Strategic Vision, Issue 40

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STRATEGIC VISION Volume 8, Issue 40


for Taiwan Security

February, 2019

ISSN 2227-3646


Looking South Taipei’s New Southbound Trade Policy Pou Sothirak

Improving Washington-Taipei Ties Amid China Threat Shao-cheng Sun

V4 Nations and EU Policies on Israel and Turkey Csaba Moldicz

India/Pakistan Tensions Rise Following Terror Attack Raviprasad Narayanan

Taiwan and the Sino-US Trade War Hon-min Yau


Volume 8, Issue 40

for Taiwan Security w

February, 2019

Contents Taiwan and the Sino-US trade war..................................................4

Hon-min Yau

Improving Washington-Taipei ties...............................................10

Shao-cheng Sun

EU policies on Israel and Turkey.................................................. 16

Csaba Moldicz

A sphere of tension in India and Pakistan................................... 20

Raviprasad Narayanan

Taipei’s New Southbound Policy...................................................26

Pou Sothirak

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 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 ROC President Tsai Ing-wen as she looks out the window of the presidential plane at her ROC Air Force F-16 escort is courtesy of the ROC Presidential Office.

Editor Fu-Kuo Liu Executive Editor Aaron Jensen Associate Editor Dean Karalekas Editorial Board Richard Hu, NCCU Guang-chang Bian, NDU Chung-kun Ma, NDU Lipin Tien, NDU Ming Lee, NCCU Chung-young Chang, Fo-kuan U Raviprasad Narayanan, JNU Chris Roberts, U of Canberra STRATEGIC VISION For Taiwan Security (ISSN 2227-3646) Volume 8, Number 40, February, 2019, 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 license. All are attributed appropriately. Any inquiries please contact the Executive Editor directly via email at: Or by telephone at: +886 (02) 8237-7228 Online issues and archives can be viewed at our website: © Copyright 2019 by the Center for Security Studies. Articles in this periodical do not necessarily represent the views of either the CSS, NDU, or the editors.

From The Editor


e here at Strategic Vision are honored to embark upon our eighth year in publication, and are glad to have you join us as we continue to analyze the events and trends in cross-strait and Asia-Pacific security as they reshape our world. In addition, it is our fervent hope that you had a wonderful Lunar New Year, and that the Year of the Pig has something good in store for all our readers. We open this issue with Hon-min Yau, who is an assistant professor in the ROC National Defense University and looks at the brewing trade war between the United States and China, and what implications it has for security in Taiwan. Next, Assistant Professor Shao-cheng Sun of The Citadel offers his own take on this issue, suggesting that US-Taiwan relations are improving in face of China’s increasing military and diplomatic threats against the island. Dr. Csaba Moldicz, head of research at the Oriental Business and Innovation Center with the Budapest Business School, analyzes the influence that Central European countries have within the European Union with respect to the enactment of EU policies on Israel and Turkey. Next, Dr. Raviprasad Narayanan of Jawaharlal Nehru University, who is a member of Strategic Vision’s editorial board, offers his take on the recent rise in tensions between India and Pakistan following the terror attack and subsequent military action in Jammu and Kashmir. Finally, Executive Director Pou Sothirak of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace offers an overview of the success and continued potential of Taipei’s New Southbound Policy. Once again, we are extremely proud to continue providing the very best in coverage and analysis of the military, security, and political changes that affect our region, and are glad to play a part in keeping our readers up to date with the information they need. We hope our regular readers enjoy this, our first issue of 2019, and that our new readers continue to follow us in subsequent issues. Once again, the editors and staff of Strategic Vision wish you a Happy New Year. Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu Editor Strategic Vision

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Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 40 (February, 2019)

Seeking Stability

Trade war between US and China portents challenges, opportunities for Taiwan Hon-min Yau

photo: Andrea Hanks US President Donald J. Trump and PRC President Xi Jinping pose for a photo during a cultural performance at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


ince early 2018, the United States and China have been engaged in something of a trade war as the result of US President Donald Trump’s America First Policy. It first started in January of 2018 when the US increased tariffs on foreign solar panels, including imports from China. Not long after, the US imposed an extra tariff on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and China. Beijing quickly retaliated with a similar sized tariff on US goods in July 2018. However, Washington did not back down, and the office of the US Trade Representative later published a list of US$200 billion in Chinese products and threatened to impose additional tariffs.

In spite of China’s persistent protests, on 17 September, 2018, the US finally decided to escalate the ongoing dispute by announcing 24 September the imposition of a 10% tariff, which could be increased to 25% by the end of the year. In the wake of these rising tensions and constant competition, it is crucial to understand their impact on the AsiaPacific region. As Taiwan and China have been in a mutually complementary economic relationship for many years, it is also important to think about how Taiwan should react. Many political analysts and commentators have been predicting a more isolationist and protectionist policy by the US administration since Trump’s

Hon-min Yau is an assistant professor in the ROC National Defense University. He can be reached for comment at

Seeking Stability  b  5

election victory in 2016. This prediction was bolstered when the US withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January 2017. At the same time, Trump is also facing a new set of developments from a rising China.

New developments First, China is a rising global economic power, and its economy is the second largest in the world. It holds more than a trillion dollars in US debt and represents the largest bilateral trade deficit for the United States. In 2017, total US imports from China reached US$506 billion, while total US exports to China was only US$130 billion. In August 2018 alone, China’s trade surplus with the US hit a new record of over US$30 billion. Second, the growth of China’s economic power did not fulfill the liberal prediction that increasing mutual interdependence would provide a strong foundation for global prosperity, stability, and security. Instead, China leverages its economic gains to improve its

military capabilities in Asia, space, cyberspace, and under the sea. It has increased its military build-up in the South China Sea, conducted sophisticated cyber espionage, advanced space systems, designed new aircraft carriers, commissioned more nuclear submarines, and stands ready to build or acquire more. Third, while Xi Jinping is calling for a “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” China’s foreign policy behavior has departed from Deng Xiaoping’s “hiding one’s strength and biding one’s time” strategy and begun to exercise power more assertively. China is seeking both military dominance and economic greatness. Its sophisticated naval, space and cyber capabilities are creating an anti-access/area denial area along its periphery, and its Belt and Road Initiative, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and Made in China 2025 strategic policy help to project its economic superiority in the global arena. China is looking to achieve the status of great power in and beyond Asia. On September 25, 2018, Donald Trump argued in the United Nations for a doctrine of “principled realism.” This message was ambiguous, without offer-

photo: Chris Workers make computer peripherals at the G.Tech Technology Factory in Zhuhai, China. US firms continue to rely on cheap Chinese manufacturing.


