STRATEGIC VISION for Taiwan Security
Taiwan’s Defense Essential To American Interests
Taipei and HA/DR Diplomacy
Trump Pushes Back on China
Jakarta Seeks Balance
Kuomintang and US/China Policy
Volume 8, Issue 41 w April, 2019 w ISSN 2227-3646
STRATEGIC VISION for Taiwan Security
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Volume 8, Issue 41 w April, 2019 Contents Indonesia seeks balance .................................................................4 Trump pushing China on IP theft ................................................ 10 US commitment to Taiwan defence ............................................. 16 Taiwan’s humanitarian aid diplomacy ........................................ 20 Kuomintang foreign policy ..........................................................26
David Scott Dean Karalekas Robert McCoy
Lai Hui-chen Charles Yang
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 41, April, 2019, published under the auspices of the Center for Security Studies and National Defense University.
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From The Editor
Much has happened of importance to AsiaPacific security since our last issue, and the editors of Strategic Vision are proud to bring you an in-depth analysis of the events taking place that continue to shape our region.
We begin with an article by Dr. David Scott, a regular presenter on Indo-Pacific geopolitics at the NATO Defense College in Rome, who offers his analysis of the Indonesian government’s efforts to find a balance despite being at a tense Indo-Pacific crossroads. Next, we take a look at how the administration of US President Donald Trump is pushing back against China’s longstanding efforts to steal technology and trade secrets from the US firms, in a piece by Strategic Vision’s associate editor, Dr. Dean Karalekas.
This is followed by a retired US Air Force Korean linguist, Robert McCoy, who argues that voices critical of America’s defense relationship with Taiwan are predicated on a failure to understand the realities of the cross-strait situation. Next, Lieutenant Commander Lai Hui-chen, an ROC Naval officer currently posted with the ROC National Defense University, offers his take on maritime non-traditional security issues such as humanitarian assistance, and how these present opportunities for Taiwan’s diplomatic efforts.
Finally, Charles Yang, who is an expert in the political-economic development of China, examines the foreign policy of the Kuonintang party, specifically on the relative importance it places on Taiwan’s ties with the United States and China.
We hope our readers find this an informative and enjoyable issue, and we look forward to continuing to bring you the highest-quality analysis and reporting on topics of importance to cross-strait and regional security.
Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu Editor Strategic Vision
Indonesia seeks to maintain balance in tense Indo-Pacific crossroads
Indonesia spent 2018 developing what it calls the Indo-Pacific Cooperative Concept, which first surfaced in an annual press statement made on 9 January, 2018, by Foreign Secretary Retno Marsudi. She announced that, “in the midst of regional geopolitical changes, Indonesia, located at the crossroads of the Indian and Pacific Oceans must continue to be the prominent player in the creation of a regional architecture.”
With regard to future regional architecture, Marsudi pledged that, “Indonesia will work together with countries in the region, to develop an Indo-Pacific
cooperation umbrella” but within which, “ASEAN centrality has to be maintained.”
This Indo-Pacific focus was reiterated by Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo on 25 January, 2018, when he stated, “the development of the Indo-Pacific concept must also be done openly, transparently, inclusive based on habit of dialogue, based on the desire to work together and uphold international law.” Similarly, Marsudi tweeted on 8 May that, “Indonesia’s Indo-Pacific cooperation principles are inclusive, openness, developing a habit of dialogue and respect for international law.”
4 b Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 41 (April, 2019)
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
photo: US Department of State
A meeting between Secretary Mike Pompeo and Minister Retno Marsudi in Washington, DC, on 5 June, 2018.
This vision of cooperation faces the obvious challenge of how far the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is ready to go to frustrate international law in the South China Sea, given its refusal to accept the July 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling against China.
Unofficial ASEAN leader
Indonesia’s proposal for an ASEAN-led Indo-Pacific concept reflects and cements Indonesia’s status as ASEAN’s unofficial leader. Inevitably, as the biggest ASEAN member, Indonesia has the clout and capacity to spearhead ASEAN regional initiatives. The advantage for Indonesia in pushing ASEAN centrality is that it averts larger non-ASEAN powers setting the political and economic agenda, whether they be China’s Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative, or the US/Japanese “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP). Throughout 2018, Indonesia pursued Indo-Pacific avenues with Australia, India, Japan, the United States, China and ASEAN.
With regard to Australia, Indo-Pacific convergence was on show with the Joint Statement drawn up by the
two countries for the Fifth 2+2 Meeting on 16 March 2018 in Sydney. The meeting gave the context as, “the geo-strategic shifts underway in the Indo-Pacific,” where the foreign and defense ministers emphasized that their two countries has a shared interest in an Indo-Pacific region that is open, transparent, inclusive, rules-based, prosperous and resilient, in which the rights of all states are respected. Their comments on geo-strategic shifts in the Indo-Pacific and on recent developments in the South China Sea were aimed at China, especially their common stress on non-militarization, and freedom of navigation and over-flight, though the word “inclusive” was a nod to Indonesian concerns about antagonizing China.
With respect to India, this Indo-Pacific convergence was also at the forefront with the Shared Vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the IndoPacific, signed between their two leaders on 30 May, 2018. Their Shared Vision recorded “the convergences and complementarities in the region between India’s Act East Policy and Indonesia’s Global Maritime Fulcrum Vision.” Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Indian Ocean Regional Association (IORA) and ASEAN-led mechanisms was highlighted, as was bi-
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photo: US Navy
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
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lateral maritime cooperation, subsequently carried out through initiating the Samudra Shakti naval exercises in November. Their focus on inclusivity reflected both countries’ desire to not antagonize China too overtly, though China was implicitly in mind with the Shared Vision comments on “reiterating the importance of achieving a free, open, transparent, rules-based, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region” where “sovereignty and territorial integrity, international law, in particular UNCLOS, freedom of navigation and overflight are respected.”
