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STRATEGIC VISION Volume 4, Issue 24


for Taiwan Security

December, 2015


ISSN 2227-3646

Taiwan’s South China Sea Policy

Li-chung Yuan

Evolution of cyber policy Hon-min Yau

Ongoing refugee crisis Faisal M.H. Shaim

Insurgency in Southern Thailand Suchitta Ritsakulchai

Trilateral relations in Northeast Asia Tran Thi Duyen


Volume 4, Issue 24

for Taiwan Security w

December, 2015

Contents Taiwan’s role in the South China Sea..............................................4

Li-chung Yuan

China’s increasing influence over cyber-policy............................. 9

Hon-min Yau

Syria’s ongoing refugee crisis........................................................ 14

Faisal M.H. Shaim

Insurgency in Southern Thailand................................................. 18

Suchittra Ritsakulchai

Trilateral relations in Northeast Asia...........................................23

Tran Thi Duyen

Submissions: Essays submitted for publication are not to exceed 2,000 words in length, and should conform to the following basic format for each 1200-1600 word essay: 1. Synopsis, 100-200 words; 2. Background description, 100-200 words; 3. Analysis, 800-1,000 words; 4. Policy Recommendations, 200-300 words. Book reviews should not exceed 1,200 words in length. Notes should be formatted as endnotes and should be kept to a minimum. Authors are encouraged to submit essays and reviews as attachments to emails; Microsoft Word documents are preferred. For questions of style and usage, writers should consult the Chicago Manual of Style. Authors of unsolicited manuscripts are encouraged to consult with the executive editor at xiongmu@gmail.com before formal submission via email. The views expressed in the articles are the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of their affiliate institutions or of Strategic Vision. Manuscripts are subject to copyediting, both mechanical and substantive, as required and according to editorial guidelines. No major alterations may be made by an author once the type has been set. Arrangements for reprints should be made with the editor. Cover photograph of an F-35 Joing Strike Fighter courtesy of Jameson E. Lynch.

Editor Fu-Kuo Liu Executive Editor Aaron Jensen Associate Editor Dean Karalekas Editorial Board Tiehlin Yen Raviprasad Narayanan Richard Hu James Yuan Carlos Hsieh Lipin Tien STRATEGIC VISION For Taiwan Security (ISSN 2227-3646) Volume 4, Number 24, December, 2015, published under the auspices of the Center for Security Studies and National Defense University. All editorial correspondence should be mailed to the editor at STRATEGIC VISION, Center for Security Studies in Taiwan. No. 64, Wan Shou Road, Taipei City 11666, Taiwan, ROC. The editors are responsible for the selection and acceptance of articles; responsibility for opinions expressed and accuracy of facts in articles published rests solely with individual authors. The editors are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts; unaccepted manuscripts will be returned if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Photographs used in this publication are used courtesy of the photographers, or through a creative commons licence. All are attributed appropriately. Any inquiries please contact the Executive Editor directly via email at: dkarale.kas@gmail.com. Or by telephone at: +886 (02) 8237-7228 Online issues and archives can be viewed at our website: www.mcsstw.org. © Copyright 2015 by the Center for Security Studies. Articles in this periodical do not necessarily represent the views of either the MCSS, NDU, or the editors.

From The Editor


he editors and staff of Strategic Vision would like to wish our readers well as the winter season arrives. The Asia-Pacific continues to be an active region of change and development. We hope that students and scholars in the academic community have the chance to keep-up with these events. In support of that effort, we offer our latest edition of Strategic Vision. We open our final issue of the year with an analysis and overview of Taiwan’s position in the South China Sea by Colonel Li-chung Yuan. Dr. Yuan is an assistant professor at the ROC National Defense University. Dr. Yuan argues that Taiwan is a force for stability in the region Next, Lieutenant Colonel Hon-min Yau of the Air Command and Staff College at the ROC’s National Defense University examines China’s growing influence over cyber-policy and argues that Taiwan should define its own cyber-policies in order to safeguard its interests. Colonel Faisal M.H. Shaim provides an overview of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. He argues that the crisis has global dimensions and that Asia has a greater role to play in relief efforts. Suchittra Ritsakulchai, a PhD student at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, examines the insurgency problem in Southern Thailand. She argues that the Thai Government, in conjunction with civil society groups, must undertake new efforts to solve the problem and foster a lasting peace. Finally, Tran Thi Duyen, a PhD candidate at National Chengchi University in Taipei, and a researcher at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), examines the recent trilateral meeting between China, Japan and South Korea. We hope you enjoy this issue, and look forward to bringing you the finest analysis and reporting on the issues of importance to security in the Taiwan Strait and the Asia-Pacific region. Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu Editor Strategic Vision

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Strategic Vision vol. 4, no. 24 (December, 2015)

Keeping Balance

Taipei seeking to maintain balance, peace amid South China Sea disputes Li-chung Yuan


ince China started land reclamation in the South China Sea (SCS), tensions and territorial disputes have been rising in the region. The South China Sea was one of the major issues during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States in September 2015. However, both sides failed to reach any consensus, thus a stalemate still exists. The United States reasserted its freedom to navigate the South China Sea in October 2015 when Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter underlined that “the US will fly, sail and

operate wherever international law allows; the South China Sea is not and will not be an exception.” In an effort to reconcile its territorial assertions, the vicechairman of China’s Central Military Commission Fan Chang-long addressed the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing and stressed that China would do its best to avoid unexpected conflicts and will not resort to the use of force recklessly over sovereignty issues. In light of the recent intense situation, while receiving rather reconciliatory messages from China, and being a stakeholder and one of the claimants in the

photo: Ryan McFarlane The ROCS Yueh Fei (FFG-1106), is a Cheng Kung-class guided-missile frigate. A strong navy is the backbone of Taipei’s island claims.

