STRATEGIC VISION Volume 6, Issue 35
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Beijing Eyes Arctic Resources, Transportation Routes Wen-hao Lu
Post-Doklam Sino-Indian Ties Namrata Hasija
Taiwan Visa Policy and Security Edgar Maldonado
China’s North Korea Strategy Alžbeta Bajerová
Australia’s Shifting Defense Strategy David Scott
Volume 6, Issue 35
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Contents China’s Arctic Ambitions................................................................4
Post Doklam India-China Relations.............................................. 9
Security Challenges and Taiwan visa policy................................. 13
China’s North Korea Strategy........................................................ 17
Australia’s Shifting Defense Strategy............................................24
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Editor Fu-Kuo Liu Executive Editor Aaron Jensen Associate Editor Dean Karalekas Editorial Board Tiehlin Yen Yi-hua Kan Richard Hu Guang-chang Bian Chung-kun Ma Lipin Tien STRATEGIC VISION For Taiwan Security (ISSN 2227-3646) Volume 6, Number 35, October, 2017, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or by telephone at: +886 (02) 8237-7228 Online issues and archives can be viewed at our website: http://www.mcsstw.org/web/. © Copyright 2017 by the Center for Security Studies. Articles in this periodical do not necessarily represent the views of either the TCSS, NDU, or the editors.
From The Editor
he editors and staff of Strategic Vision would like to wish our readers well as the weather turns cool. The AsiaPacific continues to undergo important developments. 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 this issue with Wen-hao Lu, a colonel in the ROC Army and lecturer at Taiwan’s National Defense University, who offers an examination of China’s Arctic strategy. Namrata Hasiji, a research associate at the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, discusses the developments and long-term implications of the Doklam standoff between India and China. Next, Edgar Maldonado, a student at Taiwan’s National Defense University and a lieutenant colonel in the Honduran Army, examines the security challenges emerging from Taiwan’s visa-free policy. Alžběta Bajerová, an intern at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Ceenter of Excellence looks at China’s strategy towards North Korea. Finally, Dr. David Scott, a frequent lecturer at the NATO Defense College in Rome, looks at Australia’s developing defense strategy against the backdrop of China’s rise. 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
Strategic Vision vol. 6, no. 35 (October, 2017)
Cold Calculation Beijing eyes Arctic as solution to dwindling resources, risky shipping routes Lu Wen-hao
he arctic environment is undergoing dramatic environmental change. According to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice reached a record low wintertime maximum extent in 2016. The Arctic Ocean and coastal areas once barren and frozen under a dense sheet of ice are slowly coming to life with industry and commerce brought about by the receding ice conditions. The melting Arctic region not only brings new opportunities for the eight Arctic nations (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States) that ring the North pole and are competing for rich resources, but it also attracts countries which covet its great potential. Furthermore, the receding ice is cre-
ating four additional maritime trade routes, which are the Northern Sea Route (NSR), the Transpolar Sea Route, the once-legendary Northwest Passage, and the Arctic Bridge Route, that will significantly shorten the time and enormously reduce the cost of global maritime shipping.
Observer status Although the northernmost territory of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is at least 14,000 km away from the North Pole, it has been active in the Arctic for many years, conducting climate research and assorted scientific expeditions. In 2013, China was granted observer status in the multilateral Arctic
photo: U.S. Navy Ice Camp Sargo, located in the Arctic Circle, hosts Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016 and will house more than 200 participants from four nations.
Colonel Wen-hao Lu is an instructor at the ROC War College at the National Defense University. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com
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photo: ROC Presidential Office
The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long stops in the Port of Fremantle, Western Australia, after the conclusion of an expidition to the Antarctic.
Council, which signaled its active intent to become more involved in Arctic affairs and governance and closer collaboration with the Arctic nations. As the most populous country in the world, China has good reasons for seeking more resources in order to sustain its economic growth and maintain domestic stability. China’s interests in the Arctic are driven primarily by the need to fuel and feed the world’s largest population. In addition, China’s search for new sources of oil, natural gas, minerals, and fish, stem from this desire, as does its quest to secure additional maritime trade routes.
Resource rich According to the US Geological Survey, the Arctic region contains approximately 90 billion barrels of oil, 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. China imported an average 8.55-million barrels a day in the first half of 2017, above the 8.12-million barrels a day imported by
the United States, and has become the world’s biggest crude oil importer. China currently gets half of its oil supply from the Middle East via tankers and is also a leading importer of natural gas. Middle East conflicts and interruptions in the sea-lane supply routes
“Greenland’s ores are so plentiful that they can meet a quarter of the world’s demand for uranium and rare earth metals.” would adversely impact the Chinese economy, which has led the PRC to seek more secure sources of oil and natural gas. The Arctic offers a source of energy in a more politically stable area and closer to China than its current Middle East suppliers. The Arctic is a potential source of mineral resources that China needs for its robust manufacturing sector. Greenland, which is under Denmark’s authority, holds large reserves of copper, uranium, and other minerals that make it an area of keen interest for
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Chinese companies and the Chinese government. Greenland’s ores are so plentiful that they can meet a quarter of the world’s demand for uranium and rare earth metals needed for manufacturing in China. As the second largest economy in the world and a world leader in global maritime commerce, China’s gross domestic product heavily relies on ocean shipping. Nevertheless, the traditional trade routes that China depends on are challenged by chokepoints, vulnerable maritime highways, and congestion. For example, 80 percent of China’s crude oil imports transits through the Strait of Malacca near Malaysia, the most important maritime lifeline for China. PRC ships constitute roughly 60 percent the vessels passing through this region.
