Written by Simona A. Grano & Helena Y.W. Wu. On January 2, 2019, Xi Jinping held a speech to commemorate the famous “Letter to Compatriots in Taiwan” of 1979. In this letter, he defined unification across the Taiwan Strait as “the great trend of history.” He also warned that attempts to facilitate Taiwan’s independence would be met by force. Not only this, but he also called for “unification under the ‘one country, two systems’ formula.”
Written by Frédéric Krumbein. The European Union has the densest integration region globally, whereas current trends in cross-strait relations point to a further divide between both sides. Despite noticeable significant differences between the European Union and cross-strait relations, theories of European integration provide a useful framework to analyse the past, present, and future of relations between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. Four major theories of regional integration that were developed for or applied to the European integration process will be used to analyse cross-strait relations: neofunctionalism, historical institutionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, and postfunctionalism.
Written by Nicholas Welch. Approaching the January 2020 Taiwan elections, many Taiwanese and international spectators broadly feared PRC-based disinformation operations weakening Taiwan’s democratic institutions. In particular, many feared Russian-style “covert social influence via the use of bots and fake persona accounts,” which would sway public opinion en masse. Nevertheless, when the dust settled, it remained unclear whether the PRC propagated that form of disinformation at all. Before the election, and although no substantial evidence for such claims exists, the international community pre-emptively accused the PRC of spreading disinformation.
Written by Mari Uchima. Most analyses of Taiwan’s security focus on cross-strait relations and the U.S.-China military balance. What is mostly missing in the debate is that the U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Japan, are critical to any U.S. defence of Taiwan due to their geographic proximity. Therefore, Taiwanese and analysts and students of Taiwan’s security should pay more attention to the ongoing developments there, as they have implications for Taiwan’s security.
Written by David Green. The UK is in dire need of a coherent China policy, and that policy should provide for deeper ties with Taiwan. The last white paper on how Britain treats with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was drafted in 2009, just after the Beijing Olympics’ conclusion. Back then, a misguided belief that constructive engagement would soften China’s authoritarianism still held sway. Furthermore, Hu Jintao’s Scientific Outlook on Development was in full swing, and the Chinese stimulus was driving a global economic recovery in the wake of the financial crisis.
Written by Ko Lien. The demand for pig and pork products increased, but businessmen had begun to import pigs from across the strait since supplies have dwindled. As refrigeration technology was still in its infancy at this point, live pigs were imported. However, many overdue would die on the journey to disease or ship wreckage. In response to this, Taiwan’s first-ever insurance company was founded for protecting against pig loss.
Written by Jacques deLisle. As the Biden administration takes office, expectations—and, in many quarters, hopes—are high that much will change in American foreign policy. U.S. policy on Taiwan-related issues, however, is not likely to shift fundamentally. That is an outcome that should be – and generally will be -welcome in Taiwan. The relationship’s foundations may be strengthened, and apparent post-Trump setbacks are likely illusory. For Taiwan, reasons for concern mostly lie elsewhere, in the fraught U.S.-China relationship, the mounting challenges posed by Beijing, and questions about how the U.S. will respond.
Written by Douglas H. Paal. Four years ago, on December 2, 2016, shortly after Donald Trump had become president-elect, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen placed a phone call to Trump to congratulate him on his recent victory. Reportedly, someone trusted by Taipei with access to Trump had told Ms Tsai that her call would be received and not rejected. It was the first such opportunity for contact at that level since the United States broke diplomatic relations with the Republic of China in 1979, and so politically irresistible for Taiwan’s leader.
Written by Elizabeth Freund Larus and Shirley Martey Hargis. After a protracted battle, the election of Joe R. Biden as the 46th US President is all but certain. All eyes in Taiwan are now turning to Biden to see whether he will continue President Donald J. Trump’s hardline against China and support of Taiwan. For the past four years, the Trump administration and the US Congress have responded to Beijing’s attempts to ostracize Taiwan by increasing support for Taipei. During his campaign, Biden promised to get tough on China. Yet his history as a political moderate makes it unlikely that he will be antagonistic to China, especially when it involves Taiwan.
Written by Christine Penninga-Lin. After a heated election campaign and long vote counting, Joe Biden is going to swear in as the 46th President of the United States. The interest for the 2020 US election is shared among the Taiwanese, and many found themselves preferring Trump over Biden for his administration’s Taiwan policy in the past four-year. An almost unimaginable development had these people been asked in 2016. After four years of Trump’s presidency, the US-Taiwan relation already looks significantly different than that before 2016. And so are the Sino-American relations.
Written by Alexander C. Tan. Even before the official start of the Trump presidency in January 2017, Taiwan has received attention from the then US President-elect Trump as he received a congratulatory telephone call from President Tsai Ing-Wen. That phone call was heard around the world as it broke ranks with the usual quiet approaches of the past. The next four years showed the Trump administration ‘talking up’ and actively engaging with Taiwan while ‘talking down’ and confrontational to China, e.g., the trade war, South China Seas, etc. Taiwan finally felt that a US president is willing to take their side. Indeed, Taipei Times on October 19 reported that a YouGov survey showing Taiwan is alone in Asia-Pacific where the majority of the respondents are favourable to Republican Donald Trump than to Democrat Joe Biden.
Written by Bas van Beurden. Can the United States and China escape Thucydides Trap? While international relations experts grapple with the question whether the two powers are destined for war, a storm seems to be gathering in the Asia-Pacific, and it seems increasingly clear where lightning might strike. Considering recent developments, the Taiwan Straits seems to be the most likely battleground for Sino-American conflict. The prospect of conflict appears to be looming as Beijing closes in on Hong Kong and ratchets up its rhetoric on a forceful reunification with Taiwan.