Li-Chung Yuan is an assistant professor at the ROC National Defense University. He can be reached for comment at ylc622@gmail.com.

keeping balance  b  5

South China Sea, the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan has been endeavoring to advocate a peaceful resolution in the region. With the success of the 2012 East China Sea Peace Initiative, which resulted in the Taiwan-Japan Fishing Agreement, President Ma Ying-jeou proposed the “South China Sea Peace Initiative (SCSPI)” in May of 2015. Through this initiative, Taiwan demonstrates to other claimants that it is willing to constructively engage in managing disputes.

Fostering stability Akin to its predecessor, while staunchly claiming and safeguarding sovereignty over Taiping Island, the SCSPI calls for claimants to abide by international law and shelve disputes through dialogue and consultations, while jointly exploiting natural resources. Two recent MOFA statements in April 29 and July 7, 2015 call on countries to respect all relevant international laws, including the UN Charter and UNCLOS. In addition, it proposes a maritime code of conduct and cooperation mechanisms for a range of non-traditional security issues such as environmental protection, scientific research, maritime crime fighting, and humanitarian and disaster relief. Notwithstanding the political constraints it faces, Taiwan is seeking to play a constructive role in the South China Sea, thus it has demonstrated its political will to facilitate peace and stability. An initial success has already been achieved. After years of negotiation, Taiwan signed the long-pending fishery agreement with the Philippines on 5 November, 2015. It includes three essential points: to avoid the use of violence, to establish an emergency notification system, and to set up a prompt release mechanism. It is a giant breakthrough to defuse tensions over territorial maritime disputes between the two countries. As for sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, Taiwan accepts the principle that “sovereignty over

land determines ownership of the surrounding waters” set out in UNCLOS which applies to disputes concerning sovereignty over both land and the sea. The 2015 MOFA statements prove that Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea is limited to land features and their adjacent waters. In terms of the U-shaped line, President Ma explained that it is based on the principle of inter temporal law, which stipulates that “a juridical fact must be appreciated in the light of the law contemporary with it, and not of the law in force at the time when a dispute in regard to it arises or falls to be settled.” Therefore, there is no need for Taiwan to explicitly abandon the U-shaped line due to complicated political reasons, and it could anger China because it would undermine the legitimacy of any Chinese claim to the Nine-dashed line as a national boundary. Another consideration is that abolishment of the U-shaped line means a change of national territory which requires an amendment of the ROC Constitution. It would be better for Taipei to maintain silence on the U-shaped line. Taipei has adopted a delaying strategy and does not seek to hastily clarify the legal meaning of the ROC’s U-Shaped Line claim. The situation between China and Taiwan over Taiping Island has been calm for decades. In fact, Beijing has a relatively favorable view of Taipei’s control of Taiping Island and has several times announced its intention to cooperate with Taiwan on the SCS issue. Nevertheless, Taiwan has rejected China’s proposal regarding a joint assertion of the common claims of both sides. Taiping Island’s important strategic value makes it a particularly valuable asset in the South China Sea. A scenario of armed conflict between the ROC and either the Philippines or Vietnam over Taiping cannot be ruled out as Taipei confronted the Philippines in 2013 due to the Guang Da Xing No. 28 incident. In addition, Vietnam was accused of provocatively firing several shots at the Coast Guard on Taiping


photo: William Greer An A-10 streaks over the desert in Afghanistan. Although near retirement, the venerable Warthog still strikes fear into the heart of enemy ground forces.

Island in 2012. Thus, in light of strengthened militarization on surrounding islands, re-evaluating the defensive capability of Taiping Island becomes vital. Other claimant states may accuse Taipei of taking action which runs contrary to what Taipei proposed in the SCSPI. Nonetheless, fortifying the defense of Taiping Island does not violate the spirit of the peace initiative. Expecting disputes to be resolved peacefully does not mean the ROC should show the white feather to other claimants; only with solid capability can Taipei convince other claimants in the region to behave responsibly.

Action needed After the garrison units of the Marine Corps were replaced by the coast guard in 2000, militarization of Taiping Island remains limited. In contrast to the under-armed coast guard, the marines could not only significantly symbolize the ROC sovereignty claim over Taiping Island, but also deal with skirmishes more effectively. The defensive capability on Taiping Island should be strengthened in such a way that does not suggest obvious militarization. In support of that goal, several initiatives should be taken.

First, military exercises based on an island recovery scenario should be held on a regular basis (e.g. annually) in order to sharpen the tactics and combat skills of the armed forces. In April 2014, the ROC Navy dispatched a Marine Corps unit to conduct an amphibious landing exercise on Taiping Island. One battalion of marines in more than 20 AAV-7 assault landing vehicles carried and escorted by a naval flotilla consisting of four frigates, one combat support ship, and one dock landing ship launched an amphibious landing on the shores of Taiping Island to simulate the recovery of the island. It was the largest live-fire exercise conducted by the military on Taiping since the withdrawal of the Marine Corps, and it demonstrated Taipei’s determination of defending the island from surrounding claimants. Second, in the event that Vietnam or the Philippines attempts to take control of Taiping Island by force, devising a contingency plan is crucial. It would require a quick response force incorporating a team of special operation forces transported by an air force C-130 and airdropped on the occupied island within four hours, along with portable missile launchers, artillery and assault vehicles. This kind of contingency plan requires coordination and collaboration between