Alternate route Should the Strait of Malacca fall under the control by Beijing’s rivals, this would pose a great risk to the PRC’s energy security. The possibility of a resurgence
of piracy in the area likewise poses a threat to this vital route. As a result, Chinese shipping companies view the Arctic as a viable trade route, at least during the ice-free months. The Northern Sea Route in particular runs along the Arctic coasts of Russia and Norway. Vessels traveling the NSR can realize significant savings in sailing days (and fuel costs) between Northern Europe and Asia and avoid the risk of piracy associated with the Strait of Malacca. The traditional warm-water route through the Suez Canal requires on average 48 days and 11,300 nautical miles for oil tankers and large container vessels. That same voyage along the NSR is shortened by 13 days and 4,000 nautical miles. In addition to energy resources and opening Arctic water routes, the receding ice in the Arctic region also unveils the rich fishery resources. With the world’s largest population, China has a great demand for food. Most Chinese, especially those who live near the coast, have historically relied on fish as a source of protein. The growing Chinese middle class places
photo: Colby Hardin A US Air Force F-16 F and four F-35A Lightning IIs from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, approach the runway during exercise VIGILANT ACE 18 at Kunsan Air Base.
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increasing demand on China’s commercial fishing industry to find new fish stocks. Given the rapid depletion of global fish resources, the potential of the fish stocks of the Arctic Ocean will no doubt be a main objective in this regard. Although the five Arctic nations (Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States) signed a ban on commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean to protect the living marine resources of the thawing region in 2014, the PRC considers the ban, and the active enforcement of national fisheries regulations, as denying its right to the so-called “global commons.” In recent years, China has become more dependent on energy resources because of its rapid economic growth. The issue of energy security has been placed as a vital strategic position on China’s economic development, social stability, and national security. Undoubtedly, the rich energy reserves in the Arctic allow China to weather any possible energy blockade by the West. Therefore, the primacy of Beijing’s Arctic strategy is focusing on the nation’s energy security, by carrying out scientific research and seeking the technology which would lower the cost of exploitation and by conducting mergers, acquisitions, and investment of foreign mineral and oil companies that operate in the Arctic region. Currently, China has been a crucial participant in energy- and resourcerelated industries in the Arctic.
Growing desire China has shown a growing desire to become more deeply involved in Arctic affairs. In 2006, Beijing applied for permanent observer status in the Arctic Council. After three denials, the council finally granted permanent observer status to China in 2013. Though as an observer, Beijing has only limited influence and right of speech compared to full members, it prevents China from being marginalized in Arctic affairs. Furthermore, the PRC’s economic ties with
Nordic countries further heightens Beijing’s influence in Arctic affairs. In contrast to the powerful countries in the Arctic region, the Nordic countries seem to be able to offer a shortcut to China’s Arctic ambitions. China’s relationship with two world superpowers in the region is complicated. On the one hand, Beijing and Washington have disputes over a number of geopolitical issues. On the other, Moscow is concerned and suspicious of its powerful neighbor. Canada, another big player in the Arctic, is a traditional ally of the United States in international politics. Hence, the Nordic countries appear a more pliable channel for Chinese access to the Arctic, since Nordic countries are in critical need of foreign financial support, which China can provide.
New corridors The initial structure of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) involved creating sea corridors through the Indian and Pacific Oceans to Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia, as well as land corridors connecting China with Central Asia, Eastern
“China’s main focus in the Arctic will be on its strategic interests, and the measures it takes will seek to avoid embroiling itself in regional conflicts in the Arctic.” Europe and Russia. The Arctic did not feature in early maps and outlines of the BRI. However, in June 2017, a policy paper co-produced by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the State Oceanic Administration provided new insights into how the Arctic can be more closely tied to Beijing’s ambitious trade policies, including the BRI. This paper formally linked the Arctic to the BRI when it named three specific sea routes which would
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be essential for China to develop a “blue engine” of economic growth: Namely, the Indian Ocean-toMediterranean Sea route, the South Pacific region, and the Arctic Ocean. Regarding the Arctic, the paper outlined China’s interest in working with other actors in the region to augment sea-transit conditions, survey for new resources, and promote clean energy and mutual development. Additionally, China and Finland are discussing a proposal for a US$3.4 billion “Arctic Corridor” railway that would connect Northern Europe and Arctic Ocean deep-water ports with China. The idea is considered a part of the development of the BRI in the Arctic Region. In short, Beijing knows it has disadvantages as a non-Arctic state, and so compared to the assertive behavior that China engages in to safeguard what it calls its national core interests in the South China Sea and East China Sea, Beijing has been taking a different approach in its Arctic strategy. Beijing is not seeking the status of a powerful actor in the region. Instead, it is looking for partnerships and keeping multilateral and bilateral cooperation with the Arctic nations in all respects. In doing so, it seeks to be able to reduce Arctic nations’ concerns about China’s ambitions in the Arctic.
