Written by R. D. Cheng. On March 31, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) warplanes flew across the “median line” in the Taiwan Strait that has long served as an unofficial airspace boundary between Taiwan and China. This behaviour was unusual and provocative move on China’s part — the first time in 20 years that such a deliberate incursion took place.
Written by Yu-Hua Chen. “It is time for the US to abandon Taiwan.” The past decade has frequently seen influential scholars and experts on US-China relations propose this sort of argument. Ten years ago, Bill Owens suggested that America should start treating China as a friend and therefore halt its arms sales to Taiwan and review the outdated the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). Bruce Gilley sold an idea of “the Finlandisation of Taiwan” in Foreign Affairs in 2010.
Written by Joel Atkinson. With so much going on, it is a daunting task to read the tea leaves on Taiwan’s evolving role in the world. Still, there are reasons to be guardedly optimistic about Taiwan and its future. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the sources of this optimism are not friends of Taiwan’s hard-won liberal democracy—Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
Written by Najee Woods. There’s also confusion among the Taiwanese public as to what the 1992 Consensus actually means. According to the Global Taiwan Institute, one-third of the Taiwanese population believes the consensus implies both sides of the Taiwan Strait are separate countries. After newly elected KMT Mayors Han Kuo-Yu and Lu Shiow-yen affirmed their support for the 1992 Consensus, searches about the consensus from both Kaohsiung and Taichung voters on Google skyrocketed.
Written by Andreas Sierek. Taiwanese cherish their country’s independence, democratic government, protected human rights and personal freedoms. But they also highly value wealth and prosperity. Unfortunately, a majority may become convinced that these values are mutually exclusive and, in the face of the PRC’s demands, choose wealth over freedom.
Written by John F. Copper. Could it be that President Tsai’s favourable image improved so dramatically from January to June? It is hard to believe that it did.
Did the DPP leadership manipulate the polls to favor President Tsai? That seems so. Taiwan had never experienced a standing president being challenged in a primary election for a party’s nomination. It would have been traumatic for the party if William Lai had been chosen. Also, his nomination would have imperiled relations with China and the United States.
Written by Ljavakaw Tjaljimaraw. This strategy did work in the short run in terms of party competition. From 2000 to 2008, the DPP, despite playing as Team America B, found itself caught between two unfavourable situations. On the one hand, the KMT’s “Go West” advocates stirred up an avaricious “China craze” of United Front-driven bonuses, bribes, or subsidies handed out to people from all walks of life.
Written by Ljavakaw Tjaljimaraw. While Taiwan is still in a state of limbo over who will win out among the candidates running for the presidency, the overall pattern of the 2020 election is becoming quite clear: it will be, for the first time, a battle between “Team America” and “Team China,” instead of the competition between Team America A and Team America B that appeared in the course of Taiwan’s democratisation in the 1990s.
Written by Joseph Yu Shek Cheng. ‘A common understanding of the severe challenges that pro-democracy groups outside Mainland China face, including those in Taiwan and Hong Kong, is that they have to fight a sophisticated united front machinery and a state security apparatus with ample resources at its disposal.’
Written by John F. Copper. For more than two years the liberal Western media, especially in the United States, have talked and written extensively about America’s relations with Taiwan under Donald J. Trump. During this period their narratives embraced two different themes: first, the relationship was managed badly and second, Taiwan is a “card” Trump is playing against China.
At new year 1978/79 the United States diplomatically de-recognised the Republic of China on Taiwan and recognised the government of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. Forty years on from this momentous foreign policy pivot, the city of Nottingham in the UK is hosting an international conference to assess the impact of the decision in Taiwan, China and world affairs.
Written by Euan Graham. Taiwan is central to the security and strategic geography of the Indo-Pacific, perhaps even to the future development of democracy in the region. It remains an economy of significant weight. Yet, as a “stateless” entity, it suffers from a double identity, confined to margins of the region’s international affairs.