Keeping Balance  b  7

Army’s special operation paratroopers and the Air Force; hence a similar exercise should be carried out in the near future. Third, as other claimant countries keep accelerating and fortifying construction activities on their islands in the South China Sea, the ROC should follow suit. A 320-meter long pier able to accommodate 3,000-ton ships has been finished. Other important facilities include an improved runway and a newly constructed lighthouse. After completion of these facilities, the ROC Minister of the Interior presided over the inauguration ceremony on December 12, 2015, the 69th anniversaphoto: Lewis Hunsaker ry of ROC control over Taiping Island. Seaman Charles Bryan scans for contacts while on watch aboard the USS Ardent. These facilities allow C-130 and P-3C aircraft to operaccording to Article 121 of UNCLOS. The construcate from the island. The newly acquired P-3C antition of an airstrip and pier provides a forward base submarine and maritime patrol aircraft can dramatito operate Taipei’s transport, patrol and surveillance cally boost Taipei’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft and stake its sovereignty claim over the island. and surveillance capability in the South China Sea. Taipei neither aims to change its strategic position in The MND has confirmed that P-3C patrol missions will be extended from Taiwan’s air defense identifi“Taiwan’s National Security Bureau cation zone to territorial islands in the South China and Ministry of National Defense Sea. Although President Ma did not preside over both closely monitor stepped-up the inauguration ceremony due to pressure from the construction and land reclamation United States, it is highly recommended that he visit activities by China in the region.” Taiping before he leaves office in May 2016. the Spratly Islands, nor seize control over the region. Expanding capacity However, the expansion can likely to be seen as a double-edged sword; on one side, Beijing may view It needs to be emphasized that the facilities on Taiping Taipei’s claim as politically useful because it will keep Island are dual-use and also intended for humaniTaiwan distant from the Philippines and Vietnam. On tarian purposes. In case of an emergency or natural the other, Beijing may also feel the need to bolster disaster, rescue vessels and airplanes can be swiftly its own presence as a counterbalance, a development deployed to respond. Most importantly, the connot necessarily favorable to Taipei. struction of piers and the extension of the airstrip Let us not ignore the existence of Dongsha Island also strengthen Taiping Island’s status as inhabitable (Pratas Island) where Taipei holds solid control and


maintains a well-developed airstrip. It is less controversial as there is no territorial dispute over Dongsha. C-130s are stationed at Dongsha on a regular basis and a civilian chartered flight operates weekly from Kaohsiung Airport. Geographically speaking, Taiping Island is 860 nautical miles south of Kaohsiung whereas the distance between Taiping and Dongsha is only 640 nautical miles, which is within the cruising range of the C-130 and P-3C. Therefore, modernizing the facilities on Dongsha Island can efficiently provide transportation and logistical support to operations on Taiping Island. At the same time, the sea lines of communication for Taiping can be ensured. These two important islands serve as the ROC’s bargaining chips in the South China Sea. With regard to surveillance and reconnaissance capability, Taiwan’s National Security Bureau and Ministry of National Defense both closely monitor stepped-up construction and land reclamation activities by China in the region. However, the current radar range on Taiping Island only falls into commercial grade between 12 and 18 nautical miles, and should be upgraded to extend the range in order to provide the coast guard with early warning capability in adjacent

islands and waters. The need for upgrades is underscored by the fact that Vietnam has been constructing facilities and deploying heavy artillery on Sandy Cay, just a few nautical miles away. Thus, maintaining vigilance on Taiping Island is a crucial necessity. Last and most important, since Taiwan needs assistance from the United States, while maintaining political détente with China, taking sides in the SCS could incur an impact on Taiwan. It is in the best interest of Taiwan to maintain a peaceful, neutral role in the region, and neither ally with the United States nor cooperate with China. Another important issue worth closely observing is the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China. Taiping Island was reportedly included in the memorial submitted by the Philippines. In October, the arbitration court in The Hague has ruled that it has jurisdiction. Therefore, the award of arbitration will have a profound impact on Taipei’s position. The governing party in Taiwan is seriously concerned about the Philippines’ claim which describes Taiping Island as a rock. Taipei needs to continue clarifying to the international community that Taiping, the largest natural island, has all the features of an island. n

photo: Jalen D. Phillips US Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa operate MV-22B Ospreys aboard the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3).

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Strategic Vision vol. 4, no. 24 (December, 2015)

Cyber Challenges Growing challenges in cyberspace demand reform of Taiwan’s cyber-policy Hon-min Yau


n 29 September 2015, the China Internet Security Conference (2015 ISC), an event rarely noticed by international relations scholars, took place in Beijing. As the largest cyber security event in China, a total of 120 experts from China, as well as countries such as the United States, Israel, Australia, and South Korea, took part in the two-day conference. Among them, Keith Alexander, a former Director of the US National Security Administration and also the first commander of the US Cyber Command, and Hao Yeli, the former vice

director of the fourth division (electronic warfare) in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff Department, separately expressed their views on issues of cyber security. In the aftermath of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) incident, and the controversial cyber-agreement reached between the United States and China during Xi Jinping’s September visit, talks from both Alexander and Hao may reveal important insights into the power dynamic between the United States and China in the digital domain. A close investigation of these events

photo: Joe Bishop Naval officers from the United States, Japan and India conduct operations planning on the littoral combat ship USS Forth Worth during Exercise Malabar.

Lieutenant Colonel Hon-min Yau is from the National Defense University, and he can be reached at vampirea4@gmail.com.


photo: William Gree An RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft flies over Afghanistan. Such assets provide vital collection of a wide range of signals intelligence.

provides a deeper understanding of China’s strategic move in cyberspace, and sheds light on the potential implications for Taiwan. The series of events began when various US companies such as US Steel and Medtronic were hacked in the early 2010s. The national discourse on cyber security was elevated in February of 2015 when the US health insurer Anthem Inc. was attacked, compromising the personal information of over 70 million people. On 4 June, 2015, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was hacked. As a result, sensitive information from over four million past and present federal employees, including social security numbers, family information and fingerprints, were stolen by hackers. China, as pointed out on 25 June, 2015, by US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, was the likely culprit behind this attack. However, it was stated by Michael Daniel, the Special Assistant to the President and the Cybersecurity Coordinator, on 9 July, 2015, that “the attribution into this event is still ongoing and we are exploring all

the different options that we have.” The White House was hesitant to assign blame prior to Xi Jing-ping’s visit to the United States on September 24. The New York Times later reported on 31 July, 2015, that symbolic responses, likely economic sanctions, were being discussed within the US administration, and according to Clapper’s assessment at the Senate Armed Services Committee on 29 September regarding US Cybersecurity Policy, this action allegedly contributes to the so-called common understanding between Obama and Xi, and articulated by those leaders on 25 September, that “neither country’s government would conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property.” The speeches and views offered during the 2015 Chinese Internet Security Conference provided important insights into the thinking and strategy of major participants. Alexander began by recognizing the positive direction taken by the United States and China in the new cyber deal, and stressed the importance of information sharing and the deepening of

