Written by David Michael Jaffe. Space Force. Space Operations Squadron. Strategic Support Force. These are the entities, all created within the last five years, responsible for shaping the future of military space operations in the United States, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China, respectively. Russia, too, calls its military’s outer space division the “Space Force.” Meanwhile, South Korea – while it has yet to name a new division formally – recently launched a military satellite aboard a SpaceX rocket in Florida and plans to launch a military satellite from its own soil in the next few years. Australia has already launched satellites from its own soil. Members of the country’s Defence Science and Technology Group are considering launching their own military satellite and advocating for creating their own space force. It is no secret that North Korea also has ambitions to engage in the military space arena.
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 Dafydd Fell. At a time when political attention in Taiwan has been focused on growing Chinese military threats, the Covid-19 pandemic and the presidential campaign in the United States, it is not surprising that the Taiwanese media have largely ignored the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).
Written by John W. Tai. The United States has long relied on weapons sales to demonstrate its support for the defense of Taiwan. This practice has incurred cost for both Taiwan and the United States due to its high visibility and significant financial resources for Taiwan. In addition, the growth of the Chinese military makes it increasingly unlikely for Taiwan to be successful in defending itself by relying simply on traditional military means.
Written by Isabelle Cheng. On 31 August 2017, Nguyen Quoc Phi, an undocumented Vietnamese worker, was shot dead by a policeman in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan. Public responses to Phi’s death were polarised between pro-police campaigners, who supported the police’s use of force, and human rights activists, who emphasised the plight of migrant workers who are exploited by brokers and employers and who are regulated by a hostile guest worker system. This polarisation is also evident in cyberspace. The reporting of Phi’s death in September 2017, the sentencing of the policeman in July 2019, and the deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks in the U.S. in May and June 2020 prompted Taiwanese netizens to comment on PTT.
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 Robert Sutter. Despite official disclaimers, the election of President Joseph Biden has been greeted with considerable angst in Taiwan. The fear concerns how the new US government will not follow through on various security, diplomatic and economic advances in US-Taiwan relations undertaken by the Trump government. This is despite the strong objections from Beijing, returning to the strict adherence to the One China policy prevalent during the Obama-Biden government of 2009-2017.
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.
Written by Michael Mazza. The new Biden administration will have its hands full from day one. Even as it focuses its energy on finally getting a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration will have to recalibrate its China policy, making numerous decisions about which aspects of the Trump administration’s approach to keep and which to jettison. Beyond China, it will have to meaningfully strengthen alliances and security partnerships worldwide, make a decision about how best to rein in Iran’s nuclear program going forward, and work quickly to preserve (or not) the New START arms control agreement with Russia. Taiwan policy, on the other hand, should not require significant deliberation in the early going.
Written by Emily Weinstein. Nearly ten months after scientists identified COVID-19, China, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, and other countries are seeing a return to semi-normal life, albeit with mask-wearing and other precautionary measures. In most cases, these successes have been born from the deployment of various technologies aimed at monitoring citizens who have been exposed to the virus. At the same time, government use of these technologies is alarming privacy and human-rights advocates, particularly in countries with inadequate track records in personal freedoms for citizens. Is there a happy technological medium that respects personal privacy while simultaneously managing the spread of this pandemic?
By Malcolm Turnbull. The Covid 19 pandemic, of course as the President has just observed, has disrupted the world and inflicted enormous suffering around the world. But as Taiwan has demonstrated, with ingenuity, with innovation, it can be grappled with and successfully.