Written by Chiaoning Su and Wei-Ping Li. From sophisticated disinformation campaigns to patriotic trolling and clickbait, the flood of mis/disinformation has become a global phenomenon. Studies have shown that Taiwan’s young democracy ranks as one of the countries most exposed to misleading viewpoints or false information from foreign forces, especially China. These campaigns often seek to demonise high-profile Taiwanese politicians and divide Taiwanese society. They also aim to steer Taiwan away from anti-China policies or international alliances, notably with the United States.
Cross-Strait Relations: De-coding What’s “New” for the New Year?
Written by Raian Hossain. Despite such heightened tension in cross-strait relations across 2022, President Xi Jinping and Tsai Ing-wen have delivered their English and Lunar new year speeches, showing signs of certain tolerance and a softer tone toward each other. The message from both sides of the Taiwan Strait is not random but rather driven by political objectives and motives likely to determine the cross-Strait relations in the upcoming years. Although speeches by President Xi Jinping and Tsai Ing-wen cover numerous angles, this article uses some specific lenses of the Politics of Security, the local and presidential election of Taiwan, and pandemic politics while de-coding the Cross-strait relations for the near future.
Tainan Police Murder: A Chance for Total Reform of Police Use of Force Training
Written by Wei-An Tsai. In August 2022, the brutal murder of two police officers on duty in Tainan city sent shock waves through Taiwanese society. The two officers, Tu Ming-cheng (凃明誠) and Tsao Jui-chieh (曹瑞傑), were tipped about a stolen motorcycle and set out to investigate. However, they were later ambushed and killed by the suspect shortly after arriving at the scene, which was in an unpopulated area.
The two officers suffered fatal stab wounds, despite one carrying a gun. The issue of the timing to use firearms quickly became the centre of public debate. In apprehending the suspect on the run, the Interior Minister, Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), instructed police officers “not to hesitate to open fire when faced with resistance.”
US-Taiwan Relations in 2022 and 2023: The Good, the Bad, and It Could Get Ugly
Written by Jacques deLisle. Signals of US support for Taiwan were strikingly strong in 2022. Yet, despite the crucial role the US plays in Taiwan’s security, 2022 was also a year of jarring insecurity for Taiwan. Developments in 2023 are likely to be portentous for US-Taiwan relations and, in turn, Taiwan’s prospects more generally.
Taiwan’s Prospects for the New Year 2023: Another turbulent year ahead
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. In all probability another turbulent year ahead for Taiwan, but President Tsai Ing-wen’s steady hand, together with a resilient population, and a broadening network of friends in like-minded countries across the globe, will help Taiwan weather the storms ahead.
Semiconductor industry: a shield to Taiwan or the source of insecurity?
Written by Guo-Huei Chen and Ming-En Hsiao. That is why Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is a key element in the strategic competition between the United States and China in science and technology. Losing Taiwan is equivalent to losing the power to speak in future innovative technology. Neither the United States nor China can afford the consequences of losing Taiwan’s semiconductors.
How not to avoid a war over Taiwan: Misconceptions in the policy brief by a task force on US-China Policy
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On October 12th, 2022, a task force on US-China relations of the Asia Society published a policy brief titled “Avoiding war over Taiwan.” While it is laudable that some academics want to avoid a war over Taiwan, the analysis of this policy brief is fundamentally flawed on a number of key points.
Truss or Sunak? Who is better for Taiwan?
Written by Ben Seal. In the previous general election, which took place in December 2019, just over forty million voters gave Boris Johnson a majority of eighty seats. This summer, after the resignation of Johnson, around 180,000 Conservative Party members are choosing who will be the UK’s next Prime Minister. Will they select Sunak or Truss? As the voting goes into the final days, polls suggest that Truss will be the most likely victor, but my piece attempts to examine how both contenders would affect the UK’s relationship with Taiwan.
Is a Major War Over Taiwan Inevitable?
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.
Dire Straits – the Price Taiwan Needs to Pay in the Wake of Pelosi’s Visit
Written by Li-Chiang Yuan. To counteract the United States Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China warned the US that it was “playing with fire” through wolf warrior diplomacy and punishment of Taiwan. After Pelosi left Taiwan, China conducted the largest-ever military exercise against Taiwan since the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. The People’s Liberation Army’s 4-day live fire exercise from 4th to 8th of August, 2022, has broken the record and set “three firsts”: 1. Missiles directly flying over Taiwan; 2. PLA’s crossing the median line of Taiwan Strait, and 3. Exercise areas encircle Taiwan, and PLA reaches Taiwan’s 12 territorial seas and airspace. Naturally, no one in Taiwan would welcome these “Firsts”.
The Aversion of the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis: Nancy Pelosi’s Daring Visit to Taiwan
Written by Lt Col JS Sodhi (Retd). Abhijit Naskar’s quote, “Peace is a state of mind, but in a world where the state controls the mind, peace remains an inconvenience”, is apt for China’s aggression in its quest to take over Taiwan. As the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the USA, Nancy Pelosi, in an exemplary show of guts and grit, visited Taiwan despite the Dragon spewing fire, thereby sending a stern and strong message to China that the USA stands in total solidarity and support to Taiwan and any misadventure and misdemeanour by China on Taiwan will be dealt with swiftly and surely.
Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit: More Symptom than Cause of the Trouble in US-China Relations
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.