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cooperation among public and private organizations. Hao, instead, was more vocal in expressing China’s official view of cyberspace. She first talked about the threats of cyberspace originating from prevalent hacking activities, infringement of state sovereignty, the hypocrisy of the super power, as revealed by Edward Snowden, and the lack of strong international norms. She vowed that cyberspace shall not be a unipolar world, citing the problem of the US double standard in cyberspace, and the fog of war in the cyber domain. She pointed to the need for stateled cooperation based on the United Nations (UN) framework, and urged the United States to prove its reliability as a strong power by releasing the authority of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), currently the most influential organization governing the internet, to the supervision of the international community. Finally, Hao emphasized the need for improving “strategic communication” instead of using threatening rhetoric and called for cooperation between China and the United States under the framework of the “new model of the major country relations.”

Looming challenges From the outset, the US–China cyber security agreement was met with immediate criticism. Joseph Nye believes that there is no reliable and timely way to verify the attacks from cyberspace and thus no way to confirm compliance. At a Senate hearing on 29 September, US senator John McCain questioned the lack of mandatory compliance and specified penalties in the agreement, while James Clapper also expressed a pessimistic attitude over the future of the deal. Jennifer McArdle of the Potomac Institute believes the pact is destined to fail, as attacking the economic sector has always been a part of China’s overarching military strategy. Although the US-China cyber security agreement

has not yet made an impact on global cyber security, it is still possible to make some broad observations of China’s emerging cyber strategy and the state of cyber affairs between the two nations. First, China actually has an advantage in cyber diplomacy as most of the accusations from the United States carried a strong political tone while lacking in solid technical evidence. Xi’s denial, and willingness to cooperate with the United States despite frequent US accusations, actually situated China on the moral high ground. This move has indeed gained some political capital for the Chinese Communist Party

“Hao emphasized the need for improving ‘strategic communication’ instead of using threatening rhetoric.” (CCP) in the eyes of domestic and international supporters. Finally, General Hao pointedly reminded the audience that it was US surveillance practices which are under scrutiny as a result of Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified documents. Second, the common perception of the “Thucydides Trap” may not be valid in cyberspace because of the extreme uncertainty of actors, capabilities, and even intent in cyberspace. In the case of the recent hacking attack against the OPM, it is difficult to decide with complete confidence whether the attack was for intelligence purposes, or for financial gain. Adding a complication, current US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper readily admitted that the United States would do the same thing if it had the opportunity to do so. Additionally, the lack of consistent definitions between cyber attacks and cyber vandalism, and hacking attacks for economic interests or state espionage, make it difficult for states to respond adequately. Third, the previous two problems illustrate the need for global rules in cyberspace. This would inevitably become a focal point for competition and cooperation


photo: John Farmer Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division fire Tube launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided missiles (TOW) during Exercise Combined Resolve.

between the United States and China. The US government has consistently sought to regulate cyberspace through collaboration among states, enterprises, and civil societies. Alexander’s speech supported the notion of the multi-stakeholder approach.

However, the Chinese appear to be taking a different approach. Hao criticized US dominance of cyberspace and characterized it as a Gramscian style of hegemony. She reiterated China’s long-standing call for a state-centric approach. Speaking at the 2015

non-state actors. On the surface, Sino-US conflict can be seen in many operational and tactical areas, but the fundamental dispute originates from contrasting views of the grand strategic governance of cyberspace. Finally, Hao reiterated the importance of each state respecting the other’s “network sovereignty,” and she used the failure of the Arab Spring to justify China’s partition of the “China” Wide Web from the “World” Wide Web be erecting the Great Firewall of China. Her speech echoed China’s position, which was addressed in the 2010 “Internet in China” whitepaper and the 2011 Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s

ISC, Zhang Li, a professor at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, proclaimed, “We wanted to talk about trust, the Americans kept talking about governance ... without trust, how can you have governance?” China’s trust is based on interstate relations, which contradicts the US position of allowing input from

draft of “International Code of Conduct for Information Security.” Xi Jinping echoed this position in a July 2014 speech at the 6th BRICS summit in Brazil, when he called for countries to respect information sovereignty. In December 2014, China’s director of the State Internet Information Office, Lu Wei, stated that a multilateral approach is better

Differing perspectives

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than a multi-stakeholder approach to governing the Internet. It is clear from these statements that China is actively selling a new type of Beijing Consensus for Cyberspace. The interaction between the US and China in cyberspace has substantial implications for Taiwan. From a strategic perspective, Taiwan would suffer significant damage if the future rules and standards of cyberspace are allowed to be shaped by China’s statecentric approach. Taiwan’s international legitimacy

“Taiwan needs to get its voice heard before falling victim to the collateral damage of such competition between the United States and China.” is constantly being eroded by China, and Taiwan lacks membership in global bodies such as the United Nations, and has only ‘observer/guest’ status in the World Health Organization (WHO). However, Taiwan has more visibility in cyberspace under the US multi-stakeholder approach. Although Taiwan’s international status limits its ability to participate in international organizations, the ROC government currently is a member of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) under the ICANN framework. Taiwan’s government-sponsored National Information Infrastructure Enterprise Promotion Association (NIIEPA) is a member of the AsiaPacific Regional At-Large Organization (APRALO) and the Taiwan Network Information Center is also a member of the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNICH) under the Address Supporting Organization (ASO). NIIEPA board member, Kuo Wei Wu, is one of 17 board members of the ICANN. Taiwan needs to get its voice heard before falling victim to the collateral damage of such competition between the United States and China. Second, from an operational or tactical perspective, Taiwan needs to think through its best stance in