Global commons Moreover, China will continue to promote the idea that Arctic resources are a “global commons” and will
image: Susie Harder
urge joint development with Arctic nations by using its economic power. Meanwhile, in order to further its interests, China will likely encourage multilateral solutions to territorial disagreements in the Arctic. Simply put, China’s main focus in the Arctic will be on its strategic interests, and the measures it takes will seek to avoid embroiling itself in regional conflicts in the Arctic. Taiwan, as an island state, is heavily reliant on export trade and maritime affairs. Since the opening of additional maritime trade routes in the Arctic has a demonstrated benefit to global shipping, Taiwan has no reason to ignore the development of the Arctic region. Taiwan should also actively seek opportunities to involve itself in Arctic affairs. Taiwan could apply for observer status in the Arctic Council, as observer status is not limited to states. If Taiwan does not take advantage of opportunities in the Arctic, the country’s economic competitiveness may be weakened at a time when many trading nations are including the Arctic in their plans. n
Strategic Vision vol. 6, no. 35 (October, 2017)
Bracing for Hostilities India wary of resurgence of Chinese aggressiveness in Doklam border area Namrata Hasija
hina’s extraordinarily rapid rise in the hierarchy of global power is raising concerns about its future policies. Opinion is divided as to whether the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will continue to assert its power in disruptive ways, or act more responsibly as its own stakes in the international system grow. Arguments can be made for both views. However, emerging signs suggest that China’s self-assertion is becoming an unpleasant reality, whereas the expectation that it will work for, and within, a global consensus remains more a matter of
hope. The recent standoff between India and China in the Doklam area is a reflection of China’s willingness to act more assertively. While Doklam may have appeared as an isolated incident to the wider world, it is in fact part of a long-term problem, which has been growing in recent years in stride with Beijing’s assertiveness. While China and India have temporarily set aside their differences, there are several factors which suggest that another Sino-Indian border crisis could well occur in the future. First, the overall level of Chinese military
photo: Abhishek Kumar A single wreath adorns the Nathu La War Memorial, dedicated to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the 1967 border war against China.
Namrata Hasija is a Research Associate at the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy.
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photo: Andy Martinez A Marine descends from an MV-22B Osprey with a fast rope at Camp Hansen, Okinawa.
activity on the border has increased in recent years. Second, China’s aggressive maritime activity in the East China Sea and South China Sea could translate into a more muscular approach to land border disputes as well. Third, China’s increasingly hostile rhetoric toward India show a lack of respect for Indian concerns, and reinforces its aggressive undertakings on its periphery. Finally, the Doklam standoff has hardened public and elite opinion in India toward China, which is likely to translate into a hardened resolve against any future PRC actions along the border.
“hot spots” along the border and began to lay claim to more areas. Over time, Chinese forces have moved into these areas and slowly consolidated their positions. More recently, Chinese patrols have occurred in a more deliberate fashion. They have operated in spe-
“The events in Doklam have produced a wave of simmering disapproval of the Chinese, not only among the top echelons but among common people as well.”
Vague border Since the 1962 war between India and China, the Sino-Indian border has remained undemarcated in many areas, and military patrols by both sides have tended to stray across the vague border. In the late 1970s, there was an increase in People’s Liberation Army (PLA) patrols in the areas of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. These patrols often resulted in intense eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations with Indian military personnel. Later on, the Chinese identified
cific locations more regularly, and as their strength and confidence has increased, so too has the aggressiveness of their patrols. In recent years, there have been hundreds of border incidents by Chinese military forces along the border. Despite the recent drawdown by both sides, practical concerns in the Doklam region remain. Indian and Chinese troops are separated from each other by a mere 150 meters. Additionally, some reports have suggested that China is building fortifications in the area.
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These increased border tensions between China and India come at a time when China is pushing out into the East China Sea and the South China Sea. In the former, China has been more assertive in challenging Japanese claims to the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands. Much more notable however are China’s claims and activities in the South China Sea. China’s vast claims in the region overlap with large swaths of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Vietnam and the Philippines. Even more concerning, China has constructed huge artificial islands, and many commentators have speculated that these islands will be used for military purposes. In view of China’s aggressive posture and expansive claims in the sea, it is reasonable to question whether China will also take a more aggressive policy with regard to its border disputes in the future. The rhetoric coming out of Beijing about India likewise suggests that troubles in the Doklam area may soon resurface. Prior to the end of the standoff, official Chinese media bombarded domestic Chinese audiences, as well as the international community, with a steady stream of threats and taunts toward India. Chinese state-sponsored media continually brought up the 1962 border war, and emphasized India’s loss. Prominent Indian scholars such as Mohan Malik have argued that Chinese elites look down on India, and that China sees India as a challenge to its ambitions in Central Asia and South Asia, particularly with regard to its Belt and Road Initiative. For this reason, tensions between China and India are sure to continue.
Simmering disapproval The events in Doklam have produced a wave of simmering disapproval of the Chinese, not only among the top echelons but among common people as well. There have been strong reactions both from the government and defense personnel. A prominent exam-
ple of this harsh new tone comes from Indian Army General Bipin Rawat, who said that “flexing of muscle” had begun and that China was “salami slicing,” or taking over territory in a very gradual manner, as a means of “testing the limits of our threshold,”
“Even before the Doklam crisis, India had begun to reorient itself to the realities of a stronger China by seeking to deepen cooperation with friendly powers and by improving its domestic infrastructure in the country’s more sensitive regions.” which India has “to be wary about”. He has asserted time and again that the Indian military must prepare itself for a two-front war scenario. India’s newly appointed Defense Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman visited the Nathu-La area on the SinoIndian border and interacted with Army personnel and Indo-Tibetan Border Police officials. Although bad weather in the area forced the cancelation of what was supposed to have been an aerial survey by Sitharaman, the defense minister pushed ahead and conducted a ground tour instead. This underscores the importance which top Indian officials give to the Doklam standoff.
Reorienting to realities Even before the Doklam crisis, India had begun to reorient itself to the realities of a stronger China by seeking to deepen cooperation with friendly powers and by improving its domestic infrastructure in the country’s more sensitive regions. The recent 21st edition of the Malabar series of exercises was held in the Bay of Bengal from July 10 to 17. The weeklong trilateral naval exercise by the militaries of the United States, Japan, and India was seen as being aimed against China, especially given the timing:
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photo: Greg Erwin A US Air Force F-35A Lightning II from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, taxis for take-off at Kadena Air Base.
during the Doklam crisis. India also strongly supports deeper quadrilateral cooperation between the United States, Japan, Australia, and India. During the recent ASEAN summit in November, these four countries held discussions on the sidelines which sought to strengthen
“If a significant border crisis occurs in the future, it may be harder for leaders on the two sides to find a peaceful solution against an angry nationalist uproar.” joint naval exercises, implement the rule of law, and take steps to improve safety of navigation. Domestically, India is trying to develop its transportation infrastructure to boost connectivity in the northeastern region, especially in areas near the border with China and near countries under China’s influence. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the country’s longest bridge over the Brahmaputra River, which will further enhance connectivity to the border region.