The FOIP strategy was first developed in Japan by Shinzo Abe in late-2016, and picked up with enthusiasm by US President Donald Trump in late 2017. Although China is not specifically named, the Japan-US Indo-Pacific strategy is, in reality, a Chinacontainment model, both in the security sense, but also by serving as a counter to China’s MSR, which both Japan and the United States see as a closed sys-
tem set to give China geo-economic and geopolitical dominance in the region. Speaking at the 25th PECC General Meeting on 8 May, 2018, Marsudi cautioned that with regard to the Indo-Pacific, “the concept should not be used as a containment strategy.” Nevertheless Indonesia has not rejected the Japanese and US Indo-Pacific formulations.
A report by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry on talks held with Japan on 25 June, 2018, stated that, “both Ministers also expressed concern over the occurrence of militarization in the South China Sea region,” adding that, “the two Foreign Ministers also agreed to synergize the Indonesian-initiated IndoPacific concept with the concept of Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy from Japan” by strengthening bilateral cooperation, and regional mechanisms such as ASEAN, IORA and the EAS. The word “inclusive” was not inserted into this declaration.
With regard to the United States, Indonesia has taken a careful approach. Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ report on 6 August 2018 about the MarsudiPompeo discussions stated, “both countries will fur-
All 18 EAS member states and the ASEAN secretariat at the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Singapore, Singapore, 4 August, 2018.
photo: US State Department
ther encourage trade and investment cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region,” adding that, “Minister Retno reiterated the key pillars of Indonesia’s concept of Indo-Pacific: promoting inclusiveness, habit of dialogue, and respect of international law.”
Similarly, the Indonesian Ministry of Defense report on 28 August about the Ryacudu-Mattis discussions was that “Indonesia also agreed with the concept of the Free and Open Indo Pacific Policy, which has proven a significant role in building stability in the Indo Pacific region.” Nevertheless Indonesia highlighted “prioritizing the economic aspect approach by emphasizing the principle of inclusiveness,” and sought assurances “that FOIP is not aimed at certain countries,” and that FOIP “recognizes the importance of ASEAN’s position as the main regional construct in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s take on the Widodo-Pence meeting on 14 November was that “the President conveyed cooperation to maintain peace and security in the region, including collaboration for the development of the Indo Pacific,” and that synergy was feasible between Indonesian and US Indo-Pacific formulations.
In its relations with China, Indonesia has pursued a selective approach; avoiding any direct mention of maritime friction around the Natuna Archipelago in the South China Sea, and of China’s wider militarization of the South China Sea. Instead, Marsudi’s talks with Wang Yi brought Wang’s comments on 29 February, 2018, to the effect that, “the framework of Indo-Pacific region recently proposed by Indonesia emphasizes the principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, upholds the general direction of dialogue and cooperation, and China agrees with this framework.”
China, though, remains loath to use any IndoPacific formulations. Widodo’s visit to China in April involved friendly discussions with Xi Jinping and the signing of various MSR-funded infrastruc-
ture projects. Widodo’s further meeting with Xi Jinping in November involved Chinese acceptance of Indonesia’s “maritime fulcrum” concept, and Indonesia’s acceptance of China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, but nothing on Indonesia’s Indo-Pacific Cooperation Concept.
A prominent theme in Indonesia’s espousal of the Indo-Pacific is ASEAN centrality. At the Heads of Government ASEAN summit in April 2018, the Indonesian President declared that “ASEAN must be able to play a role in developing the framework of Indo-Pacific cooperation, it is important for ASEAN to stay relevant and maintain its centrality.”
In July, at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting, Indonesia presented a formal Indo-Pacific briefing paper, with Marsudi arguing that, “[the] ASEAN centrality principle is behind Indonesia’s promotion of the Indo-Pacific cooperation concept.” This push within ASEAN was supposed to be wrapped up at the ASEAN Summit held on 13 November, but President Widodo noted how a draft joint concept was still under discussion within ASEAN, but that, “God willing, it can be agreed on soon.”
During 2018, Indonesia further pushed its IndoPacific initiative onto the wider stage of the East Asia Summit (EAS) mechanism; which brings together ASEAN, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Indonesia formally presented its Indo-Pacific concept at the EAS Foreign Minister’s meeting on 4 August, but with no formal response from other EAS ministers. On 14 November, Widodo did make the Indo-Pacific the focus of his own address to the EAS Summit.
Seeking Stability b 7
“TheriskcontinuesthatblandIndoPacific declarations, with the drive toinsistoninclusivitysoasnotto upsetChina,avoidaddressingkey securityissues.”
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Although Widodo described “the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean as a single geo-strategic theatre,” his exposition took little account of China’s growing strategic challenge in both regions. Instead he deliberated on uncontroversial economic cooperation on which few could disagree; the focus of Indo-Pacific cooperation being he argued in three areas, namely crime at sea (piracy), connectivity schemes, and sustainable development.
The EAS response was polite but non-committal. The Chairman’s Statement released on 15 November merely noted that, “we had a broad discussion on the various Indo-Pacific concepts,” which presumably referred to the various Indo-Pacific expositions by Japan, the United States (with its particularly sharp direct criticisms of China), India and Indonesia without particularly accepting any of them.