cyber security. After the 2014 cyber attacks against Taiwan’s only newspaper that conducts investigative journalism, The Apple Daily, domestic discourse regularly securitized the issue of Taiwan’s cybersecurity. However, just as “military power” does not equal “security,” having cyber security does not mean having more hacking capabilities. If cyber security is to increase the cost for China to attack Taiwan, the utility of a strong hacking capability would be used as a means of either “attack” or “defense” in general. In the context of the Taiwan Strait, “attack” would serve as a kind of deterrence strategy, but the key concept of deterrence relies on the sufficient display of one’s credible capability to its adversary, which Taiwan currently does not have since there is no public disclosure of such activity. However, defense by retaliation can be less efficient in stopping an adversary’s cyber-attacks because the fog of war in cyberspace prevents you from immediately knowing who the hackers are. In fact, establishing a robust defensive system against potential attacks on Taiwan’s critical infrastructure could be a more effective and non-controversial way of enhancing cyber security. It would also demonstrate Taiwan’s role as a responsible actor in cyber security. In conclusion, the key question in regard to Taiwan’s cyber strategy is whether it wants to be a “power maximizer,” which requires a greater offensive capability, or whether it wants to be a “security maximizer” and focus primarily on defensive operations. The decision which policy-makers take will have important implications for Taiwan’s international standing. As China continues to promote its vision for governing cyberspace, policy-makers should bear in mind that the US multi-stakeholder approach is the only option which allows Taiwan’s international participation in this important domain. Given its proactive stance in cyber affairs, Taiwan is well prepared to contribute to global cyber security and governance of the cyber realm. n

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Strategic Vision vol. 4, no. 24 (December, 2015)

Seeking Refuge

Asian nations must play a larger role in providing aid to Syrian refugees Faisal Shaim

photo: Russell Watkins Despite their smiles, these young Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley face a difficult and uncertain future.


ore than four years have passed while the conflict within Syrian territory continues on without any hope of finding a solution to the crisis, day after day the situation get more complicated and terrible. The Syrian crisis is in essence a political crisis caused by the frustration of large numbers of the Syrian people who are seeking political reforms and respects for human rights. The crisis began in the early spring of 2011 within the context of the Arab Spring protests This frustration resulted from the absence of a political solution, and repression carried out by the Syrian govern-

ment. It has led to the transformation of a peaceful popular uprising to violent confrontation between the government and armed opposition groups. The armed clashes between the opposition groups and government forces have caused a large number of casualties among civilians. According to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since the civil war erupted. Syrian Geography is divided among four military forces which are in control of territory in Syria. First, the Regular Syrian Army, which operates under the

Colonel Faisal Shaim is a Jordanian military officer and a current student at the National Defense University of the ROC. He can be reached for comment at faisal_shaim72@yahoo.com

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Syrian army umbrella along with the Syrian Armed Forces, National Defense Forces, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iranian Shia militias, and several smaller groups. Second, the Opposition Battalions such as the Free Syrian Army, Islamic Movement of the free Men of the Levant, Army of Islam, and the Nusra Front. Third, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party. And fourth, The Islamic State, which is also referred to as ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh) which is a jihadist militant group from the shared border between Syria and Iraq. Due to the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, it made very rapid military gains in both Syria and Iraq, and eventually came into conflict with other rebels. In July 2014, ISIL controlled a third of Syria’s territory and most of its oil and gas production, establishing itself as the major opposition force inside Syria. The United Nations General Assembly adopted 6 resolutions condemning the abuses carried out by

the Syrian regime against its own citizens with the emphasis on non-military intervention with a special envoy consensual plan of reconciliation between the regime and the opposition which was sponsored by the League of Arab States. Russia and China rejected the issuance of any UN Security Council resolution condemning the regime.

Massive challenges Despite all the resolutions which were adopted by the General Assembly and the resolution passed by the UN Security Council, Syrian people are still suffering from the violence. As a result, there are huge numbers of refugees and most of them are internally displaced within Syria. According to UNHCR, there are more than four million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries and several European nations. As

photo: Jessi Ann McCormick Two crew members keep watch on the ramp of a CH-47 Chinook while flying over the mountains in Khas Uruzgan in Afghanistan.


photo: Justin De hoyos Georgian soldiers receive cultural training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany prior to deployment.

a result of international mismanagement, this crisis has had a profound impact on much of the Middle East and Europe. According to the Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under Secretary General for coordination of humanitarian affairs, 12.2 million Syrians are in need of aid, and 50 percent of Syrian refugees are in need of humanitarian aid. The conflict has produced four million refugees and this number increases day after day as the situation continues without political resolution. Much of the country’s population have lost their houses and property in the bombing of civilian areas. Many Syrians have also fled as a result of the gains made by ISIL in their country. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented over one million injured people, and many of them have permanent disabilities. Europe’s refugee crisis emerged this year as a problem of truly global proportions. The uncertain future of the Syrian crisis and instability in other countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea suggest that this problem could continue well into the future. A factor which has worsened the situation is the short-

age of support by the United Nations to the countries hosting Syrian refugees such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Many of the refugees have left those countries because of the economic difficulties faced by the host country. In total, around 442 thousand refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean this year looking for a better life.

Working together The international community should help to shoulder the responsibility of relief and provide aid to Syrian

“Asian countries should contribute relief aid to the Syrian refugees who are suffering from hunger, diseases and lack of shelter.” refugees. This is the collective responsibility of an interconnected world which is necessary to maintain international security and stability. Conversely, if there is no effective cooperation between the nations of the world to solve common problems, then

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photo: Amanda Dick F-22 Raptor pilots talk with visiting Korean Air Force Academy cadets. Such exchanges help build closer relations between allies.

the scourge of extremism will persist and spread. We are living in a globalized world and this world has become a small village because of new technology. The world community is more interconnected than in the past and this connectedness is evident in areas such as economy and security. Due to our interconnected relationship, all nations of the world should cooperate with each other to maintain international security and prosperity. Asian countries should contribute relief aid to the Syrian refugees who are suffering from hunger, diseases and lack of shelter. East Asian countries are economically strong, and most of these countries are now playing a leading role in the world economy. China has the second largest economy in the world, and Japan is not far behind, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore also have relatively strong economies as well. These prosperous countries should shoulder the burden with other countries and provide relief aid to Syrian refugees suffering from the terrible situation. This aid could come in the form of direct support to international organizations or by hosting some of the refugees internally. Another outgrowth of the refugee crisis is the likely

continued spread of terrorism if the international community doesn’t effectively deal with the Syrian refugee crisis. Terrorism will affect other countries, and terror-