While the situation remains tense, some positive developments between India and China took place recently, when the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs was held 18 November, 2017 in Beijing. A press release from the Indian Embassy said that both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of the India-China border issue and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations. The two sides also exchanged views on further confidence-building measures (CBMs) and strengthening of military-tomilitary contacts. The Doklam crisis, however, has produced a deep unease in India—an unease that is shared by both elites and common people alike. If a significant border crisis occurs in the future, it may be harder for leaders on the two sides to find a peaceful solution against an angry nationalist uproar. In order to produce a stable, long-term solution, both sides must commit themselves to dialogue, and to peaceful means for resolving disputes. n
Strategic Vision vol. 6, no. 35 (October, 2017)
Potential Threats Taiwan’s new visa-free policy brings potential security challenges to the island Edgar Maldonado
ith its strong ties to Latin American countries, Taiwan’s government recently devised a visa-free policy for countries with which it has diplomatic relations. One of the major reasons for this policy is to attract more foreign visitors to boost Taiwan’s decaying tourist sector. While this policy was announced with good intentions, a consequence of this policy is that it will likely introduce various forms of crime from these countries to Taiwan. Many of the countries on Taiwan’s
visa-free list have serious challenges with crime. This study will examine how existing crime problems in Central America could threaten Taiwan under the new visa-free policy. Organized crime is defined as criminal activities conducted by structured groups for directly or indirectly obtaining economic, political or other material benefit. It is different from common criminal organizations actions given that organized crime is mostly conducted by both legal actors and illegal or-
photo: ROC Presidential Office Military Police Special Services Company personnel appear at Jinhua Counter Terror Exercise and disaster prevention 2017.
Edgar Maldonado is a student at Taiwan’s National Defense University and a lieutenant colonel in the Honduran Army.
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photo: Frankin Ramos A US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft begins take-off during Exercise VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base in South Korea.
ganizations. Connections between illegal organizations and legal political, law enforcement, banking and other elites help members of organized crime to avoid being punished. Organized crime often occurs on an international scale. In Latin America, organized crime typically takes the form of human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder. Six Latin American countries are ranked as the most dangerous countries not at war, and most of the danger in these countries is a result of organized crime. Having been left unchecked, serious criminal activity in these countries has gradually seeped into national institutions to form a dense criminal network. The difference between organized crime and traditional crime is the involvement of government institutions. Although officials are not willing to recognize that the involvement of institutions has become regular, the facts and polls show that crime is
one of the top of concerns of people. As the problem has become increasingly severe, governments have been unable to stem the flow of crime and violence across borders.
Cooler ties After the election of Tsai Ing-wen as president of the Republic of China (ROC), relations between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have become cooler. While the Tsai Administration has sought to maintain practical relations with China, its failure to acknowledge the so-called 1992 Consensus has drawn criticism from Beijing. Accordingly, China has decreased the level of cross-strait exchange and interaction. Taiwan has accordingly sought to increase ties with other countries and regions. One result of this effort has been to adopt the visa-free
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policy with Latin American allies in order to boost ties and tourism. In 2017, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it would grant visa-free status to diplomatic allies in Central America and the Caribbean. Under the new policy, citizens from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua were granted visa-free admission for up to 90 days, while visitors from the Dominican Republic, Belize, Guatemala, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines would be admitted for 30 days. Additionally, Taiwan will allow visitors from the Philippines to enjoy visa-free status as part of its new Southbound Policy. Taiwan has already initiated a trial period for visa-free status for the Philippines, which will run from November 1st, 2017 to July 31, 2018. During this time, visitors from the Philippines will be able to visit Taiwan for up to 14 days.
Security problems While the visa-free policy will boost relations and economic benefits for all countries involved, it will also pose a number of challenges in the area of crime and human security. One problem that could increase as a result of the visa-free policy is organized crime. Currently, Taiwan is a regional transit point for heroin, methamphetamine, and other club drugs to Northeast Asia. Additionally, much smuggling occurs between China and Taiwan. With these existing channels for drug smuggling, crime networks in Latin America may seek to take advantage of the situation and use Taiwan as a transit point, and possibly also a destination for drug smuggling. Drug smuggling may also contribute to the problem of money laundering. Money laundering systems exist in Taiwan to serve foreign laborers and illegal activities, if drug trafficking were to increase, money laundering would also increase. Organized crime networks could also take advan-
tage of the visa-free policy to increase trafficking for prostitution. Given the close proximity, and economic problems in some Southeast Asian countries, prostitution rings may attempt to bring more women for short-term prostitution activity. In turn, this could
“Taiwan should seek to rejoin Interpol, perhaps in an unofficial capacity. Access to information and intelligence from Interpol would greatly enhance Taiwan’s ability to flag potentially dangerous figures and criminals.” contribute to health threats, and possible violence against women. In addition to increased crime, the visa-free policy my pose challenges to public health and disease control. Many countries on the visa-free policy list have problems with public sanitation, hygiene standards and disease control. Diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and AIDS could be brought into the country. Moreover, higher numbers of visitors would pose a challenge if infectious diseases such as SARS or avian flu were to break out in the region. For this reason, Taiwan may also need to increase the number of health workers at its points of entry.