ing a clear definition regarding the actual essence of this foreign policy proposal. However, if the realism in Trump’s speech refers to the kind of realism in international politics, one thing is for sure: American’s interests will take precedence above all other considerations. Classic thinkers in international relations like Thucydides have illustrated that “what made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.” In this analogy, the role of the Athenians is being played by China, and the Spartans by the United States. As predicted by offensive realism, when a rising power challenges a status quo power, conflicts are inevitable. Hence, Trump’s imposition of tariffs can be interpreted as an attempt to limit an opponent’s global influence or an agenda to undermine an adversary’s legitimacy. As such, US strategy towards China is certainly going to be more like containment, and less like the engagement preferred by former President Barack Obama’s liberal approach to China.

Since China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China has continuously been accused by the United States and European Union of infringing on intellectual property and practicing unfair and discriminatory practices towards foreign companies in China’s domestic market. It seems that, after more than 17 years of WTO membership, China is still a conditional market economy. So who is more vulnerable? China is an export-oriented market with a strong reliance on the US market, but US firms rely on Chinese manufacturing and an inexpensive Chinese workforce to guarantee constant growth. However, although the US economy will suffer greatly when encountering China’s retaliation, without an equal footing for American firms in China, whatever short-term gains obtained now, warrant no future success. In contrast, shrinking US participation in the Chinese market means less know-how to lose, less of a trade imbalance with China, a reduction of China’s financial repository to boost its military investments,

photo: ROC Presidential Office Taiwan continually seeks to raise its international profile by hosting events such as the 2018 Taipei International Travel Fair.

Seeking Stability  b  7

photo: User18765 US President Ronald Reagan greets Japanese leaders, including Prime Minister Nakasone, Foreign Minister Abe in London in 1984.

a decrease in China’s available funds for the Belt and Road initiative, and securing US dominance in the high-tech sector. Since the US economy is performing strongly, and the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Indices have delivered a general down trend since 2018 as a reflection of the market’s perception, it is very rational from the after cost-effect calculation that the Trump administration will continue to put economic policy with China at the forefront, as the US perceives that it can maintain the pressure.

Fueling conflict While Trump is troubled by the domestic political attacks related to the 2016 presidential election campaign, the political pressure at home may easily fuel this trade conflict in an effort to divert media attention and appeal to his supporters. The escalation of economic tensions reflects Trump’s decision to make good on his campaign promise to deliver “a tougher stance on the trade relationship with China,” which is attractive to blue-collar voters. Historically speaking, the latest case of a large trade

dispute was in the 1980s, between the United States and Japan, and the endgame was Japan’s compromise to US demands. However, back then, Japan relied heavily on the United States for security. The situation between the US and China is different. Furthermore, the international order was dominated by the Cold War structure, there was no WTO in the 1980s, and the US was a superpower during the Cold War. Today, both the United States and China are global powers on a closer footing. It is doubtful that the United States will have full supremacy in future trade talks with China in today’s international order. So why did the WTO not get involved in resolving the tensions? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix that this organization can deliver in this matter. The United States and other countries have complained about China’s unfair practices, and China and other trade partners complain about the US imposition of an extra tariff. However, the WTO’s dispute settlement body has been flooded with a huge surge of complaints and recent data indicates that the time it takes to complete case proceedings has increased from an average of 13 months in 2010 to about 20


photo: Richard Gourley An F/A-18 Super Hornet approaches for a landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

months in 2014. Furthermore, WTO regulations allow member states to appeal the results. However, as reported by Reuters on 27 August, 2018, the US has successfully blocked the appointment of appellate members and further delayed the normal functioning of dispute settlement within the current international mechanism. So what are the implications at this point? First, although CCP leaders see the United States as a declining state on the global stage, China is still very cautious in approaching a confrontation with the United States. This perception is supported by Beijing’s downplaying of political rhetoric as official mouthpieces have constantly restrained from being excessively hawkish and using patriotic sentiment.

uring out exactly what Trump is doing. In addition, any compromise by the Chinese government can be interpreted internally as owing to a foreign power. Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, warned on 18 September, 2018, that the dispute could last 20 years and persist beyond the presidency of Donald Trump. Many American allies are also affected by the US imposition of tariffs. Hence, although the US constantly raises the stakes and intensifies its political rhetoric, the misperception between the US and China has the potential to prolong this trade war and turn it into a long-term stalemate. Second, although many Asian countries are concerned with China’s military buildup and assertive actions in recent years, many of them opt not to com-

On 24 September, China published a white paper to explain what it terms “trade friction” and called for a reasonable solution. However, this does not mean that any agreement can be reached between the United States and China anytime soon. It may be too early to make any assertion as the Chinese government may be very likely in the process of fig-

ment openly so as not to jeopardize their economic ties with China. Balancing or bandwagoning with either the United States or China carries with it the potential danger of agitating the other. Regional countries urgently need a hedging strategy to mitigate future uncertainties. To mitigate the coming impact, countries in the region need to develop

Seeking Stability  b  9

a closer working relationship to substitute the future market loss in either China or the United States. NonChinese firms will soon look for a substitute for the loss of China’s manufacturing power, and a regional division of labor in Asia can offer potential stability to mitigate the global impact in this trade dispute. Taiwan’s New Southbound policy may be a timely orientation to readjust its economic resources and refresh the long-lasting relations with Southeast Asia. Although Taiwan has played an important role in the supply chain of the global manufacturing industry via its practice of vertical division of labor with China, people may overlook the already developed long-term partnership between Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Taking Vietnam as an example, in 2017 a research report from the interior ministry indicated that 70% of all naturalized citizens in Taiwan come from Vietnam. After China, Vietnam is also the second most popular destination for Taiwanese foreign in-

vestment. There are more than 60,000 Taiwanese businessmen in Vietnam, and more than 300,000 Vietnamese in Taiwan. There are more than 400,000 Taiwanese tourists who visit Vietnam every year. The strong bond between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries deserves careful maintenance and continuous investment in the current economic upheaval. To sum up, current tensions between the world’s biggest economies requires every country to develop a survival strategy to deal with the uncertainty. There are surely very few things that other states or countries can do amid the current power play between the US and China. Since many countries are considering transferring their overseas investments to locations other than China, it would be wise for Taiwan to grasp this opportunity and attract new investments. This can be achieved via the improvement of its infrastructure and overall investment environment, and by developing a closer partnership with countries in the region. n

photo: Diego Delso View of Ho Chi Minh City from Bitexco Financial Tower, Vietnam. Much of the manufacturing once done in China is moving to countries like Vietnam.