The risk continues that bland Indo-Pacific declarations, with the drive to insist on inclusivity so as not to upset China, avoid addressing key security issues; which continue to revolve around China’s militarization and expansionism in the South China Sea
(which includes Chinese maritime claims in waters around Indonesia’s Natuna Islands), China’s growing naval presence in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and China’s questionable MSR geoeconomic undertones of debt diplomacy. Instead, the Indonesian emphasis in 2018 has been on economic cooperation with China through infrastructure projects for Indonesia as a maritime fulcrum and readiness to participate in the MSR initiative. The danger remains that Indonesia’s Indo-Pacific Cooperation Concept may be a weak play amid its unresolved naval weakness, increasing pressure of great power politics, a divided and powerless ASEAN, unenforceable principles, and a vaguely outlined and ineffective multilateral approach.
Economic cooperation was the continuing refrain from Indonesia in 2018. On 23 October, Marsudi stated at the Jakarta Geopolitical Forum that, “Indonesia’s Indo-Pacific cooperation concept promises a mutu-
The fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
photo: Mark Logico
ally beneficial geopolitical situation by prioritizing collaboration for a common interest, including the creation of new growth centers.” However, do such assumptions by Indonesia about economic collaboration in the Indo-Pacific underplay the destabilizing and competitive geopolitical situation posed by China’s military assertiveness in the South China Sea, and its growing naval presence across the Indo-Pacific?
The challenge for Indonesia is that the FOIP concept being pushed by Japan and the United States in the real world of politics cannot be inclusive because it is China’s actions that are leading other countries to balance against it in the FOIP framework. China does not want to be included in such a Free and Open Indo-Pacific because China threatens a free and open Indo-Pacific. Indonesia’s desire to stay out of the way of China-US competition could muffle the real power challenge posed to Southeast Asia by the threat of China’s regional hegemony in the Indo-Pacific. The Indo-Pacific balancing by the United States and Japan, alongside Australia and India, was demonstrated again with the 15 November, 2018, meeting of
Quad officials, complete with repeated Indo-Pacific references. This may be something that Indonesia should also be moving closer to, rather than keeping a slight distance from.
Having announced the Indo-Pacific Cooperation Concept in her 2018 annual press statement, twelve months later Indonesian aspirations for 2019 have a slightly forlorn feel to them. Marsudi’s announcement on 9 January, 2019, that “Indonesia, alongside other ASEAN member countries, invites all partners to continue developing the ‘Indo-Pacific’ cooperation concept,” was tacit acknowledgment that it was still a work-in-progress. Indeed, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting on 18 January saw no consensus, with Indonesia’s Indo-Pacific Concept paper not adopted, but instead handed back to senior officials for further discussion. Marsudi’s call for 2019 was pressing; “we must ensure that the Indian and Pacific Oceans do not become an arena for competition of natural resources, territorial conflicts and maritime supremacy.” Unfortunately for Indonesia, that is what beckons for 2019. n
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photo: US Department of State Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 4 August, 2018.
Sino-US Trade War
Trump administration pushes China on rampant intellectual property theft
The recent news that US President Donald Trump’s administration had placed Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. on a trade blacklist has been met with outrage in Beijing and consternation in much of the rest of the Western world. Although cyber technology experts acknowledge that the use of software or hardware sold by by Chinese telecom equipment suppliers, such as Huawei and ZTE, carries the risk of significant threats to information security, many decision makers and government procurement officers seem to prefer to focus on the bottom line, and thus choose to regard the
US move as simply another gambit in the ongoing Sino-US trade war.
It was reported by Reuters that shares in Infineon Technologies, AMS, and STMicroelectronics dropped sharply after the announcement from Washington, as there were reports that the European chipmakers were planning to stop shipments to Huawei in order to avoid the political risk. The United States currently enjoys dominance in the high-tech sector, but Huawei represents a formidable regional position and strong prospects for future growth. Moreover, the inherent interconnectedness of the sector’s supply
10 b Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 41 (April, 2019)
Dr. Dean Karalekas is a Canadian researcher and author of Civil-Military Relations in Taiwan: Identity and Transformation. He can be reached for comment
photo: J.M. Eddins Jr.
The 175th Cyberspace Operations Group provides a cyber threat update utilizing a Kibana visualization in the Hunter’s Den at Warfield Air National Guard Base.
chains mean that firms such as the aforementioned European chipmakers must be extremely cautious about whom they do business with.
Many journalists and commentators on the trade war, and the Huawei blacklist in particular, include in their analyses reference to the Thucydides Trap. Indeed, the details of that concept itself are less illuminating than the frequency with which it is referenced, revealing an expectation that Beijing’s goal of displacing America’s perceived regional—if not global—hegemony is close to fruition. This ascendance appears to be the expectation of much of the commentariat on China, just as it is the Manifest Destiny as perceived by the leaders of China.
Moreover, for the past several US administrations, there has been remarkably little pushback on aggressive and expansionist actions by China. Despite a strong start to the administration of President George W. Bush, for example, who early in his tenure stated the US would do “whatever it takes” to defend Taiwan, he quickly shifted focus when, after the 911 attacks, America devoted its energies to the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, with little time left for East Asia. Indeed: Washington enlisted the aid
of Beijing to handle an increasingly belligerent North Korea while the United States was bogged down in the Middle East. The result was an increasingly nuclearized Pyongyang and an emboldened Beijing.