Strengthening links In view of these new challenges to its security, Taiwan should take a number of steps to safeguard its security. First, Taiwan should deepen its intelligence exchange with its visa-free partners. Strengthening law enforcement and intelligence links with friendly countries will help Taiwan identify potentially dangerous individuals who have entered the country. Furthermore, Taiwan should seek to rejoin Interpol, perhaps in an unofficial capacity. Access to information and intelligence from Interpol would greatly enhance Taiwan’s ability to flag potentially dangerous
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photo: Monica Muler A sign at the international airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan warns travelers that drug trafficking can be punishable by death.
figures and criminals. In order to prepare for an influx of visitors from these countries, Taiwan must increase the law enforcement presence at its ports of entry. The potential increase in drug trafficking and human trafficking will likely put a strain on existing security staff. Taiwan must also promote the welfare and morale of police and law enforcement agencies. In September, a member of Taiwan’s police union published an article in Taiwan’s media claiming that police equipment was sometimes defective and inadequate for the job. Reduced welfare and pension levels have also contributed to a decrease in morale among some law enforcement officers. Finally, many segments of the Taiwan public do not hold police in high esteem. Taken together, these factors make it challenging for police and law enforcement agencies to attract
Nations hosted a meeting on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Palermo, Italy in 2000. The participating nations reached agreements which supported improved cooperation to identify organized crime, and measures to foster deeper cooperation and prosecution of international criminals. In order to better safeguard its security and wellbeing, Taiwan should pursue deeper links with law enforcement agencies around the globe. Although Taiwan often faces challenges to international cooperation because of pressure from the PRC, it must continue to pursue novel means of participation and outreach. In some cases, current or retired law enforcement officials might be able to participate in international crime-fighting forums in a private capacity.
talented people into their ranks. Taiwan should ensure that police are fairly compensated, and receive proper benefits. In general, organized crime has taken advantage of globalization and transformed in ways that make it more difficult to legally prosecute. In order to alleviate the global impact of organized crime, the United
Furthermore, security scholars from think tanks in Taiwan could increase participation in track II-type security forums around the globe. Measures such as this would significantly increase Taiwan’s ability to share information related to transnational crime, and increase Taiwan’s reputation as a proactive member of the international community. n
Strategic Vision vol. 6, no. 35 (October, 2017)
A closer look at Chinese failure to pressure North Korean denuclearization Alžběta Bajerová
photo: Roman Harak The People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are close allies and ideological partners.
hroughout the escalation of the North Korea missile crisis, China has been seen by the West as holding the key to the problem. This narrative has not only been adopted by the media, but also by the current US administration. US President Donald Trump said during a state visit to Beijing that “China can fix this problem easily and quickly,” and slammed Beijing on Twitter for allegedly doing “nothing” to solve the issue. In order to analyze whether China is indeed capable of ridding the world of North Korea’s nuclear threat, but is actively choosing not to do so for its own interests, one first must step back from Washington’s interpretation
of Beijing’s actions and examine China’s interests on the Korean Peninsula. The notion that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) possesses the ability to exercise influence over North Korea’s nuclear program stems from the significant economic leverage that Beijing has over Pyongyang. China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner, accounting for more than 90 percent of its total international trade. A crucial element of trade is North Korea’s coal exports to China that was facilitated in 2015 by a high-speed rail route built between the North Korean border and China’s northeastern Liaoning province.
Alžběta Bajerová is a research intern at The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and the Editor-in-Chief of the Institute of Asian Studies’ monthly newsletter.
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Despite economic sanctions, trade volume between the two countries has been steadily rising. What recently caught the public’s eye were the numbers from the first half of 2017, when China-North Korea trade totaled US$2.6 billion, up 10 percent from the same period in 2016. This apparent increase occurred despite China’s announcement that it was going to cut down on coal imports from North Korea, in accordance with sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.
Inaccurate data The accuracy of official economic data released by China is regularly disputed. According to US researchers, it is obvious that China exports crude oil to North Korea, although the state has not reported any transactions since 2014. Thus, the numbers reported by China should be been seen rather as a minimum benchmark, and less as a fact. This unwillingness of China to adhere to sanctions and act upon the North Korean economic dependence is source of frustration for Washington. So why doesn’t China exerts more pressure on North Korea? In fact, China has very little incentive to truly exercise sanctions on North Korea. First, China does not view its trade leverage as a key to actually ending the nuclear threat. Instead,
it perceives the economic and nuclear issues as completely separate. From Beijing’s perspective, the reason behind North Korea’s aggressive politics is the US military superiority in the region, and hence only a bargain in this area might change Pyongyang’s posture. China’s ambassador to the United Nations has openly stated that if the United States and North Korea do not attempt to reduce tensions and denuclearize, there is nothing that China can do. Beijing has proposed a solution in this area. Together with Russia, it has offered to broker a “dual suspension” deal that would bind North Korea to suspend its nuclear weapons program in return for the United States ending its military exercises with South Korea. The very idea of such deal, sometimes labeled “freeze for freeze,” has been repeatedly turned down by Washington. This is not unreasonable, as Washington’s strategic relationship with
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Seoul is based on the Mutual Defense Treaty dating to 1953, and the impairment of this treaty is one of Pyongyang’s principal objectives. Second, making such concession to a rogue, nuclear-equipped state could set a dangerous precedent in the international community. Third, US withdrawal from the peninsula would cause a power shift in the region—a very favorable development for China. Another reason China avoids using its significant economic leverage over Pyongyang is the direct impact of such conduct. If Beijing were to halt trade with the country, North Korea would suffer a great shortage of goods. That would put the small country—in which an estimated two out of five citizens are already malnourished—in dangerous proximity to a full-blown humanitarian crisis. Research on the effects of economic sanctions has shown that sanctions often fail because totalitarian regimes typically compensate for their losses by taking more resources from their own people.