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Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 40 (February, 2019)

Strengthening Relations US-Taiwan relations improve in face of mounting Chinese military threats Shao-cheng Sun


he state of US-China relations has undergone dramatic changes under the Trump Administration, and this has repercussions for Taiwan security. As a staple of her administration’s China policy, Republic of China (ROC) President Tsai Ing-wen promised to maintain the status quo, and refused to accept the “1992 Consensus.” Beijing responded strongly by halting all official cross-strait communication, and has since adopted a more coercive diplomatic and military stance against Taiwan. Since President Tsai came to office, Taiwan has lost five diplomatic allies. Taiwan’s Military also stated

that the increase in People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military activities near Taiwan and PLA military modernization pose an “enormous threat to security in the Taiwan Strait.” Though Chinese President Xi Jinping had intended to improve relations with the Trump administration, the trade war, the South China Sea disputes, and continued arms sales to Taiwan have caused US-China tensions to escalate. In particular, Chinese measures in response to the US-China trade war were supposed to hurt Republicans in states vulnerable to Chinese retaliation during the November US mid-term elec-

photo: Shealah Craighead President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive in China on 8 November, 2017.

Shao-cheng Sun is an assistant professor at The Citadel. He specializes in China’s security, East Asian affairs, and cross-strait relations. He can be reached at

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photo: US DOD The Varyag under tow in Istanbul. China purchased the former Soviet carrier from the Ukraine in 1998 for about US$20 million and renamed it Liaoning.

tion. However, the results show that this did not happen: The election outcome gives Trump little incentive to soften his tough trade strategy against China. Last year saw US-China military frictions rise. In May, the US withdrew an invitation to the Chinese military to take part in 2018 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC). In October, the Chinese government denied a US warship permission to visit Hong Kong. In the same month, the US military accused a Chinese warship of unsafe maneuvers after a near collision with a US destroyer in the South China Sea. As US-China relations have deteriorated, and China’s persistent military threat against Taiwan has increased at the same time, the Trump administration has enhanced US-Taiwan military cooperation as a means to ensure Taiwan’s capacity for self-defense. Xi Jinping has asserted that China will never allow any political party, in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China. The distrust and division that marks the relationship between China and Taiwan has further widened. Public opinion surveys show a growing sense of Taiwanese identity. In a 1992 survey conducted by the Election Study Center

at National Chengchi University, 25.5 percent of respondents in Taiwan said they identified as Chinese, 17.6 percent said they identified as Taiwanese, and 46.4 percent said they identified as both. In the same survey conducted in 2018, only 3.5 percent of those polled said they identified as Chinese, 55.8 percent said they identified as Taiwanese, and 37.2 percent said they identified as both. Clearly, the Taiwanese identity has been on the rise.

Youth outreach The Chinese government fears that younger Taiwanese are moving away from believing in the One China principle, and this fear has led to increased efforts in the PRC’s youth outreach. Beijing is aware of the stagnant economic conditions in Taiwan, especially for its youth, and seeks to entice them with economic incentives such as “31 measures” (19 relating to social and employment issues and the remaining 12 relating to business issues) employment opportunities. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council remarked that the measures are Beijing’s efforts to “buy” Taiwanese political support.


The Chinese government has taken diplomatic measures to push the ROC government to accede to a one China policy. Beijing has adopted a more concerted effort to restrict Taiwan in the international arena. Taiwan was not accepted as an observer at the September 2016 assembly meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization. This was followed by Taiwan’s delayed invitation to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA). In 2017, Chinese authorities began to demand that foreign corporations treat Taiwan as part of China. By August 2018, five countries (Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, and El Salvador) had shifted diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, leaving a mere 17 countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Taipei. In 2016, Chinese leaders began to lose hope for a peaceful unification, and they are now considering military measures against Taiwan. In order to send

a warning to the Trump and Tsai administrations against improving US-Taiwan security relations, the Chinese government has greatly increased its military coercion against Taiwan, which includes both verbal intimidation and saber rattling. Xi Jinping told US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during a visit to Beijing in June that Beijing was committed to peace, but

“China has also stepped up flights of strategic bombers and fighter jets around Taiwan in 2018.” could not give up “even one inch” of territory that “the Chinese ancestors had left behind.” Wei Fenghe, China’s Defense Minister, stated in November 2018 in Beijing that, “Taiwan is China’s core national interest... If anyone tries to separate Taiwan from China, the People’s Liberation Army will take military action at all costs.”

photo: Ethan Carter The United States Navy’s 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrives for a port visit in Otaru in Hokkaido, Japan.

Strengthening Relations  b  13

photo: US DOD US Maj. Gen. John Wharton welcomes ROC Lt. Gen. Ho An-chi to the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

After members of the US Congress recommended that the US Navy pay a port call in Taiwan, Chinese embassy official Li Kexin stated that such a visit would prompt China to take Taiwan by force. In terms of saber rattling, the PLA’s naval ships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait, including sending the Liaoning aircraft-carrier to the east coast of Taiwan. After demonstrating the largest display of naval forces in the South China Sea in April, 2018, China announced that it would immediately conduct live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait. China has also stepped up flights of strategic bombers and fighter jets around Taiwan in 2018.

