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.
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.
Biden Speaks Again: The End of Strategic Ambiguity?
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The press and think tanks, on their part, need to reassess their understanding of “strategic ambiguity”: they need to come to a clearer understanding of its origins – as reiterated in the quotes from former NSC Director Robert Suettinger’s book – and arrive at the unavoidable conclusion that it does not equate policy. Rather, it is, at best, a mode of operation determining how to calibrate a response. As described above, the policy itself on how to (help) defend Taiwan is laid down clearly in the Taiwan Relations Act.
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.
Tension Across the Taiwan Strait: Perspectives, Concerns & Dynamics from South Asia
Written by Raian Hossain. This article looks into the reactions and concerns from Asian countries due to the complex triangular relationship of the US-China-Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait. While analysing the dynamics, it also unpacks whether this ongoing crisis would further shrink Taiwan’s space for engagements in the international space like trade, commerce, and people-to-people connectivity (not focused on diplomatic recognition). Therefore, this article takes the South Asian region as a case study to answer these two queries.
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”.
Pelosi Baloney or Distractions versus Realities
Written by Ian Inkster. So, China warned of ‘resolute and strong measures,’ and Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan without incident on her way to the rest of East Asia. She may well have infuriated parts of the Chinese regime when she said: ‘Make no mistake: America remains unwavering in our commitment to the people of Taiwan – now and for decades to come.’ Nevertheless, there is still no hint of any change in US policy, which will not recognise Taiwan as an independent entity, never mind a nation. No pathway has been opened. Indeed, the Western media made more noise than Taiwan itself.
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.
Discourse and Disinformation in the Pelosi Visit and Its Aftermath
Written by Brian Hioe. More generally, while several organisations in Taiwan are devoted to fact-checking and combating disinformation, these primarily focus on targeting disinformation that circulates within Taiwan, which aims to affect domestic politics. There is less focus by such organisations on disinformation that spreads about Taiwan in the English-language sphere. Taiwanese generally read news and international discourse about their country in Chinese rather than English, so they may not be aware of disinformation circulating globally about Taiwan. At the same time, the English language world may not be able to verify information circulating in Chinese due to lacking language ability. Perhaps more translingual fact-checking practices must be developed to cope with this issue. This may be the corollary to increased discussion to the fact that the voices of Taiwanese have been left out of international media reporting on the Pelosi visit and military drills that followed.
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.
Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan did go through: A major milestone in Taiwan’s relations with the rest of the world
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The picture circulating on the internet of Speaker Pelosi and President Tsai Ing-wen standing next to each other was indeed a powerful image of two women who are determined to bend history in the right direction. The main conclusion of the episode is that it was crucial that Speaker Pelosi stood her ground and pushed through her plans for a visit to Taiwan. It is a win for democracy and a major milestone in Taiwan’s relations with the rest of the world.