In the years since, China has abandoned its “peaceful rise” rhetoric and “good neighbor” policy and continued to expand its sphere of influence in the Asia-Pacific region (it has done so in other regions as well, including throughout Latin America and Africa, but this is not within the purview of this brief). Other powers in the region have struggled to deal with this through the adoption of either a balancing policy or one of bandwagoning. The Philippines, once a staunch ally of the United States, began the century with a balancing policy but jumped on the China bandwagon soon after the election of President Rodrigo Duterte.
One of the most interesting aspects of the US-China relationship over the past two decades has been the degree to which Chinese cyber-operations as well as state-supported industrial espionage has contributed to the growth of China’s high-tech sector at the expense of US IT firms, as well as firms in other parts of the Western world. Security analysts and academ-
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photo: Amber Smith
US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver speaks to reporters at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 3, 2019.
b STRATEGIC VISION
ics have been tracking this phenomenon for years, but neither government officials nor Western media outlets overtly acknowledged that it was happening. That is, until recently.
It was only with the election of President Donald Trump that the United States started to call Beijing to task on their unfair trade practices and theft of intellectual property. Briefing reporters on the 2019 Report on Military and Security Developments in China at the Pentagon in early May, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver pointed to the US Trade Representative’s conclusion that PRC policies cause “harm to the US economy of at least $50 billion per year.”
At first glance, it may appear that Trump’s trade war with China is little more than an effort to secure
a better deal with Beijing. However, this interpretation is incorrect. The real purpose of Trump’s trade war with China is not so much to secure a better pact for the dealmaker-in-chief: its aim is to fundamentally restructure the trade relationship between the United States and China to one that is, from the American perspective, on an equal footing. By going after Chinese practices such as stealing intellectual property, the Trump administration is seeking to create a system wherein the United States and China compete fairly in the fast-changing high-tech economy. As a communist society, China is at a natural disadvantage in that it is less entrepreneurial, less innovative, and less dynamic. In Trump’s eyes, these are the qualities in which American businesses excel and—on a level playing field—will always outperform their Chinese competitors. The Chinese must surely be aware of this as well, and are at a loss as to how to deal with trump.
A US Navy E-2C Hawkeye at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan,.Variants of this aircraft are also flown by the Taiwan Air Force.
photo: Donato Maffin
Upon first taking office, Trump’s unconventional actions caused consternation in Beijing, and Chinese foreign-affairs stakeholders began frantically reaching out to their Western contacts for advice on how to handle this loose cannon. The practice of Sino-US diplomacy had become ritualized under successive administrations of conventional, establishment-approved US presidents, and Chinese leaders knew that the regime could continue its espionage and influence operations in the Western world simply because they had been allowed to do so. Only Trump began calling them to task, and perhaps not unpredictably, the world has largely fallen in line behind Trump in his effort to stop China’s theft of high technology. Why has it taken so long to acknowledge China’s behavior and react to put an end to it? For one thing, governments and corporations are dangerously overinvested in China, and largely stayed mum in order to avoiding putting their investments at risk. For another: it is said that it is the practice of generals to fight the last war. Many policymakers, if they conceive of China as a potential enemy at all, focus on
the admittedly impressive growth of that country’s conventional military assets. If a conflict between the West and China does erupt, however, it will not (at least initially) be characterized by military action so much as by cyber-attack, trade reprisals, and other non-conventional means of defeating an enemy. In the next inter-state war, it will be the country that best leverages quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things that will emerge the victor.
On the front line
It is these capabilities that China has been tasking its intelligence apparatus to obtain from a heretofore complacent West. Taiwan is on the front line of this effort, with experts in the island’s IT industry pointing out that Taiwan has become a rehearsal zone for Chinese cyber attacks. In the past decade of targeted data-theft attacks, they have experience identifying specific attack signatures directed against Taiwanese victims, and those same signatures are then picked up again months later in attacks on US targets. Indeed,
Sino-US Trade War b
photo: John McGovern Marines assigned to 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit fire Colt 1911 M45A1 pistols on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4).
some analysts would characterize the state of cyberattack and defense currently taking place (largely invisible to the average citizen) as already being a full-blown state of war between China and the West, albeit one more akin to the Cold War between NATO and the USSR.
This puts Taiwan on the front lines of any such conflict, and like its unconventional approach to China, the Trump administration has been uncharacteristically supportive of Taiwan. In recent years, Washington could be relied upon to admonish Taipei not to unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait even as Beijing had been doing exactly that, through incremental means, for decades. It is only since Trump took office that there has been some pushback—at least verbally—for such infractions.
There are several examples of this uncharacteristic behavior. Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act and National Defence Authorisation Bill allowing highlevel official and military exchanges, and approved two batches of weapons sales to Taipei. Vice President Mike Pence on October 4, 2018 spoke at Washington’s
Hudson Institute in which he recognized that, as a communist country with none of the protections that democracies afford, China was not really an ally of the United States. In a rare move for a US official, Pence castigated Beijing for poaching Taipei’s diplomatic partners. Indeed: Washington recalled its ambassadors from three countries (El Salvador, Panama, and the Dominican Republic) over their derecognition of Taipei in favour of Beijing. This was unprecedented.
Recognizing Taiwan democracy
In addition to speaking positively about Taiwan’s “embrace of democracy” and the example this set for “all the Chinese people,” Pence criticized the Chinese regime for pressuring US companies, including hotel chains and airlines, to list Taiwan as being in some way a territory belonging to China. While it may seem inconsequential or nit-picking, this latter is an important issue, and the amount of attention it received not just from Taipei but from Washington is illustrative.