Robust partnership The Trump administration has put countering Chinese military rise at the forefront of its national defense strategy, and one part of this effort is to enhance security relations with Taiwan. The Tsai administration has devoted efforts to make the most of security cooperation with the United States to deter

China from encroaching on Taiwan. The US-Taiwan partnership has become more robust through the Taiwan Travel Act (TRA) encouraging high-level visits, the National Defense Authorization Act, and increasing sales of defense arms. The TRA, signed by Trump on March 16, 2018, could enhance the US government’s unofficial relationship with Taiwan. The TRA declares that “the US Government should encourage visits between officials from the US and Taiwan at all levels,” including “cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials.” After TRA passed in the Senate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong visited Taiwan and met with President Tsai, stressing that the US relationship with Taiwan “has never been stronger.” In August 2018, President Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation states the United States should strengthen defense cooperation with Taiwan; support Taiwan’s acquisition of defensive weapons through foreign military sales, direct commercial sales, and industrial cooperation;


photo: Keven Flinn ‘Golden Swordsmen’ of Patrol Squadron 47 conduct flight operations during a coordinated exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

improve the predictability of arms sales to Taiwan; promote joint military exercises; expand military exchanges and joint training; and send medical vessels to visit Taiwan.

Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the US provides defense articles and services to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. In June 2017, the US announced the sale of US$1.42 billion in defense articles and services to Taiwan, including MK-48 6AT Heavy Weight Torpedoes, AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapons, and AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles. In 2018, the US approved

signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) into law. In face of a growing threat from China, the ARIA advocates increased US engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and strengthened support, including arms sales, for US allies and partners like Taiwan. The act supports regular arms sales to Taiwan and to enhance the economic, political, and security relationship between Taiwan and the United States. Taiwan’s Presidential Office responded that the ARIA demonstrates the US commitment to Taiwan’s security, and supports closer Taiwan-US relations. In reaction to China’s increasing military pressure against Taiwan, former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that the US military remains steadfastly committed to working with Taiwan and

the sale of spare parts for F-16 fighter planes and other military aircraft worth up to US$330 million. The Pentagon said the sale is required to maintain Taiwan’s “defensive and aerial fleet.” President Trump has also allowed defense firms to sell components to Taiwan for its submarine program. On 31 December, 2018, US President Donald Trump

to providing it with the defense articles necessary, consistent with the obligations set out in the Taiwan Relations Act. Since the beginning of 2018, TaiwanUS relations have shown significant improvement. The National Defense Authorization Act suggests that the US should strengthen Taiwan’s military power. US National Security Advisor John Bolton has sug-

Self-defense capability

Strengthening Relations  b  15

gested recommendations to enhance the political relationship between the US and Taiwan that include receiving Taiwanese diplomats officially at the State Department, upgrading the status of US representation in Taipei from a private institute to an official diplomatic mission, and allowing the most senior US officials to visit Taiwan to transact government business. In face of the mounting Chinese military threat, the Taiwan military is also developing new capabilities for asymmetric warfare to counter China’s military threat. Areas of emphasis include offensive and defensive information and electronic warfare, shorebased mobile missiles, unmanned aerial systems, and critical infrastructure protection. In order to maintain Taiwan’s security, the ROC government should consider the following recommendations. Since cross-strait relations will continue to worsen and China’s military pressure against Taiwan will continue to increase, at least for the next two years, Taiwan security-related organizations

and officials should frequently and comprehensively engage with their US counterparts to deepen cooperation and exchanges. Second, with the suspension of official cross-strait relations, miscalculation and distrust between the two governments has greatly increased. Therefore, the role of think-tanks, academic institutions, and scholars related to crossstrait affairs has become important. These track-II mechanisms should be encouraged by both Taipei and Beijing to decrease the potential for conflict. Third, while US-Taiwan security relations have greatly improved in recent years, Taiwan’s government should keep a very low profile. Otherwise, it would surely trigger a negative response from Beijing. The Taiwanese government should continue to lobby the US government to help Taiwan participate in international activities. At the same time, the US should remind Beijing not to take aggressive military action against Taiwan nor to block Taiwanese participation in international organizations. n

photo: Winertai Deployed in the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1958 , the Nike Hercules was the first anti-aircraft missile system Washington sold Taipei.

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photo: Dean Karalekas Throngs of refugees from the Middle East at a makeshift camp in and around Budapest’s Keleti railway station in late 2015.

Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 40 (February, 2019)

The Crack in the Wall Central European countries play a role in the EU policies of Israel and Turkey Csaba Moldicz


ast year, when the Visegrad Four countries held a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister said “We have special relations with China and they don’t care about political issues. Modi told me he has to look after the interests of India; Russia doesn’t set political conditions and Africa doesn’t either. Only the European Union does – it’s crazy. It’s contrary to European interests.”

interpretation of foreign policy is very much aligned with the interest-based approach of Central European countries, revealing a crack in the European interpretation of foreign policy. The dilemma of interest-based versus value-based foreign policy is not a novelty since the history of the European political order can easily be described by the duality of these alternative approaches. First, when the balance of the power system was put in

Though these words were not meant to be heard by journalists, a hot microphone conveyed the message to the leaders of the European Union (EU), and more importantly to German and French politicians. This

place with the Peace of Westphalia (1648), this policy approach could be utilized fully. The basic idea is that permanent political stability can only be secured by an international system where alliances and hostilities

Dr. Csaba Moldicz is with the Budapest Business School’s Department of World Economics and International Trade and is head of research at the Oriental Business and Innovation Center.