The severity of Kim Jong Un’s regime toward its own people has already been proven. The famine in the 1990s killed as many as one million North Koreans, roughly five percent of the population at that time. Despite rather generous reaction from the international community, North Korea regularly puts roadblocks in the way of donors. Humanitarian aid has since become an item in diplomatic negotiations regarding the nuclear program. The regime, however, has been largely unresponsive to negotiation revolving around its granting or withdrawal.
Misplaced priorities Even now, despite international sanctions and increased proximity to famine, North Korea disregards its population’s needs and continues to allocate large a portion of its GDP to military and weapons development, and spends generous amounts of money on lavish projects such as the Masikryong ski resort.
photo: Justin Kilcullen Children in an orphanage in North Korea during the 1997 famine. As many as one million North Koreans are belived to have died in the famine.
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photo: Roman Harak The friendship bridge links Sinuiju, North Korea across the Yalu River to Dandong, a Chinese city.
Therefore, there is no reason to anticipate that North Korea would amend its actions; neither by the influence of sanctions, nor when facing the starvation of its own population. Testing the limits of a rogue regime equipped with nuclear warheads and willing to sacrifice its citizens could have significant consequences, especially for a bordering state like China. If Beijing indeed discontinued all trade ties, many North Koreans would encounter extreme hardship and may attempt to defect or rebel. With social and economic instability rising, Pyongyang would be forced to impose even harsher punishments in order to control the population. Such pressure, combined with extreme food scarcity, would create a migration wave that would hit Chinese border areas. At the same time, China would also lose the middle-sized businesses that currently make a profit by exporting to North Korea. The border areas (such
as Dandong and Shenyang) would suffer from unemployment, and likely face an influx of migrants. In other words, China would be facing a spill-over crisis. Should Pyongyang fail to suppress a rebellion, the crisis might escalate into violent conflict, and a civil war in a border country is a very dangerous issue to have to contend with.
Poignant consequences If China fully embraced its economic power over Pyongyang and let the regime collapse, the negative consequences would be poignant. At the same time, the outcomes of such a development could not possibly serve as sufficient compensation for taking such a risk. In the event of a regime collapse in the north, South Korea, backed by the United States, would very likely come to the rescue and pursue swift unification under its own terms. Such a development would
North Korean Denuclearization b 21
photo: DoD US Pacific Command has deployed the first elements of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, known as THAAD, to South Korea.
strip China of its buffer state, and leave it with a US ally directly on its border. Although China will undeniably push its own interests, it would be difficult to control the outcome in a rapidly failing state. Besides, a direct clash between China, South Korea and the United States could also potentially harm Beijing’s other long-term interests. On the other hand, what if unification could be controlled? For 20 years, South Korea and the United States have led negotiations with North Korea while having eventual unification in mind. As for China, however, the idea of a unified Korea brings mixed results either way. Of course, even from Beijing’s perspective, the unification scenario has some compelling arguments. It would solve the imminent nuclear threat that China is very close to, and not particularly happy about. Moreover, there is the prospect of removing the justification for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system that irks Beijing. If the officially-stated threat was gone, Seoul could easily be maneuvered into dismantling it. From an economic point of view, a reasonable and
developing neighbor with an open market to replace North Korea would also be beneficial to China. China’s fears and concerns over the possibility of a US ally on its border are not unjustified. When Beijing looks back to German unification at the end
“The desire to push the United States off the Korean Peninsula is the point when China and North Korea shake hands.” of the Cold War, it views the United States as having taken advantage of Soviet, and later Russian, weakness to not only maintain its Cold War alliance, but also push it further toward the Russian border. China likely expects the same strategy to be applied in Korea, with US troops theoretically being placed as far as the Yalu River. This is what China fought the Korean War to prevent. Beijing currently opposes Korean unification, and has the will and capabilities to prevent it. Since the PRC props up North Korea economically and could intervene militarily to block unification in the event
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of collapse, its veto over moves toward unification is effective. Thus, for the United States and South Korea to achieve such an outcome, China must believe that unification is in its best interest. That means, for unification to move forward, it almost certainly must come with a reduction of the US role on the Korean peninsula.
Common goals The desire to push the United States off the Korean Peninsula is the point when China and North Korea shake hands. Other than that, however, their relationship can be described as nothing short of cold. China’s preferred scenario for North Korea’s future involves political and economic reform, abandoning its nuclear program, and becoming a perfect buffer state. China’s large investments in the nation suggest that there have been intentions to lead North Korea in such direction for quite some time. Kim Jong Un, however, is adamantly unresponsive to such tactics. Also out of the picture is Kim Jong Nam, the oust-
ed brother of the North’s despot leader and Beijing’s former protégé, who, in case of a successful silent coup, could have been installed as a puppet leader in Pyongyang to bring North Korea closer to China and its interests, while continuing the rule of the Kim dynasty. With his murder, China lost what was possibly its last chance for transformation on its own terms. With Kim Jong-Un apparently achieving a credible nuclear capability, it has also lost a great deal of influence over Pyongyang. Observing the unfavorable development of its neighbor, China has gone from criticizing the February 2014 UN report that detailed human rights abuses in North Korea, to backing UN Resolutions 1718 and 2375, which imposed the harshest sanctions on the regime so far. China does not believe in the influence of sanctions and likely also does not respect them, therefore, one can interpret Beijing’s current actions on the UN floor as a statement for the international community. China is prepared to cooperate on North Korea, and does not seek to help the regime any further. It will not, however, go against
photo: Stefan Krasowski A North Korean ballistic missile is on parade during the celebrations for North Korea Victory Day in 2013.
