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 Lotta Danielsson. The Taiwan economy fared well in 2020 and continues to do so into early 2021. This is primarily due to strong domestic demand, robust technology exports driven by the global shift to remote work, and a rebound in export orders for industrial goods. According to recent figures released by its national statistics bureau, Taiwan’s economic growth in 2020 was 2.98%, outperforming China’s same-year growth of 2.3% for the first time in 30 years.
Written by Bo-Yi Lee. Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has recently attracted attention from foreign governments and media due to the shortage of chips essential for carmakers. Besides, with the growing demand for advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), fifth-generation (5G) communication, electric vehicles, etc., Taiwan’s semiconductor industry’s strategic importance cannot be over-emphasized. For these Taiwanese firms in this critical supply chain, it is necessary to prioritize and strategize attracting, retaining, and developing talents, since this is a capital and a knowledge-intensive industry.
Written by Guo-Huei Chen, Ming-En Hsiao and Li-Ke Chang. The semiconductor industry is strategic to national security and critical to international connections in the high tech and techno-geopolitics era. In regard to tech, along with strategic competitions between America and China, Taiwan is at the frontline for its supply chains and geopolitics.
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 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?
Written by Boyu Chen. Taiwan has won accolades internationally for its success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still wreaking havoc worldwide. The IT minister, Audrey Tan, has gained recognition due to the successful application of information technology to control the pandemic. This includes the digital mask map that efficiently delivers masks to citizens, along with smartphone applications for contact tracing by GPS data. The young and innovative Audrey Tan has become very popular in Japan, where many people envy Taiwan’s excellent use of information technology to counter the virus.
Written by Elsa Sichrovsky. A mixed-reality approach to anatomy courses may be an ideal approach to combining the efficiency of VR technology–and its enhancement of the acquisition of knowledge–with the psychological enrichment and tactile experience of learning from the Silent Teacher. A former medical student brought up an intriguing idea on an online discussion forum: perhaps students could practice anatomy with VR technology before dissecting the Silent Teacher. By doing this, students would approach cadaver dissection already possessing a higher level of anatomical knowledge, and thus fewer unnecessary cuts would be made.
Written by Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Brigitte Dekker. The protection of digital freedom of speech, transparency and inclusiveness is at stake as governments resort to (sometimes intrusive) digital means to monitor and combat the coronavirus. At the same time, economic competitiveness in the digital age requires innovative approaches, as the US-China rivalry profoundly reshapes the global tech landscape and global governance. This is where Taiwan and the European Union (EU) have similar interests and stand to benefit from exchanging best practices.
Written by Karl Chee Leong Lee. Despite lingering pessimism surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on Southeast Asia’s economy, Malaysia has unexpectedly enjoyed a new wave of Taiwanese investment. According to official figures released by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) last April, the value of inbound manufacturing-based investment from Taiwan has increased seven-fold. In 2019 Taiwan became the fourth largest FDI source for Malaysia’s manufacturing sector after China, the US and Singapore.
Written by Lee Faulkner. The imposition of national security laws appears to be the final straw for Hong Kong. Such is the level of decline in in the city that formerly set the standard for jurisprudence in Asia that we don’t even know which legal system the new laws will fall under, nor which bodies will enforce them.
Written by Min-Hua Chiang. The relocation of Taiwanese outward direct investment (ODI) away from China is a clear sign of the shifting global business landscape. The cross-strait division of labour in manufacturing production has started to fade after China’s wage hike, industrial upgrading as well as stricter rules on the environment and labour protection. Taiwan’s ODI in China has declined visibly after 2012.