The Visegrad Group  b  17

are based on the core political and economic interests of the states, not different ideologies or faiths. This order was disrupted several times over the centuries, but it was always restored, at least until the end of WWII, when the balance of power approach in the West was replaced by a values-based framing that underlined the salience of common values in foreign policy, shared by North America and the Western European countries. As a result of a long period of development, for the time being, the EU institutions and their daily functioning are very much based on the idea of common values, specified in Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty, while the Central European countries seem

a slow, but in many ways very determinate, withdrawal from former American commitments (the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Iran nuclear deal, etc.) in recent years. At the same time, the willingness of the Trump administration to export American values and ways of living seems to have diminished. Similar changes took place in the foreign policies of several Central European countries, (Poland, Hungary, Rumania, the Czech Republic, and even Austria) over the last few years, putting more and more emphasis on the representation of core interests. Since then, relations with Turkey and Israel have been improving and deepening in these countries.

photo: Dean Karalekas Members of the police force in Prague confront anti-communist protestors during the March 2016 visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Prague.

to have shifted the focus more on core interests lately, rather than ideologies or values represented by the EU itself. In the Middle East, there are two countries at the present time that could clearly benefit from this change in foreign policies and capitalize on that: Turkey and Israel. The narrow focus on core interests in American foreign policy has been palpable lately; not only in the Middle East but in other relations, too. There has been

It must also be highlighted that this is the reason why Central European countries have been able to improve their relations with China so significantly over the last few years. In mid-2018, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Austria made clear gestures toward the new American foreign policy, that broke with its traditional approach in the Middle East and in the case of Israel and acknowledged Jerusalem as the


photo: Dean Karalekas Tourists and locals shop in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. The Visegrad Four continue to support Turkey’s path to the European Union.

capital of Israel and moved the embassy from TelAviv to Jerusalem. These countries also attended the official opening of the United States’ new embassy while the entire European diplomatic corps boycotted the event. To the dismay of Germany and France, this group of four countries effectively blocked the release of a statement of the European Union too that would have condemned the American move. After protests broke at the Israeli and Palestinian border leading to casualties on the Palestinian side, many countries raised concerns (Russia and China, for example), and whereas the United Nations, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany officially condemned Israel, the four countries were silent on this issue.

Expanding economic relations While Turkey has often been assessed by Western European politicians and pundits as an institutionalized autocracy, the Hungarian Prime Minister has tried to strengthen ties with Ankara in recent years. When the Turkish President visited Budapest in October 2018, the two trade partners agreed to double their bilateral trade volume and expand bi-

lateral economic relations in other ways. Moreover, Hungary and Turkey aim to start a cooperation in the defense industry. The Hungarian Prime Minister said a few weeks before Erdogan’s visit, “Today, the whole safety of the Carpathian Basin and Europe lies on the stability of Turkey, Israel, and Egypt, who can stop the influx of Muslims.”

“There has been a change in ties with the Visegrad countries that reflects Israel’s slow movement away from liberal democracy.” The link between anti-migration policy and the political stability of Turkey, Israel, and Egypt was pointed out by the Hungarian Prime Minister as a core Hungarian interest in this case. The episodes mentioned above are only a few pieces of proof of the apparent changes in the Central European countries’ attitude towards the Middle East. The Czech Republic’s pro-China and pro-Russia stance is also known, and the opposition to migration in Slovakia and Austria seem to be strong

The Visegrad Group  b  19

enough to create a comThere are obvious critmon point for coopics in Israel too, undereration with Israel and lining that there has Turkey on the one hand, been a change in ties and their interest-based with the Visegrad counforeign policy seems to tries that reflects Israel’s offer another point for slow movement away cooperation. from liberal democracy. The question, howevBut this is not the point er, arises whether and to make here. Obviously, if these countries can both Israel and Turkey benefit from this new can use the Central era. As for the Central European countries—the European countries, crack in the wall—as barThe Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are the Visegrad Group. we can argue their turn gaining chips in the more away from the values-based foreign policy apimportant negations with Western Europe. In the proach is very much motivated by the recognilong run, Western European countries (in particular tion that there is a need for technology and capital Germany and France) are more important partners import to diversify relations, and thus reduce the than Central European countries. The leverage these asymmetric dependence on the Western European countries will have in European affairs in the future partners. Deepening relations with Israel and can rise, but it is dependent on their success or failTurkey can clearly serve this goal. ure in catching up with the West. n

photo: Dean Karalekas Buda Castle looms in the background behind The Shoes on the Danube Bank, a memorial to honor the Jews who were killed by fascists in World War II.

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Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 40 (February, 2019)

Risk of Escalation Terrorist strike raises specter of nuclear exchange between India, Pakistan Raviprasad Narayanan


n 14 February, 2019, a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle in the proximity of a bus carrying troops of India’s Central Reserve Police Force, killing forty individuals. The bomber was a member of the Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group, proscribed by the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. The suicide bombing was carried out on the national highway in Lethpura of Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. The JeM operates with absolute impunity in Pakistan and has a cadre trained by retired army officers from

this country. This attack was loudly condemned by the world, with the patron of JeM—Pakistan—remaining conspicuously mute. This instance of terrorism and the nonchalance displayed by Pakistan angered India to a level where leaders in New Delhi felt that retribution was the answer required, and the imperative for a response demanded that a message be sent: that terrorism is best answered by swift and decisive state action. On 26 February, 2019, the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed the base of the JeM in Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Casualty figures in this

photo: isafmedia Taliban members surrender their weapons. Terrorist groups operating out of Pakistan are an irritant not just to India, but the entire global community.

Dr. Raviprasad Narayanan is with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) where his teaching and research interests focus on China. He is a member of Strategic Vision’s editorial board, and can be reached for comment at

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photo: Government of Pakistan An artist’s rendition of a Pakistani F-16 as a SU-22 has just been hit by an AIM-9L missile at 16,000 feet over Parachinar, during the 1979-1988 Afghan war.

bombing are not clear, and information has been scarce. Indian media reports stated that more than 300 terrorists, including their trainers, were killed. That 12 Mirage aircraft of the IAF evaded radars in Pakistan and were able to bomb the terrorist facility inside Pakistan was acknowledged by that country, though there was a denial that the air strikes caused any damage or loss of life. It is known that, facing an embarrassment, Pakistan will escalate tensions.