“The growth of ISIS inside of Syria will enable the group to gain strength and continue to execute attacks around the world.” ist elements will be able to spread from one country to another. Terrorism threatens the stability of the international system and it will become worse if there is no cooperation to fight this phenomenon. The growth of ISIS inside of Syria will enable the group to gain strength and continue to execute attacks around the world. On 28 September, 2015, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China warned that the security of all countries was interrelated and that no country could protect its security alone and none could find stability at the expense of another and he therefore urged a holistic approach to both conventional and unconventional security threats. The countries of East Asia must recognize this new global challenge and contribute to collective security efforts. n

18  b 

Strategic Vision vol. 4, no. 24 (December, 2015)

Seeking Solutions Ongoing insurgency in Southern Thailand demands new solutions from leaders Suchittra Ritsakulchai


he insurgency in Southern Thailand is an intractable conflict taking place near the border with Malaysia. It originated in the 1960s as an ethnic and religious separatist insurgency in the historical Malay Patani Region, and has become more complex and increasingly violent since 2001. In July 2005, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra assumed wide-ranging emergency powers to deal with the southern violence, but the insurgency only increased further. On September 19, 2006, the junta implemented a major policy shift by replacing Thaksin’s earlier approach with a campaign to win over the hearts and minds of the insurgents. There was little progress in curbing the violence, and the death toll surpassed 3,000. In 2014, the formerly ethnic separatist insurgency was taken over by hard-line Jihadis, and this has increased friction with both the Thai-speaking Buddhist minority, and local muslims who take a moderate approach and sometimes support the Thai government. The three southern border provinces of Patani, Yala, and Narathiwat have an obscure status within the Thai nation and state. Officially part of Siam since 1909, the region roughly corresponds to the

Bangkok has largely pursued a policy of assimilation and standardization, making few concessions to the distinct history and character of the region.

former Malay sultanate of Patani. The area remains around 80 percent Malay-speaking and muslim, and has never been properly incorporated culturally or psychologically into Buddhist-dominated Thailand.

disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1954. Radical separatists began fighting a guerrilla war against the Thai state in the 1960s, reaching its most vicious stage during the late 1970s and early 1980s. A

“Radical separatists began fighting a guerrilla war against the Thai state in the 1960s, reaching its most vicious stage during the late 1970s.” Like the rest of Thailand, the southern border provinces are administered mainly by officials from the distant capital. The region has a long tradition of resistance to the rule of Bangkok, and political violence has emerged at various junctures in modern society. Significant events include the 1948 Dusun-yor Incident in which hundreds of Malay-Muslim villagers were killed in Narathiwat. The arrest and disappearance of prominent Islamic teacher Haji Sulong, who was the founder of the Patani People’s Movement and launched a petition campaign demanding autonomy, language, and cultural rights, and the implementation of Islamic law, was also very polarizing. In January 1948, he was arrested on treason charges along with other local leaders and branded a separatist. Sulong was released from jail only in 1952, but

Suchittra Ritsakulchai is a PhD student in the International Doctoral Program in Asia-Pacific Studies at National Chengchi University. She can be reached for comment at suchittra.rit@hotmail.com

Seeking solutions  b  19

number of groups were behind the fighting, including the Patani United Liberation Organization and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN). By the 1980s, as many as 1,000 insurgents were carrying out regular attacks in the South, and had even staged a number of bombings in Bangkok.

Security and governance Interestingly, the Prem Tinsulanond government (1980-1988) successfully controlled the violence, granting amnesty to former militants and setting up new security and governance arrangements in the area, which were coordinated by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC). Prem’s policy was to co-opt the Malay-Muslim elites with a combination of political privileges and development funds, much of these contributed by the army. Though far from perfect, these policies were broadly effective for about two decades. During the first term of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (2001-2005), however, the security situa-

tion in the south declined terribly. An overconfident Thaksin dissolved the Prem-era special administrative arrangements and placed the highly unpopular police force in charge of security in the south. These politically motivated policy blunders caused a sharp rise in militancy and the re-emergence of violent resistance to the Thai state. On January 4,

“Politically motivated policy blunders caused a sharp rise in militancy and the reemergence of violent resistance to the Thai state.” 2004, more than 50 militants staged a raid on an army camp, seizing a large cache of weapons and scoring an enormous propaganda victory. In the three years that followed, almost 2,000 people were killed in political violence in the region. One of the worst days of violence occurred on April 28, 2004; more than 100 men died in simultaneous attacks on a series of security posts, culminating in a bloody siege at the historic Krue Se Mosque in which more than

photo: Wes Eplin US and Thai forces practice amphibious operations during exercise Cobra Gold. Such cooperation helps boost Thailand’s anti-terrorist operational ability.


photo: Matthew Bruch Showing the versatility of air power, two F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting operations against the Islamic State.

100 militants carried out terrorist attacks against 10 police outposts across Patani, Yala, and Songkhla provinces. The 32 gunmen retreated to the 425-yearold Krue Se Mosque, regarded by Muslims as the holiest mosque in Patani. On October 25, 2004, 78 unarmed people died while under Thai military protection, apparently from suffocation, following the mass arrests after the Tak Bai incident in Narathiwat. Six local men were also arrested for having supplied weapons to insurgents. A demonstration was organized to demand their release and the police called in army reinforcements. The army used tear gas and water cannons on the crowd, and shooting started in which seven men were killed. This incident sparked widespread protests across the south, and indeed across the Muslim world. Thaksin’s initial response was to defend the army’s actions. These two incidents greatly undermined the legitimacy of the Thai state and promoted the militant movement.