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An F-35B Lightning II aircraft hovers over the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp conducting routine operations in the East China Sea.
photo: Jeremy Starr
The reason why naming conventions are important is that they represent efforts by Beijing to spread the narrative that Taiwan is in some way a “renegade province” of China. If populations in America and other Western countries accept this narrative—and they seem to, in the absence of any effective efforts by Taipei to counter this view—then they will be less willing to commit blood and treasure to defending the island against a Chinese attack. It is small, seemingly unimportant efforts such as this that hint at a larger aim by Beijing to set the stage for annexation of Taiwan within the near to medium term.
Indeed, China over the past decade had been very successful in wresting de facto control over the entire South China Sea, and it did so while the nations of the world looked on, or at best issued tepid condemnations of its island-building and militarization efforts there. The method by which this was accomplished is the so-called salami-slicing strategy, wherein small, incremental moves, none of which alone constitutes a casus belli, eventually accumulate to a strategic
victory gained without fighting. The strategy was so effective in the SCS that the PRC quickly turned to employing it on Taiwan, as evidenced by such actions as the naming issue, military overflights in Taiwan airspace, the aforementioned cyber attacks, and host of other small steps.
What is important at this juncture is that Western nations continue to support the Trump administration’s efforts to curtail Chinese theft of cutting-edge technologies and stem the expansion of its sphere of influence. By allowing this behavior to continue, previous administrations only emboldened the PRC. Trump’s recent move to blacklist Chinese telecom giant Huawei is a good start, with US semiconductor manufacturers like Qualcomm already falling into line and refusing to sell to Huawei for the foreseeable future. More needs to be done, however. The difficulty will be in not allowing the near-universal personal disdain for Donald Trump himself to interfere with official support for his administration’s efforts on the China issue. n
photo: Ashton Koller
Lawrence Silverman, US Ambassador to Kuwait, delivers the key-note speech at the Best Cyber Warrior Competition at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, May 14, 2019.
Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 41 (April, 2019)
Failure to Communiqué
Arguments against US defence of Taiwan based on failure to understand reality
As China continues its aggression in the South China Sea and now threatens Taiwan with force, there is a debate in foreign policy circles over whether the United States should get involved in supporting Taiwan. The argument is over the wrong point, for America is already involved through continuing arms sales to Taipei and US President Donald Trump’s promoting contacts with and visits to Taiwan by administration officials. The real issue is how far ought Washington be willing to go in defending an ally under pressure. The answer is clear that defending Taiwan is in America’s national interest.
However, even as Americans question foreign med-
dling in its own politics, a US foreign policy guru no longer officially associated with the US government took it upon himself to write an open letter to a Taiwanese activist who advocates independence from China. Bookings senior fellow Richard Bush presumed to advise Kuo Pei-hung, chairman of pro-independence Formosa TV, to consider the potentially serious fallout from China should Taiwan accept any invitation to speak before the American Congress. Subsequently, another foreign policy authority, Joseph Bosco of the Institute for Taiwan-American Studies, countered with an op-ed that pointed out the flaws in Bush’s thinking. While Bosco’s piece does rebut Bush’s position, it could have gone further in
Robert McCoy is a retired US Air Force Korean linguist and analyst who was stationed in Asia for over 14 years.
President and Mrs. Nixon visit the Great Wall. Nixon signed the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972, in which the US acknowledged the one-China policy.
photo: Byron Schumaker
explaining why it makes sense for Taipei to improve its already close ties with Washington.
Both the open letter and the op-ed piece referred to the Shanghai Communiqué issued jointly by China and the United States on 28 February, 1972. The only significant point of agreement in that communiqué was that both sides agreed that there was but one China and that Taiwan was part of that one China. While Beijing did claim that the People’s Republic of China was the only legitimate government of that one China, the United States did not take a position
for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, non-aggression against other states, [and] noninterference in the internal affairs of other states.”
However, recent Chinese behavior shows indisputably that they are not adhering to that, as evidenced by anumber of incidents, including a) the ramming of a Japanese vessel in the East China Sea; b) the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea; c) intimidation of the Philippines in the South China Sea; and d) threatening to annex Taiwan by force.
Clearly, Beijing’s actions over the last few years speak louder than the words of non-aggression and non-interference often mouthed by Chinese leaders. In fact, Beijing came clean about that with the
on that issue in the communiqué, in order to avoid a disagreement that would spoil the meeting.
Each side most likely knew that the other interpreted “one China” quite differently—China seeing Beijing as the legitimate government of China, even as the United States viewed Taipei as the one true Chinese government. However, in Paragraph 8 of that communiqué, both sides agreed that they should, “conduct their relations on the principles of respect
promulgation of its Anti-Secession Law of 14 March, 2005, which declared in Article 8 that, “the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
In view of that avowal and in light of Beijing’s continued hostile actions, any reasonable person would conclude (1) that China claiming to renounce any hostile or intimidating action is preposterous, (2) that
US Defense of Taiwan b 17
Chinese military vehicles carry DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles in a parade held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing.
the communiqué has been abrogated by China’s own actions, and (3) that the United States is therefore no longer bound by it—if indeed it was ever bound at all. Indeed, the United States is not bound by any communiqué because such an instrument does not meet the relevant criteria of a binding international accord. A treaty is one form of binding international accord. In the United States, a treaty comes into force through the approval—also known as “advise and consent”— of two-thirds of the members of the US Senate and ratification by the American president.