Non-military pre-emption India characterized the attacks on the JeM terrorist camp as “non-military pre-emption.” On 28 February, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) made incursions into Indian airspace and dropped “dead loads” (ordnance without explosive material) in Sher Makri of Nowshera sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The sortie did not cause any damage to its target, which

was supposed to have been an ammunition dump of the Indian army, and the Pakistani jets were quickly pushed back by Indian aircraft. Complicating the issue was Pakistan’s initial insistence that it did not use F-16s purchased from the United States in its strike on Nowshera, presumably because this would have had serious repercussions from Washington, which helps arm Pakistan for the purpose of fighting terrorism, not to wage war against other nation states. It was demonstrated that F-16s had indeed been used by Pakistan, however, as evidenced by photos, released by the Indian military, of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) deployed in the attack. This was followed up by an attempt, on the part of the Pakistani military, to characterize the missiles as ones that were not purchased by Pakistan from the United States, but instead ones that the US had sold to Taiwan. This assertion, too, was quickly refuted,


this time by the Republic of China (ROC) military, which indicated that the cited identification numbers do not match any of the missiles in its arsenal, and indeed were incompatible with any ROC weapons systems, it was reported. This fast flowing episode between the two countries was widely debated in the rest of the world, since both countries possess nuclear weapons, and were a hair trigger away from a nuclear war. India-Pakistan relations are an irritant, giving a headache to the rest of the world, since they have proved immune to resolving outstanding disputes that have plagued bilateral ties. The sanctuary provided by Pakistan to terrorist groups on its soil make it imperative for the rest of the world to recognise the role of a state actor possessing nuclear weapons, playing a willing host to terrorist groups violently arguing for religious sanctions to implement an agenda which Pakistan has lost on the battlefield not once, but three times to India, in 1947, 1965 and 1971. The last fullfledged war in 1971 between the two countries led to the creation of Bangladesh, which until then was

called East Pakistan. For Islam in the Indian subcontinent, known for its tolerance, this new, absolutely irrational virulence is against civilizational tenets. Having lost three wars, the “half war” of Kargil in

“This terrorism is fomented by non-state actors based in Pakistan, who rely upon state actors like the army in Pakistan that encourages these groups to coalesce and focus on India.” Kashmir in May-July 1999 was an epochal episode as both countries possessed nuclear weapons with delivery capabilities. It required the efforts of then US President Bill Clinton, to give a dressing down to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ensuring that troops from Pakistan stood down and prevented an escalation, the possibility and consequences of which would have made a nuclear catastrophe unthinkable and unpardonable. India’s foreign policy has for a couple of decades tried to impress upon the rest of the world, the im-

photo: Government of India Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman, right, is met by officials at a military hospital in New Delhi after his release by the Pakistan authorities.

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pact of terrorism on India. This terrorism is fomented by non-state actors based in Pakistan, who rely upon state actors like the army in Pakistan that encourages these groups to coalesce and focus on India. Pakistan’s history of being a base for radicals during the Afghan war, saw the mushrooming of many groups swearing to an ideology of extreme violence sanctified by the Wahabi strand of Islam, best reflected in the Taliban. This group found sanctuary in Pakistan and, while in power in Afghanistan, was considered a strategic victory by the army Map: CIA of Pakistan based in Rawalpindi. India’s tireless efforts at sensitising the rest of the world to the shenanigans of Pakistan were ignored even after US SEALS managed to neutralise Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan in May 2011. The most wanted man on the planet at that time was in Pakistan, where the intelligence services are predominant, owing to their being part of the armed forces and are not civilian expressions of government. This was temporarily worth international reflection, but nothing more. The 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai perpetrated by Lashkar e Taiba (LeT), a group based in Pakistan led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, was an act of indescribable violence in which 183 people lost their lives, including several foreigners. Despite owning up to the

atrocity, this group and its leaders were in Pakistan, protected by that country’s army and intelligence services. It is this game being played by Pakistan that gnaws at every government in power in India.

Three days of mayhem The 26-29 November, 2008, terror attacks in Mumbai on a number of targets—including the Taj Mahal Palace and the Nariman House, which housed a Jewish outreach centre—were televised live by news organisations in India, and were made aware to Indian citizens and viewers abroad. Three days of mayhem spurred by wanton acts of terror, committed by a group based in Pakistan with deep institutional


and financial links to that country, steeled India’s resolve to go international in appealing to the world to appreciate the centrality of terrorism in contemporary international relations, with the crucible being a nuclear armed country, where the military is in cahoots with terror groups.

Swift countermoves The atrocity perpetrated by the JeM was reciprocated by India within a fortnight by targeting its group headquarters in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. That the IAF could bypass Pakistan’s radar was embarrassing to its military, requiring swift countermoves to restore face. Sure enough, this happened, and while chasing intruding PAF aircraft, an IAF aircraft was shot down and its pilot detained by Pakistan. This pilot was repatriated within a couple of days, defusing tensions for the moment on both sides. For Pakistan, a country constantly defaulting on loans extended by international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary

Fund, the use of terror by non-state actors is to camouflage its renegade status in international fora. Pakistan is a nation that has become a client state of China in recent years, and it shares that country’s abysmal record on human rights. Worse, it fails in almost every metric of what modern societies are known for—literacy, health, robust financial health, economic growth, and many other variables. This may perhaps be the first instance of redefining the state as it is conceived in political science and international relations. The army in Pakistan is the sole decision maker with politicians and the political class beholden to Rawalpindi for everything. The current prime minister, Imran Khan of the party Tehreek e Insaaf, is a well-known former cricketer, who in the 1970s and 1980s was famous for being one of the fastest bowlers. His appeal in Pakistan comes from his exploits on the field, and also for being the captain of the team that won the country’s first World Cup. His presiding over the release of the captured IAF pilot was welcomed in India, more because of India and Pakistan both being fans of cricket.

photo: Stephan Röhl Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, seen here speaking at a conference in Germany, is a popular former cricketer.

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photo: Government of India Soldiers of the Indian Army pose for a photograph after taking a hill from Pakistani forces in 1999 during the Kargil Half War.

As prime minister, however, Khan cannot make decisions on policy without concurrence from Rawalpindi, where the military headquarters is located. Put simply, Pakistan is posing what may amount to a new theory in political science, with an unelected military steering an elected state apparatus, and turning around constitutional considerations of the armed forces abiding and swearing by constitutional propriety. In Pakistan, it is the other way around: The army in Pakistan has had repeated instances of staging coups, with the last being that which brought General Pervez Musharraf to power from 1999 to 2008. Musharraf was the author of the Kargil half war, as military commander of Pakistanoccupied Kashmir.