Complex factors The origin and character of the political violence in the south remained a highly contentious issue. At

least some of the killings in the region were popularly attributed to extrajudicial murders carried out by, or on behalf of, the Thai security forces, while others were undoubtedly revenge killings or simply ordinary criminal acts. The militant movement has declined to make public statements of responsibility or to issue any demands, thus contributing to a growing climate of fear. Yet, there seems every reason to believe that the majority of incidents are being perpetrated by people with militant sympathies, the nature of the militant movement remains somewhat unclear. Some analysts insist that the movement is essentially a reconfigured version of earlier groups such as BRN-Coordinate, while others see the movement as a shadowy and largely ad hoc network. Whereas earlier political violence in the region used mainly separatist rhetoric, drawing on notions of Malay identity and history, anonymous leaflets circulated since January 2004 have invoked explicitly jihadist sentiments. Most analysts remain skeptical about claims that the southern Thai violence is linked to transnational networks such as Jemaah Islamiya (JI); the cause of the conflict seems overwhelmingly homegrown.

Seeking solutions  b  21

Thaksin’s mishandling of the south was one factor contributing to the September 19, 2006, military coup d’état. Ironically, though Thaksin had favored securitybased solutions to the violence, many senior army commanders advocated political solutions such as those advanced by the National Reconciliation Commission, a high-level body established by Thaksin to propose new policies to address the southern violence, but whose conclusions the prime minister has refused to accept. The new military-backed Surayud Chulanont government adopted a more conciliatory approach to the conflict from October 2006, yet the violence continued gradually, and much negotiated dialogue UK Department of International Development with the militants failed to produce re- Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat provinces are at the center of the dispute. sults. The Yingluck Shinawatra Administration came to mit to a comprehensive and integrated approach. In office in August 2011 and placed its hopes for progorder to reduce the trend of increasing violence, and ress on SBPAC. Nonetheless, the 31 March bombings work towards a lasting peace, a new strategy must be coincided with first reports of Thaksin’s unsuccessful implemented which includes actions on the part of attempt to start a peace process with exiled militant the government, civil society, as well as the insurgents leaders. Faced with continued insurgent violence, themselves. The following eight initiatives provide the cabinet approved a re-subordination of the cithe basis for a new path to peace. Initiatives one to vilian SBPAC to the military-dominated Internal three are recommendations for the Thai government. Security Operations Command. A promising threeyear policy issued by the National Security Council “Civil society groups in Thailand also (NSC) in early 2012 recognized a political dimension have an important role to play in to the violence and manipulated decentralization and fostering peace.” dialogue as official strategy, but its implementation is likely to be impeded by political and bureaucratic First, develop a unified approach to transformdisagreement. ing the conflict based on full implementation of the NSC Administration and Development Policy for Action needed Southern Border Provinces by undertaking: a) the creation of a cross-party consensus, possibly emRecommendations for a political resolution to the bodied in a national accord, that makes resolution of conflict in southern Thailand have long been in the the conflict a national priority; b) establish a durable, public domain, but Bangkok has been unable to comnon-partisan mechanism mandated by the prime


minister’s office and including respected individuals, in and out of government, to pursue dialogue with insurgent representatives; c) commit to serious consideration of political decentralization, consistent with the principle of a unitary state as enshrined in the constitution, with the aim of drafting legislation; and d) engage with civil society initiatives that seek to foster more representative government and peaceful conflict resolution. Second, the government should lift the emergency decree and martial law in those districts where they remain in effect and, until further reforms are feasible, rely on the Internal Security Act instead, ensuring that all regulations invoked are consistent with the preservation of human rights. Third, ensure accountability for human rights abuses committed by security forces, including past incidents. The government must also take steps to address the challenges stemming from the separatist leadership. First, it should acknowledge that the protracted violence is detrimental to the well-being and development of the population in the southernmost

provinces. Second, observe obligations of non-state armed actors under international humanitarian law and abide by the rules of engagement issued by the Patani United Liberation Organization, which prohibit attacks on civilians, displacement of the civilian population, and acts of retribution. Third, recognize that self-determination and maintenance of Thailand’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are compatible and prepare to respond to initiatives by state representatives and civil society to pursue dialogue on peaceful conflict resolution. Civil society groups in Thailand also have an important role to play in fostering peace. In particular, they must expand bases of popular support through continued community outreach, while maintaining channels of communication with officials and militants. At the same time, they should avoid advocating preconceived political agendas and instead inform debate on political reform and conflict resolution by identifying and expressing popular concerns and preferences. n

photo: Naoto Anazawa US Air Force Captain Angela Harp explains medical equipment to local medical studens in Okinawa. Such exchanges foster imporved community relations.

b  23

Strategic Vision vol. 4, no. 24 (December, 2015)

Trilateral Ties

Stability in Asia needs better relations between China, Japan, and South Korea Tran Thi Duyen

photo: Christian Senyk The USS Mustin (DDG 89) prepares to anchor near the coast of Japan. US-Japanese military relations provide the cornerstone of Asian security.


he year 2015 is passing on a positive note for the Northeast Asian region. After more than three years, the powerful economic and political countries of Northeast Asia; Japan, China, and South Korea, attended the trilateral summit in Seoul, South Korea on November 1, 2015. The event took place in the context of lingering doubts and division in the complex security and political environ-

in general, and the three countries in particular, as they seek to restore trust and promote cooperation? Will this be the time for these three countries to move past disagreements over wartime history, and shelve territorial disputes, in order to bring a new dimension to trilateral cooperation? The trilateral summit between South Korea, China, and Japan was launched in 2008 after numerous at-

ment which characterizes Northeast Asia. This highlevel meeting, the first in three years, between Japan, China, and South Korea offers a very encouraging signal. So how significant is this event for the region

tempts by these three countries. High-level dialogue had been considered the best hope for overcoming disagreements between the three countries but this goal was postponed until after the fifth session took

Tran Thi Duyen is a Ph.D. candidate in the International Doctoral Program in Asia-Pacific Studies at National Chengchi University. She is also a researcher with the Institute for Northeast Asian Studies, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. She can be reached for comment at duyenvass@gmail.com


place in 2012. The meeting was interrupted for three years, and during this time, the trilateral relationship underwent many ups and downs. First, the Sino-Japanese relationship has become more complicated in the past three years. Since 2010, China has surpassed Japan as the world’s secondlargest economy, and Japan has experienced rising nationalism. This has had a great impact on the psychology of leadership and behavior of both countries. This has consequently lead to a Sino-Japanese rivalry, which created unfavorable conditions for dialogue over the past three years.