A Congressional-Executive Agreement, or legislative act, is another way to promulgate an international accord. That is accomplished by both houses of the American Congress passing a bill which is then signed into law by the US president. Yet another form of international accord is established through executive action alone as the president implements an agreement with another country by his signature
to the pact.
However, the word communiqué comes from the French and means merely a bulletin or a report. In the case of this communiqué, it merely attests that an American President and a Chinese Chairman met, that they discussed certain issues, and that each side
stated its own position. That communiqué was not a treaty, it was not a legislative act, and it certainly was not an executive agreement.
Regardless, the first American Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson advised then-President George Washington that there is a significant advantage in using a legislative act (or even an executive agreement, as subsequently validated by the US Supreme Court) as opposed to a treaty because. In Jefferson’s words, “when they [legislative acts or executive agreements] become too inconvenient, [they] can be dropped at
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A Congressional-Executive Agreement, otherwise known as a legislative act, is one way to promulgate an international accord.
the will of either party; whereas stipulations by treaty are forever irrevocable but by joint consent let a change of circumstances render them ever so bothersome.”
Clearly, Beijing has dropped any pretense of adhering to what it once promised in the communiqué. It is now time that the United States cease feeling restricted in attempting to resolve issues with China. The communiqué has been formally abrogated by China anyway.
Protecting US interests
Unfortunately, some in Washington are afraid to stand up to China for fear of getting a bloody nose
in the course of protecting lawful and legitimate American national interests, as well as those of a valuable ally in the region. Allowing fear of Beijing’s possible reaction to prevent American action is self-defeating.
Military forces are valuable as deterrents only so long as opponents fear that they will be employed. When crises affecting American national interests elicit no military response from Washington, the US defense machine is seen as an emasculated and feeble old dog that does nothing but yelp. All other American national interests are thereby placed at risk.
It is time to end the fiction of “one China,” which has not been the case since 1949. The United States must not back down in defending Taiwan. n
US Defense of Taiwan b 19
Taiwan’s military constantly trains to defeat a Chinese attack. The defense partnership with America is key to Taiwan’s continued survival.
photo: ROC MND
There are different ways to interpret a “one-China” policy.
Maritime non-traditional security issues present opportunities for Taiwan Lai Hui-chen
Taiwan and China have a longstanding sovereignty dispute under the one China principle asserted by People’s Republic of China (PRC), which limits Taiwan’s international space in several ways. Undeniably, China is a highly modernized military power that has enjoyed an economic boom in the past few decades, and it has risen up as an influential power in the international community. Therefore, China has fought a very aggressive diplomatic and economic war against Taiwan developing diplomatic and international links across a wide range of areas that have challenged the national security and
interests of the Republic of China (ROC).
The end of Cold war had led to brand new security issues where the concept of national security is no longer confined to political as well as military-related subjects. New types of security threats have emerged as major concerns for governments. These include non-traditional security issues such as cyber warfare, piracy, terrorism, and environmental security.
The number of recorded incidents of natural hazards around the world have increased tremendously in the past few decades. Due to the region’s geography and vulnerability to disasters, the Asia Pacific
email@example.com 20 b Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 41 (April, 2019)
Lieutenant Commander Lai Hui-chen is an ROC Naval officer who is currently posted to the National Defense University as a personnel officer and an adjunct military English teacher. He can be reached for comment at
photo: Justin Schoenberger
Hospital ship USNS Mercy departs San Diego to participate in Pacific Partnership 2018, to work partner nations to enhance HADR interoperability.
is most affected by natural catastrophes and people living in this region suffer the consequences of disasters at a rate that is five times higher than people outside this region, according to the “2017 Asia Pacific Disaster Report” from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). From 1970 to 2016, damage resulting from disasters in Asia and the Pacific increased to US$1.3 trillion in assets, most of which was the result of floods, storms, and earthquakes, including tsunamis, according to ESCAP.
Deadliest natural disasters
According to data published by Munich Re, as of 2017, the tsunami of 2004 was the deadliest natural disaster to occur worldwide since 1980. An estimated 222,000 people were killed in this event. The seconddeadliest was the earthquake that affected Haiti in January 2010, in which 159,000 fatalities were report-
ed. Moreover, the vast majority of the ten most significant natural disasters worldwide by death toll during this period occurred in the Asia-Pacific region.
Statistics also show that the highest number of natural disasters in 2016 occurred in Asia where there were 79 hydrological disasters out of 179 in 2016. The failure to recognize the power of such natural catastrophes could have dire consequences from the cases indicated above.
The unpredictable characteristics of natural disasters, coupled with the Asia Pacific’s vulnerability and geographical location, will pose a serious threat and challenge. There will be a trend in which the loss and casualties resulting from the coming catastrophes will pose challenges that each affected country cannot handle by itself. Therefore, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations have received more attention in the global community in recent years, and has become the core mission for numerous governments.
Disaster Diplomacy b 21
photo: Tony Harp
US Airmen from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard evacuate a casualty into a Humvee during Tactical Combat Casualty Care training, May 21, 2019.
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Taiwan, a disaster-prone country, sits in a place with a complex environment including not only the cross-strait military threat from the PRC, but also new types of risks from natural disasters, which may
personnel and varieties of equipment.
result in tremendous loss of both life and property. The authorities have learned the lessons from the significant loss in the Jiji earthquake in 1999 as well as Typhoon Morakot in 2009.