Asymmetric option In the case of hosting and tolerating the fomenting of terror by virulent Islamic groups on its soil, the generals in Rawalpindi acknowledge terrorism as a potent asymmetric option against India that aids

in confusing and derailing India’s response, if any. Periodic episodes of terror emanating from Pakistanbased groups on the Indian side have been met with public outrage followed by a quiescent approach by the government in India emboldening terror groups to up the ante. The pusillanimity of the international community towards terror groups being based in Pakistan despite tireless attempts made by India to highlight its concerns regarding a global evil, has acted as a force multiplier to groups swearing fealty to an ideology that views a constitution as an instrument by the devil to divide the pious. Piety, for such terror groups, can only come from the Koran, which is held above all constitutions and laws, and which guides people on every aspect of life. The challenge for India and Pakistan lies not just in addressing terrorism. The need for bilateral mechanisms at the level of the military are urgently required so as to prevent further attacks by non-state actors in Pakistan forcing the hand of India to target groups inimical to India in every aspect, including its economy, plurality and democracy. n

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Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 40 (February, 2019)

Southeast Asian Ties Proactive engagement with region key to New Southbound Policy Success Puo Sothirak

photo: Io Herodotus


The Cambodian National Assembly reflects traditional Cambodian architecture.

aiwan’s new southbound Policy (NSP) has made considerable progress in the development of the island’s economic, cultural, and educational linkages, with notable increases in Taiwanese trade and investment across the region. Significant expansion in people-to-people exchanges, particularly in the areas of education and tourism, have also been observed. Distinct from previous Taiwanese efforts to increase engagement with Southeast Asia, the NSP appears—initially at least—

tied to Taipei’s own implementation of the initiative or the content of the initiative itself. These include internal issues such as resourcing and coordination in Taiwan among a full range of stakeholders, as well as external ones such as managing ties with Beijing and Southeast Asian states that are careful not to get embroiled in the Cross-Strait conflict. In addition, the regional environment in which the NSP is operating remains complex and difficult due to multiple external powers which are concomitantly stepping up

to be making progress toward its primary goals. Although the NSP has made some positive advancements in recent years, key challenges remain as the initiative moves forward. Some of these challenges are

their engagement with Southeast Asia, meaning stiffer competition for NSP to find suitable niche areas through which it can successfully engage the region. The NSP is being implemented at a particularly deli-

Pou Sothirak is executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, an independent research institute that promotes dialogue on peace, democracy, conflict resolution, and national development.

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cate time in Southeast Asia. The post-Cold War security equilibrium of American unipolarity is shifting in the region toward a new reality of USChina bipolarity, with rising tensions among the two great powers, as depicted by the current US-China trade war which is likely to escalate in the near term. Washington’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and the establishment of the minilateral “Quad” grouping of the United States, Japan, Australia, and India stand today in apparent competition with China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Beijing’s Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism. All countries in the region will be required to navigate their respective engagement with Taiwan’s NSP in this new, unstable context as well as within the delicate framework of the one China policy. As the signature initiative in President Tsai’s foreign policy, the NSP’s firm commitment has been buttressed by the Republic of China (ROC) government’s allocation of significant resources to support the initiative, with the initial budget increased by 63 percent from US$131 million in 2017 to US$241 million in

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is at the center of this new initiative. Although the NSP is part of a larger regional strategy, the real focus of engagement has been in Southeast Asia in trade and investment, tourism, and student exchange. To this end, NSP has begun to produce commendable results. Recent Taiwan government statistics indicate that there are increases in areas such as tourism and education. In some cases, gains have surpassed earlier targets, including the number of Southeast Asians traveling to Taiwan by air and enrolling in tertiary institutions. Trade and investment figures have also seen some improvement as well. Furthermore, initiatives such as inking of investment agreements with photo: ROC Gov key Southeast Asian states, and ad-

2018. The largest portions of the budget are dedicated to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Education, with US$96.1 million and US$56.5 million respectively. Furthermore, in October 2017, the Tsai administration announced a US$3.5 billion financing plan to assist NSP countries with infrastructure development.

vancements in areas such as regional connectivity and a greater emphasis on Southeast Asian languages, as well as the extension of the visafree trial period is also a notable development in this respect, even if it has not been expanded beyond the initial three countries: Brunei, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Global Panorama

ROC President Tsai Ing-wen


China is continuing to more strongly encourage and incentivize states that recognize Beijing to maintain a strict adherence to the one China policy. Renewed great power competition in the region combined with China’s more aggressive stance toward Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen took office represents a distinct challenge to ASEAN states as they seek to engage with Taiwan through the NSP.

Wider collaboration Renewed efforts are needed to restart engagement with the region as the aforementioned shifts in geopolitics and security may potentially hinder the advancement of the NSP. The obvious next step forward is for Taiwan to maintain as stable a relationship as possible with China as this condition is required for reinforcing closer ASEAN-Taiwan ties. In light of China’s renewed pressure on Taiwan and its diplo-

matic partners, this will undoubtedly be a challenge. Furthermore, to enjoy a deeper relationship with Southeast Asia, Taiwan must inculcate positive relations with all 10 ASEAN states with efforts gearing up to forge a wider collaboration with every ASEAN state, with a primary emphasis on economic and social-cultural issues. Cambodia and the ROC never enjoyed diplomatic relations. Semi-official relations between Cambodia and Taiwan took place when Taiwan established the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in November 1995 in Phnom Penh to promote trade, investment and cultural exchange between Taiwan and Cambodia. This relationship was disrupted by the outburst of a political situation in Cambodia in July 1997, and the office was forced to shut down on 22 July, 1997. This unfortunate domestic event interrupted the ROC’s southward pursuit of economic engagement and overseas investment in post-conflict

photo: Dean Karalekas About 25,000 Taiwanese tourists visit Angkor Wat each year. Last year, Cambodia Airways launched twice-weekly flights between Siem Reap and Taipei.

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photo: Tony Vincelli Cambodian Capt. Prum Sanghoun, a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces doctor, treats a patient with Staff Sgt. Erin Smith, a medic with the National Guard.