Island disputes The second challenge is that in recent years territorial disputes have been heating up, particularly after Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands chain and China unilaterally declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over a large swathe of the East China Sea. The latter action has created ongo-

ing grievances from both Tokyo and Seoul and it has caused increased defense spending amongst these countries. Japan has adjusted its security and defense policies, and it failed to offer an official apology for the suffering caused by Japan in World War II. These problems contributed to a very tense climate and an unfavourable atmosphere for the holding of a trilateral meeting. In contrast, Sino-South Korean relations have been developing in a completely different direction; the two countries have clearly grown closer. China’s President Xi Jinping chose South Korea for his first trip abroad as president, rather than visiting traditional ally North Korea first. This was seen as an important change in China-South Korea relations as well as China’s relations with North Korea. South Korea has taken advantage of strained Sino-North Korean relations to promote its growing relationship with China. Without China, the North Korea issue cannot be solved, so South Korea is taking advantage of this opportunity. This growing relationship is un-

photo: Adrian Cadiz US Defense Secretary Ash Carter welcomes South Korean President Park Geun-hye with an honor cordon as she arrives at the Pentagon on October 15.

Trilateral Ties  b  25

derpinned by the fact that China has now become South Korea’s largest trading partner with exports to China exceeding imports from China by ever increasing margins, and the ever-increasing presence of Korean enterprises in China. Sino-South Korean relations have grown stronger in recent years. Of particular note, South Korean President Park Geun-hye decided to attend the military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II on September 3rd. This demonstrates that the two countries share a strong commitment to peace and stability in the region.

Strained relations Meanwhile, relations between Japan and South Korea have also been strained. Although both countries are US allies, and have huge economic and commercial interdependence, bilateral relations between the two sides have been troubled by Japan’s failure to acknowledge the suffering of Korean women forced to offer sexual services to Japanese troops during the Second World War II, and by the ongoing tension over the Takeshima/Dokdo islets. The US strategic pivot to Asia, and its deeper engagement in the economic, political and geostrategic issues of the region, is also a factor which affects China-Japan-Korea relations. Although not mentioned directly, Washington would like to see improved relations between Tokyo and Seoul to restrain Beijing’s growing influence, particularly in the sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea, as well as to strengthen security cooperation to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program. Overall, the past three years of trilateral relations between China, Japan and Korea have been characterized by a lack of trust and suspicion towards each other. It was high time that these three countries came together to reverse the negative trend. It is currently a favorable time to resume trilat-

eral negotiations between Japan, China, and South Korea. First, for Sino-Japanese relations, the meeting between President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Sinzo Abe on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Beijing in November 2014 has helped ease

“Washington would like to see improved relations between Tokyo and Seoul to restrain Beijing’s growing influence” tensions between Beijing and Tokyo. This creates a better atmosphere for senior officials to discuss a détente in relations between the two countries. Second, Chinese economic growth is showing clear signs of a slowdown. China has a great need to promote economic and trade cooperation, especially by signing a free trade agreement with Japan and South Korea if possible. This adds further momentum for efforts to overcome existing political differences. The third point is that both China and South Korea are apprehensive about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and how it might affect the stability of the AsiaPacific region. Obviously, the leaders of China, Korea, and Japan do not want to lose an opportunity which could potentially bring tens of billions of dollars to the region and bring increased prosperity and security for billions of people. However, the TPP creates an incentive for these countries to produce their own trilateral free trade agreement. Therefore, it was important for these countries to meet as soon as possible in order to quickly work towards a trilateral FTA. If successful, an FTA between these countries will link the world’s second, third, and twelth largest economies. With 1.5 billion people in the region, a trilateral FTA would be as large as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) combined. Finally, all three countries have an interest in maintaining peace and stability in the region, there should be a conciliatory environment and a new high-level


photo: Matthew Bruch A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer blazes over the skies of Iraq. These strategic assets are central in the projection of American global military power.

meeting to discuss the problems of mutual interest, including the nuclear risk on the Korean Peninsula. In short, both politically and economically, this is a favorable time for senior leaders of the three countries to sit together in such a context.

“Northeast Asian countries have achieved some progress in their relationship, but a few meetings are not sufficient to fundamentally improve relations.” The fact that the Trilateral Summit took place in Seoul is not a coincidence; it stems from historical and contemporary factors. South Korea was the first country to propose the trilateral summit initiative in early 2004. Initially, Japan, China, and South Korea started their talks under the framework of the ASEAN+3 mechanism, often on the sidelines of that meeting. By 2008, the three countries had decided to meet independently of the ASEAN gathering which took place in Fukuoka, Japan.

More recently, South Korea has launched a strategic trust-building initiative in Northeast Asia and has also proposed a Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative to forge mutual trust and boost cooperation among Japan, China, and South Korea. Its hosting of the most recent summit reflects this commitment. Thus, Korea has been very proactive in pushing for initiatives which have contributed to promoting change and dialogue between the three countries. Overall, Northeast Asian countries have achieved some progress in their relationship, but a few meetings are not sufficient to fundamentally improve relations. Countries of the region must share responsibility to jointly develop mechanisms to coexist in harmony, promoting equal cooperation for win-win relationships, build security cooperation mechanisms and promote greater economic cooperation. Therefore, building political trust among these countries to establish permanent peace, stability and co-prosperity in the region should be a priority in 2016. n


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Strategic Vision, Issue 24  

Strategic Vision is a journal published by NCCU's Center for Security Studies and the ROC National Defense University that provides analysis...

Strategic Vision, Issue 24  

Strategic Vision is a journal published by NCCU's Center for Security Studies and the ROC National Defense University that provides analysis...

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