Being geographically vulnerable to natural disasters has forced Taiwan to realize the fact that the civilian capabilities and capacities are insufficient to meet the needs of disaster relief which in essence is complicated and requires professional skills and equipment to be deployed quickly. It has been an inevitable trend to take the armed forces into consideration for the reason of sufficient resources including well-trained
Therefore, HADR operations became one of the core missions of the ROC armed forces after Typhoon Morakot. The Navy, in particular, played a crucial role in the operation of international disaster relief. Access, maneuverability, and durability are characteristics that enable versatile maritime platforms valuable assets unique to maritime forces, especially navies. These, in turn, constitute contributing factors in defining navies’ abilities not only to show a coercive from of traditional gunboat diplomacy but also to promote constructive and positive forms of naval diplomacy, according to Alessio Patalano of the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.
Indeed, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed that the case of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines involved military support from more than 20 countries, including the US Navy, Japan’s Maritime
“HADR operations have created an opportunity for navies to pursue the goal of mutual collaboration in the conceptofbenignnavaldiplomacy.”
Rescuers take part in disaster-relief exercises during Fuerzas Aliadas
Humanitarias 2019 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 14, 2019.
photo: Miguel Ruiz
Self-Defense Force, and the Royal Navy, highlighting the goodwill of these nations and further representing the potential of HADR diplomacy. Consequently, HADR operations have created an opportunity for navies to pursue the goal of mutual collaboration in the concept of benign naval diplomacy beyond coercion.
There are debates over the return of gunboat diplomacy in Asia Pacific region since there are long-running territorial dispute among countries in the region, and the fact there has been a marked increase in military modernization, budgeting, and the size of Asian fleets compared to the lackluster growth of Western navies. However, analyst Christian Le Mière has argued that the military build-up has not been accompanied by an increase in the frequency of conflict.
In fact, despite the underlying mistrust, interstate relations in East Asia have remained relatively peaceful for the past three decades, which suggests that many countries have prioritized stable relations in an attempt to avoid conflict while using gunboat policy to serve as an approach to signal displeasure without actually committing to open conflict.
Efforts have been made by the global community to avoid wars, having learned the lessons of history. One significant development in the 20th century regarding an attempt to resolve disputes by peaceful means is the use of force under the UN Charter: In this regard, bilateral or multilateral cooperation between state actors became a common strategy in terms of international issues. The guiding principles of the conduct for international disaster relief operations were mainly based on UN resolution 46/182 in 1991, followed by the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief in 1994. The resolution also resulted in the creation of OCHA, which plays a crucial role in coordinating and mobilizing urgent humanitar-
Disaster Diplomacy b 23
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ian response as well as guiding policy and practice. The current disaster relief experiences learned from numerous natural catastrophes among governments and NGOs have gradually laid the foundation for current international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
Maritime warfare exercises
The important role of HADR can also be seen in several annual or biannual military exercises held by the US Navy. The Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), one of the largest international maritime warfare exercises in the world, covers a broad range of naval skills including surface, undersea, air and amphibious warfare. It now also includes drills designed for non-traditional threats such as search and rescue, public affairs, military medicine, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response.
Moreover, the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise is an annual series of bilateral military exercises conducted by the US Pacific Fleet with several member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). CARAT puts a strong emphasis on non-traditional threats, and
HADR is one of the core operations aimed at enhancing trust between members and making it a means of promoting stability in the region, thereby benefiting all participating nations.
Clearly, the long-term territorial dispute across the Taiwan Strait, in combination with the PRC’s grow-
Members take part in a table top exercise during the 2017 South Asia Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
photo: Corey Ray
“Taiwan has already built an excellent reputation for civilian assistance in overseas disaster relief events, which includes voluntary medical assistance teams.”
ing economic might and military modernization, is undermining Taiwan’s diplomatic links with the rest of the globe. The geographical vulnerability to natural disasters in the Asia Pacific makes matters worse in Taiwan. Both traditional and nontraditional threats expose the ROC to risks to its national interests and security, and may further jeopardize the very survival of this democratic nation.
If trends continue to veer away from coercive and deterrent approaches, and turn more towards collaboration in international issues, there will be an opportunity for Taiwan to take advantage of this tendency toward regional cooperation. Taiwan must take advantage of the situation and develop ways in which it can proactively engage with the international community, and survive the diplomatic isolation imposed by the PRC.
As Taiwan has already built an excellent reputation for civilian assistance in overseas disaster relief events, which includes voluntary medical assistance teams and excellent work by Taiwanese charities in the private sector like the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, it is time for the ROC government to deliberate on how Taiwan can use humanitarian aid to achieve its goal of forging stronger links with other naval powers in Asia and beyond. In essence: how we can use naval humanitarian aid as a diplomatic tool?
According to Patalano, Japan, as a maritime country, has utilized its naval assets to defend its national security for a long time, and is currently a regional power that successfully regards HADR as a tool for naval diplomacy in Asia. The difference is the transition from a coercive use of the navy to benign utilization toward the common good in Asia Pacific after the 1970s. Although the ROC’s situation is different from that of Japan, it is worthwhile for authorities
in Taiwan to look at Japan as a role model and to reexamine their national security strategy in order to better pursue the national interests of Taiwan, especially since both Taiwan and Japan are maritime nations that face threats from a rising China and which are heavily reliant on the sea lines of communication remaining freely navigable.