North Korean Denuclearization b 23
photo: Dean Karalekas Soldiers from the north and those from the south are posted in close proximity to each other at the demilitarized zone.
its own interests and contribute to a possible crisis on the border. North Korea is a failed state waiting to happen, and China possesses the power to push it over the edge. Although China may not be entirely satisfied with North Korean nuclear capability and increasing disobedience, it will avoid any moves that could cause a sudden regime collapse. Even though Beijing has taken a tougher stance lately, China is not going to threaten North Korea’s survivability. Not only would this result in chaos, but also potentially in nuclear disaster.
Stability first For Beijing, stability on the Korean Peninsula has always been prioritized over denuclearization. This strategic approach differs vastly from the one adopted by Washington, which has been pressuring North Korea to completely give up its nuclear program
by imposing a variety of sanctions. China and the United States are also in diametric discord over who is to take the next move toward ending the Korean nuclear missile crisis and how. The United States blames China and its unwillingness to use its economic leverage over Pyongyang to bolster the sanctions, meanwhile China pushes the United States to meet some of Pyongyang’s demands and reduce its presence in East Asia. The question at the core of the disagreement between China and the United States might be whether the Korean crisis shall end in the regime’s collapse or not. Both countries derive their answers from their respective priorities (denuclearization vs. stability), proximity to the potential area of crisis, as well as from their geopolitical interests. In the middle of the quarrel over a solution, however, North Korea has achieved the ability to carry out a nuclear attack. It is therefore possible that in the near future the need to act will surpass any other strategic objectives. n
Strategic Vision vol. 6, no. 35 (October, 2017)
Indo-Pacific Orientation Australia affirms proactive role in Indo-Pacific security architecture David Scott
utumn 2017 witnessed Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategic focus in three settings. Firstly, the dispatch of a powerful Australian joint task group called Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017; secondly was the release of the Australian White Paper on Foreign Policy; and thirdly was Australian readiness to reactivate the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue with India, Japan and the United States. Each illustrates Australia’s clear sense of the “Indo-Pacific” as being Australia’s primary strategic focus. A common thread linking these three settings is that, although the Australian government has denied that any of them is directed at China, all three actions nevertheless attracted immediate criticism from Beijing and complaints that it was the target. In fact, all three illustrate an ongoing strategic hedging towards China by Australia, whereby Australia’s economic engagement with China is being supplemented by more robust military balancing. From September to November, a powerful Australian flotilla operated as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017, carrying out humanitarian missions and hard-power military exercises in the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, and the Pacific. The joint task group involved six ships and over 1,300 personnel, representing the largest coordinated such force from Australia to deploy to the Indo-Pacific region since the early 1980s. The naval group was led by the helicopter carrier HMAS Adelaide, Australia’s largest
flagship, along at various times with the guided missile frigates HMAS Darwin and HMAS Melbourne, the anti-submarine/anti-aircraft frigates HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Toowoomba, and the replenishment ship the HMAS Sirius. The Ministry of Defence issued a press release on 4 September characterizing Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 as enhancing military cooperation with some of Australia’s “key regional partners.” Named specifically by the Defence Ministry were Brunei, Cambodia, the Federated States of Micronesia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. Politically, the absence of China on the list of partners was deliberate, but not inaccurate. Soft-power humanitarian support missions and friendly port calls were carried out in East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Yap, the Marianas, and Papua New Guinea. No port of call was made to China. More serious hard-power naval exercises were carried out with the India, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, and the United States. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment on the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 exercise. However, Chinese state media was not shy about attributing Australia’s motives, running articles with headlines like the Global Times’ “Australia-led military drills show tougher China stance.” The People’s Daily was pointed about the nature of this Australian deployment, asking “what does Australia want to do
Dr. David Scott is a regular presenter on Indo-Pacific geopolitics at the NATO Defense College in Rome and a prolific writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Indo-Pacific Orientation b 25
photo: Hpeterswald HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) enters Sydney Harbor during the International Fleet Review 2013.
with the largest military exercise encircling China in 30 years?” China viewed the arrival of the Australian navy in the South China Sea with some unease, with state media warning that the “Australian fleet must be wary of meddling in South China sea affairs.” Zhao Xiao, a research fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, argued in the article that Australia “needs to practice prudence and avoid being mired in the muddy waters of disputed sea areas such as the South and East China Sea [...] and it should remain neutral instead of ganging up with other countries.” The South China issue was on public view at the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) meeting held between Australia, Japan and the United States on 7
into what they view as international waters, though China claims them as its own. Hence the Global Times articles with titles like “South China Sea issue drags Sino-Australian ties into rough waters.” Even as Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 units ploughed across the western Pacific, on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit, Australian officials joined their US, Japanese and Indian counterparts on 12 November in a revived Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD). The so-called “Quad” had previously emerged in April 2007 with meetings between officials from the four countries, again on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit. Later on that year, Australia joined in the Malabar series of exercises held in the Bay of Bengal alongside its three Quad partners. Canberra with-
August, 2017. Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joined her Japanese and US counterparts in expressing “serious concerns” over “coercive” actions and reclamation projects being carried out by China, and urged China to accept the ruling against its claims by the UNCLOS tribunal. Finally they announced their intention to keep deploying in the South China Sea,
drew from the Quad initiative the following year, however, as well as participation in Malabar, though it has continued to strengthen bilateral and trilateral naval links with these three partners. Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea—and more recently in the wider Indo-Pacific as well—has provided the strategic imperative for
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Australia to rekindle this quadrilateral format. This shared concern with its partners was clearly expressed by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 12 November, with their call for “upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for international law, freedom of navigation […] and upholding maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.”
