Written by Corey Lee Bell and Harley Centner. Recent months have witnessed growing consternation among Western officials that a conflict across the Taiwan Strait is not only likely but relatively imminent. In early March, Admiral Philip Davidson, the Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), told a U.S. Senate armed services committee meeting that “the threat [of China taking Taiwan] is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years.” Backing this up, his successor, U.S. Admiral John Aquilino, testified at his nomination hearing in late March that “this problem is much closer to us than most think.”
Challenges for Taiwan’s Defence & Economic Security and its Required Efforts To Ensuring a Sustainable Peace
Written by Raian Hossain. Tensions over cross-strait relations and the United States’ (US) involvement are not a new phenomenon. The problem remains unresolved as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims that the Republic of China (ROC) is a breakaway mainland province. However, about 64 per cent of Taiwan’s population perceives themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese despite the absence of any official call for independence. Even though the US officially performs under the one-China policy, it has continued to ensure the existence of the ROC separately for over 50 years.
Cutting Through the Fog of War in the Taiwan Strait
Written by J. Michael Cole. A recent cover story in The Economist referring to the Taiwan Strait as “the most dangerous place on earth” has caused mixed reactions in Taiwan and elsewhere. While the headline was certainly alarmist—one can imagine more dangerous places than Taiwan to be in, from Yemen to Afghanistan, Somalia to some neighbourhoods in Mexico, for example—the article nevertheless reflects the reality that no other geopolitical flashpoint today is as likely to spark major armed conflict than the Taiwan Strait. China has shown much greater hostility in the past year.
Biden & Taiwan: Advancing a Flexible US One China Policy
Written by Robert Sutter. The Biden administration continues the Trump government’s remarkable advances with Taiwan despite China’s objections. Thus high-level US government rebukes Beijing military countermeasures, including repeated warship passages in the Taiwan Strait and Chinese air and naval shows of force attempting to intimidate Taiwan. An extraordinary visit to Taiwan in April by a delegation of top policymakers in the Barack Obama and George W Bush administrations …
Idealization and Fearmongering Opposite Sides of the Same Coin for International Media Reporting on Taiwan
Written by Brian Hioe. An article in the May issue of The Economist caused strong reactions in Taiwan due to referring to Taiwan as “the most dangerous place on Earth.” In particular, the article cited the geopolitical risks to Taiwan–of being caught between great power competition between the US and China and facing the threat of Chinese invasion–as making Taiwan “the most dangerous place on Earth.”
Taiwan: The unsinkable Aircraft Carrier sails again?
Written by Arthur Ding. In April, the London based Economist carried several in-depth analyses on Taiwan and US-China relations in the context of China’s increasing assertive policy toward Taiwan. Among them, the one titled “Taiwan: the most dangerous place on Earth” elicited heated debates in Taiwan. Assuming that these analyses are correct, what do these analyses entail?
Is It Taiwan’s Turn to Invest in Space?
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.
Disinformation in the January 2020 Taiwan Elections
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.
Why Taiwan Should Pay More Attention to the Futenma Relocation Issue in Okinawa, Japan
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.
Why the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Conflict Should Matter to Taiwan
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).
Military Diplomacy: Another Way to Support the Defense of Taiwan
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.
Imagining a Tragedy in Cyberspace: Online Postings after the Death of an Undocumented Migrant Worker
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.