Cambodia, otherwise Taiwan might have been able to maintain its trade and cultural office in Cambodia through to the present day. The disruption should be treated as a lesson learned in the sense that the ROC’s trade and cultural office should not be perceived as becoming directly involved in domestic politics of the host country and that assessment of foreign political risk should be undertaken comprehensively to ensure politically appropriate engagement in a county like Cambodia, as well as to understand the strict adherence of the one China policy, as China is more than just a friend to Cambodia but rather a close strategic partner. On a more positive note, for Cambodia, Taiwanese investment has been vital in the development of the garment industry, with hundreds of Taiwaneseowned factories employing tens of thousands of Cambodians producing garments and apparel for export. At the same time, Taiwan is the eighth-largest source of Cambodian imports, totaling over US$500 million in 2017. Taiwanese companies are attracted to Cambodia’s diverse advantages for factory relocation, which include duty-free access to major de-

veloped countries and regions including Japan and the European Union (EU); stable macroeconomic performance; and generous incentives to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Despite possessing a significantly smaller population of about onesixth that of its neighbor, Cambodia outperformed Vietnam in 2015 on the basis of per-capita garment exports. Moreover, in light of the nationwide protests in Vietnam and their negative impacts on Taiwanese firms, several analysts have highlighted Cambodia as a safer location for Taiwanese overseas investment. While the Taiwan External Trade Development Council has not been granted permission by the Royal Government of Cambodia to open an office in Phnom Penh, the Taiwanese business community is organized under the auspices of the Taiwan Commercial Association in Cambodia, and Taiwanese investment continues to flow into Cambodia, most recently in the Bavet Special Economic Zone located on the Cambodia-Vietnam border, together with the announcement earlier this year by Taiwanese shipping giant Evergreen that it had established a Cambodian subsidiary which is poised to be a major player in the


development of the port of Sihanoukville. Finally, Prime Minister Hun Sen has previously stated that Cambodia does not discriminate against any investors, including Taiwan; thus Cambodia encourages increased trade and investment with Taiwan while adhering strictly to its one China policy. Cambodia is mindful of the significant strength of Taiwan and its vibrant prosperity, for which it famously became known as one of East Asia’s “economic Tigers.” Taiwan has achieved enormous success in employing advanced technologies in the industrial sector, as well as in the manufacturing of high-tech products, medicine, agriculture, transportation, and infrastructure. These economically attractive aspects of Taiwan compliment Cambodia’s economy and could serve to enhance Cambodia’s priority to attract much-needed FDI and facilitate the transfer of advanced technologies, thereby accelerating economic development and creating much needed employment for the country’s growing population. As far as commerce is concerned, Taiwan registers a large volume of trade with other ASEAN countries. As Taiwan trades less with Cambodia than with other ASEAN members, there is considerable room for growth. It would be beneficial if Cambodia could find a feasible way to engage with Taiwan on other aspect of cooperation, besides politics and diplomatic engagement, such as in the fields of education, technical training, agriculture, heath care, and academic exchange. Taiwan has had successful agricultural technical cooperation projects with Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar as Taiwan possesses advanced farming and irrigation techniques. Cooperation in agriculture is important to Cambodia and Taiwan could offer assistance in the development of agriculture and farming in villages throughout Cambodia, and help the country to eradicate poverty and achieve its targets within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

For Taiwan to be successful in interacting with Cambodia, it will have to begin with the understanding that Taiwan would respect Cambodia’s decision to uphold the one China policy, and be willing to avoid this sensitive issue to engage Cambodia honestly in trade, investment, technical cooperation, and in various other fields deemed important to Cambodia’s national economic development as set out in the Royal Government’s National Development Plan, as well as to promote cultural ties and academic exchanges between the two sides. If successful in this endeavor, Taiwan could hope to have a better chance to engage more closely not only with Cambodia but with the ASEAN regional integration and enhance its soft power in Southeast Asia as whole. Therefore, Cambodia and Taiwan should attempt to explore creative engagements and new initiatives based on mutual respect and understanding to enable necessary cooperation in the above-mentioned fields of cooperation, without breaking the one China policy.

Constructive partner For the NSP to realize its full potential and achieve its intended goal in engaging with Southeast Asian nations, Taiwan needs to continue to implement the New Southbound Policy with fortitude by emphasizing its role as a constructive partner in the process of regional development. The ROC must make sure that its outward-looking strategy and strength remain prevalent factors in ensuring continuous growth for the entire region. Taiwan’s competitiveness—be it as a manufacturing powerhouse or as a provider of capital and technology—should be properly utilized to make Taiwan a new model of economic development for the Asia-Pacific region. In so doing, Taiwan needs to cultivate a strong foundation and favorable conditions for constructive engagement and collaboration with Southeast Asian countries for sound

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implementation of the NSP policy by maintaining its enduring commitment to seek comprehensive development which can override wide-ranging challenges that loom ahead in the formation of the economic community of shared prosperity with mutual respect and common understanding. Another angle to look for in securing a bright future for the NSP is how Taiwan positions this initiative with respect to US-led initiatives, such as the aforementioned Indo-Pacific Strategy and the Quad, while engaging with Southeast Asia. The opening of the new Indo-Pacific Affairs section under the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been viewed by many as a signal that the NSP will develop into either a component of, or at least an important complement to, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy. If the NSP becomes widely perceived as part of a foreign policy framework which many in China and Southeast Asia understand as designed to contain China, it will place many ASEAN states in a very difficult position as regards engaging with the NSP and taking advantage of the economic and people-to-people exchanges that it supports, owing to the negative knock-on effects in

their respective relations with China. At this point in time, greater clarity is required as to precisely how the NSP relates to the Indo-Pacific strategy and its trajectory related thereto in the short to medium term. If the NSP is to continue its track record of achievement, Southeast Asia requires such clarity in order to ensure the maintenance of mutually beneficial bilateral economic relations and continued peace and stability in the region. And finally, with regard to Taiwan-Cambodia relations: However difficult it has been in the past to develop an economic and cultural relationship between the two sides, there should be more discussion on how we can promote better understanding of the realities of the political environment surrounding Cambodia’s interaction with the Republic of China. It will be useful to contemplate these wider options beyond political and diplomatic preferences, as noted in the above paragraphs, that can move the NSP forward so as to allow the correct engagement to materialize, which must be grounded in a spirit of mutual respect, sincere understanding, and reciprocal benefits acceptable to both Cambodia and the Republic of China. n

photo: Dean Karalekas Fishermen work the waters of the Tonle Sap, a freshwater lake and a popular tourist destination in Cambodia.

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