Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The press and think tanks, on their part, need to reassess their understanding of “strategic ambiguity”: they need to come to a clearer understanding of its origins – as reiterated in the quotes from former NSC Director Robert Suettinger’s book – and arrive at the unavoidable conclusion that it does not equate policy. Rather, it is, at best, a mode of operation determining how to calibrate a response. As described above, the policy itself on how to (help) defend Taiwan is laid down clearly in the Taiwan Relations Act.
Written by Alessio Patalano. On 04 August, Chinese military authorities launched an impressive set of military manoeuvres across the Strait of Taiwan. Compared to prior exercises with a similar operational design in mind held during cross-strait tensions in 1995-96, this iteration lasted longer, pushed the operational envelope in a more aggressive direction, and was significantly larger in scale and commitment of capabilities. Crucially, when the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command announced the end of the second phase of manoeuvres two weeks later, the Chinese military had shown how two decades of unmatched military build-up allowed Beijing to use steel to project statecraft.
Written by Jacques deLisle. The August 2022 visit to Taiwan by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been characterized as “reckless” and even risking war or, at least, a dangerous military incident between the US and China. On the other hand, Pelosi’s trip has been celebrated for standing up to Chinese bullying or even a political victory born of an unforced error by Xi Jinping’s overreaching. Such dire or triumphalist views risk overlooking the broader and deeper meanings of Pelosi’s brief sojourn in Taipei: It is more a symptom than a cause of a deeply troubled and increasingly troubling US-China relationship; its most significant consequences are likely more complex and indirect.
Written by Kuan-chen Lee. Following Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, many observers have pointed out that Kyiv’s ability to mobilise the entire population to resist the invasion is one of the main reasons why it has been able to prolong the war. Moreover, they suggest that Taiwan learn from Ukraine’s model of all-out resistance against a more powerful enemy. However, do the Taiwanese have the same determination to resist aggression as the Ukrainians have shown? Furthermore, how has the Russia-Ukraine War affected the willingness of the Taiwanese people to fight against aggression?
Written by Julia Marinaccio and Jens Damm. However, Taiwanese journalism also did its share. Like the political party system, Taiwan’s existing media landscape is ideologically divided over the question of how to fashion cross-Strait relations. Through their ideological orientation paired with a lack of investigative journalism, they act as mouthpieces of political parties. In doing so, they reinforce existing political cleavages rather than exercising their role as informants and watchdogs.
Written by Yu-peng Lin and Chang-de Liu. The development of over-the-top (OTT) media services is currently the main concern of Taiwan’s audiovisual industries. An OTT media service is an audiovisual streaming service provided directly to the audience by the Internet. The Taiwanese government wishes to strengthen this industry while also seeking balanced growth for international and local operators. For the latter, how to accelerate the production of their content in the face of global competition is the biggest concern. Furthermore, given the recent success of the Asian market, international operators are interested in co-producing content with Taiwanese companies.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. It is understandable that the invasion is causing anxiety in Taiwan, as the country is similarly threatened by an aggressive and totalitarian neighboring country, China, which unjustly sees Taiwan as part of its territory. However, Taiwanese can take comfort in a number of facts that are in their favor.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. In sum, there is no reason to believe that imminent conflict in the Taiwan strait would occur after the Russia-Ukraine war outbreak. However, it is imperative to underscore that the proposition is not formed based on comparing Taiwan’s relative advantages over Ukraine. Instead, it is underlined by how the ongoing war has been perceived by not only Taiwan’s general public and government but also Xi and the CCP.
Written by Yu-Shan Wu. Comparisons have been made between Ukraine and Taiwan, with the ominous implication that Taiwan may become Ukraine in the foreseeable future, i.e., a weak country attacked by its much stronger neighbour. Most of the comparisons are shallow in that they simply draw on the obvious power asymmetry that exists between Russia and Ukraine and between mainland China and Taiwan, as well as the hostile intention of the mighty country toward the lesser power. However, the structural similarities between the two cases run much deeper.
Written by Dennis Kwok and Johnny Patterson. A little more than a year after the introduction of Hong Kong’s National Security Law, Taiwan does indeed seem to be the next target of an increasingly assertive Chinese foreign policy. PLA warplanes now regularly breach Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, often more than 150 in a row. At the same time, Taiwan has invited US marines to help shore up the island’s military forces. Throughout all of this, the aggressiveness of the rhetoric surrounding these issues continues to ratchet up.
Written by Jian Xu. On January 25, 2017, National Defense News, a military newspaper under the management of the Military Committee of the Communist Party of China, published a commentary titled, ‘Never allow artists to eat Chinese food and smash Chinese bowls.’ The article criticised pro-independence Hong Kong singer Hins Cheung and applauded his ban from appearing on one of China’s most popular reality shows, I Am a Singer, run by Hunan Satellite TV. It argues that ‘in front of the overall interests of the country and nation, every artist needs to stay rational within the bottom line. Overstepping the bottom line means no future. Any ‘idol’ will be discarded if they hurt the national emotion and dignity of the Chinese people.’
Written by Hsin-I Sydney Yueh. On November 13, 2021, NBA player Enes Kanter posted a Twitter message, stating that Taiwan is “not a part of China”; this particular video elicited a warm-hearted response from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. She said, “Thank you, Enes, for standing with Taiwan and standing up for democracy.” Kanter quoted Tsai’s reply and said he wanted to “meet the brave people of Taiwan.”