Sharper comments The official Chinese response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the resumption of the Quad was understated, saying only “we hope that such relations would not target a third party.” However this was overlaid by sharper comments in the state media calling Australian participation unwise. The Global Times ran an article headlined “Australia rejoining the Quad will not advance regional prosperity, unity.” On 23 November, 2017, Australia released its Foreign Policy White Paper. This showed a significant shift from its 2003 predecessor. The biggest change was the sustained adoption of the term “Indo-Pacific” as the focus for Australia’s strategic vision. On the one hand, the term was used 74 times. On the other hand, the term “Asia-Pacific” was virtually ignored, having been mentioned only four times, and then mostly in connection with the Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC). The Foreign Policy White Paper complemented the Defence White Paper released in February 2016, where the Indo-Pacific was mentioned 70 times and the Asia-Pacific not at all. This represents a continuing Indo-Pacific focus now evident in Australian strategic deliberations; first seen in the Defence White Paper of 2013, which had pinpointed “a new IndoPacific strategic arc” running from India to Japan, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans through the South China Sea. Within that strategic arc, China sits as the implied challenge. It was significant that the 2017 Foreign Policy White
Paper listed Australia’s “Indo-Pacific partnerships,” in which “the Indo-Pacific democracies of Japan, Indonesia, India and the Republic of Korea are of first-order importance to Australia” as “major partners.” China’s absence from this list of Indo-Pacific partners was revealing. Balancing considerations were tacitly acknowledged in the 2017 White Paper: “To support a balance in the Indo-Pacific favorable to our interests and promote an open, inclusive and rules-based region, Australia will also work more closely with the region’s major democracies, bilaterally and in small groupings. In addition to the United States, our relations with Japan, Indonesia, India and the Republic of [South] Korea are central to this [balancing] agenda.” The Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 itinerary of port calls and exercises was part of this Australian balancing. China was again absent from this list, which was no surprise given how the White Paper noted that “Australia is particularly concerned about the unprecedented pace and scale of China’s activities. Australia opposes the use of disputed features and artificial structures in the South China Sea for military purposes.” In China, this was immediately rejected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as “irresponsible remarks on the South China Sea issue. We are gravely concerned about this.”
Clear messages Australia has finished the year with three clear messages. Firstly is a readiness to operate within an IndoPacific frame of reference, be it militarily through the itinerary taken by the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 joint task group, policy-wise through the rhetoric of the Foreign Policy White Paper, or diplomacy-wise through reactivation of the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue. There are two particular things for Australia to de-
Indo-Pacific Orientation b 27
velop from the Quad setting. Firstly, Australia should push for the Quad to be moved up to the ministerial level. Secondly, Australia should seek to overcome Indian reluctance for it to join in the Malabar setting where India, Japan, and the United States now operate. Australia expressed a strong desire to participate in the Malabar exercise held in the Bay of Bengal in April 2017, but came up against Indian resistance, citing their concerns about Australia’s readiness to stand up to China. With a new Quad now resurrected, the door should be open for a matching quad naval framework to be operational for the Malabar exercise scheduled for 2018. These four countries already enjoy bilateral and trilateral naval exercises, so a quadrilateral format would merely tidy that up. The second clear message is that Australia is prepared to take a more active security role on the Korean peninsula. The Australia-South Korea 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in mid October witnessed Julie Bishop and Marise Payne moving to give greater military support to South Korea, through a greater number of deployments of Australian military units to the Korean peninsula, already exemplified in the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 operations. North Korea was explicitly named by Australia as the “immediate threat” to security in the region, with North Korea denouncing this greater Australian involvement as “dangerous moves.” The third clear message is that Australia is ready to supplement its policy of economic engagement with China with a policy of prudent balancing. This will represent hedging, hoping for the best (through economic engagement) but preparing for the worst (through balancing, as an insurance policy). If North Korea is an immediate threat, China is the potential “long term” threat. This prudent balancing is showing itself in Australia’s strengthening of its military forces (technically called internal balancing). This was pointed to by Defense
Minister Marise Payne in her speech at the Seapower Conference held in Sydney on 3 October. Payne announced “the most ambitious upgrade of our naval fleet in Australia since the Second World War” to create “a regional superior future naval force being built in Australia.” In this vein, Australia’s “most powerful” air warfare destroyer HMAS Hobart was commissioned on 23 September, 2017, with the second of this class, the Brisbane beginning sea trials off the coast of southern Australia in late November 2017. Delivering the new frigates and submarines will be an important challenge for Australia in 2018. This prudent balancing is showing itself in Australia’s strengthening security partnerships around China (technically called external balancing). It also shows itself in the special emphasis on working with India, Japan, and the United States in bilateral, trilateral, and now quadrilateral settings.
Working with partners This balancing by Australia is also bringing the country into greater involvement in the South China Sea. Policy decisions here could, and should, involve Australia in carrying out Freedom of Exercise deployments in the South China Sea. This was precisely the call made by Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, Chief of Naval Staff, in a speech he delivered in August 2017 at a Law of the Sea Convention Conference held in Canberra. Australia should also carry out some of its trilateral naval exercises with Japan and the United States in the South China Sea, as it did in 2011 and 2016. China of course will not like this, and may well threaten economic pressure, (coercive diplomacy, in other words) against Australia. China may well try and target Australia as the weakest member of the Quad, that is more susceptible to economic threats and economic allurements. Australia will need to be ready to stand firm in its resolve. n
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Strategic Vision is a journal published by the Taiwan Center for Security Studies and the ROC National Defense University that provides anal...
Published on Oct 15, 2017
Strategic Vision is a journal published by the Taiwan Center for Security Studies and the ROC National Defense University that provides anal...