diplomacy” initiative and the New Southbound Policy. The survey, conducted from Aug. 9 to Aug. 11, polled 1,134 people in all 22 of the nation’s administrative divisions, with 44 respondents under 20 years of age and 1,090 over 20. 
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