Growing concerns in the transition of security concepts poses challenges for Asian countries like Taiwan. Nonetheless, there are also opportunities for the ROC to take advantage of this global transition by utilizing its naval assets in collaboration with other navy powers in international HADR operations to further strengthen bonds and trust. In so doing, Taiwan can adapt to the new security condition, enhance its international profile, and hopefully break out of its diplomatic dilemma.
There are a few steps that Taipei could consider in order to move Taiwan toward humanitarian diplomacy. First, it will be necessary to reexamine the ROC’s naval capabilities. Personnel training and proficiency and navy assets should be taken into consideration, which will further influence the plan of personnel training programs and military acquisitions. Second, it is crucial to earn trust from the PRC in order to further build relations with other navy powers. HADR-related military cooperation should be added to current non-military HADR cooperation programs. Finally, military-civilian communication and experience-sharing are also beneficial for Taiwan to strengthen its disaster-relief capabilities, both domestically and internationally.
In sum, with security concerns rising due to the uncertainty of the occurrence of natural disasters, it is time for Asian countries to work together to deal with the challenges facing every country. Taiwan, should not sit idle. Rather, it must commit itself to displaying goodwill, assuming more regional responsibilities for HADR, and carving out a role for itself as a trusted security provider in the region. n
Disaster Diplomacy b 25
KMT should insist on strategic focus toward United States and China
Recently, a series of policy changes by the governments of the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have forced the Kuomintang (KMT) to establish new policies toward those nations. During the administration of former President Ma Yong-jeou, the KMT claimed that the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan should maintain good relations with the PRC, Japan, and the United States at the same time. At that time, the relationship between these countries was relatively harmonious. However, for the United States, the PRC’s comprehensive national power is threatening America’s leadership position in the world. According to the Worldwide Threat Assessment of
the US Intelligence Community in 2019, competition with the PRC has become an ideological battle. US President Donald Trump has launched a trade war with the PRC, and is asking America’s allies to pick sides. For the PRC, besides responding to a series of challenges from the United States, the call to pursue unification with Taiwan is growing apace with the rising tide of Chinese nationalism.
According to the strategic triangle theory, players in triangular relationships will notice each other’s policies and their acts will cause a domino effect. What are Washington and Beijing’s new policies toward the ROC? As a possible ruling party, Should the KMT orient its new policies toward the US or
firstname.lastname@example.org 26 b Strategic Vision vol. 8, no. 41 (April, 2019)
Charles Yang is a graduate of National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of National Development. He specializes in the political-economic development of China. He can be reached at
photo: ROC Gov
Whereas the DPP prioritizes the relationship with Washington, the KMT has endeavored to smooth relations with the PRC.
PRC? What is the best course of action for the KMT? This article will analyze current US and PRC policies toward the ROC. Second, the KMT should insist on peaceful policies toward the two countries. Therefore, the KMT should appoint a delegate to the US, support the spirit of free trade, and help the Taiwanese people understand that the KMT’s policies increase their right to choose.
According to the Worldwide Threat Assessment in 2019, the US believes that the PRC is seeking to assert China’s model of authoritarian capitalism as an alternative development path abroad, exacerbating great-power competition that could threaten international support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. It is not only about economics, but also a complete challenge to the US. The US has taken several steps to contain the PRC, and it is asking its allies to pick sides. For example, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cautioned allies in central Europe that deploying equipment made by Chinese telecom giant Huawei would make it more difficult for Washington “to partner alongside them.” He has called on US allies to exclude PRC vendors on national security grounds.
For Taiwan, the US government has sought to strengthen relations with several measures. These include the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, the Taiwan Travel Act, and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018. The real impact of these initiatives may only become clear after several years. After all, many things should have been done under the Taiwan Relations
Act and the Six Assurances. The best effect of those acts until now is reminding the PRC that the US can play the Taiwan card.
In response to the US, the PRC has responded with a new bundle of carrots and sticks for Taiwan. Since 2016, Beijing has persuaded six of the ROC’s 23 diplomatic partners, most recently Burkina Faso and El Salvador, to switch recognition to the PRC. In addition, the “31 incentives” were officially announced by the PRC’s Taiwan Affairs Office, and they have been put into practice in many provinces and cities. In 2019, China’s President Xi Jinping delivered a speech to commemorate the 40th anniversary of issuing Message to Compatriots in Taiwan. In this speech, Xi talked about the relationship between national unification and the Chinese dream of rejuvenation. It shows Xi’s new sense of urgency for unification, despite there being no clear timetable. Another point is that Xi proposed that China and Taiwan conduct democratic consultation on cross-strait relations and the future of the nation, and establish an institutional arrangement for peaceful development of cross-strait relations. Political parties and all sectors on both sides of the Taiwan Strait may recommend representatives to conduct extensive, in-depth democratic consultation on the basis of the common
KMT’s Trilateral Policy b 27
photo: US Gov US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
political foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing Taiwan independence.
KMT leaders have expressed different reactions in response to these new developments. According to KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih, who was interviewed by Voice of America on 24 January, 2019, there is no such thing as pro-US or pro-China for the KMT. Rather, the KMT’s policy is to be “amicable to Beijing, friendly to Tokyo and close to the US,” while at the same time seeking to establish friendship with South Korea and European nations. Another KMT leader, Wang Jin-pyng, claimed on 15 January, 2019, that “there is no 92 Consensus.” His latest opinion is that the 92 Consensus can give the PRC “face” and give Taiwan “ambiguous space” to maneuver. Eric Chu, the mayor of New Taipei, has not showed his hand on this issue yet. When he visited the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University in February, he said his position on the trade war between the United States and the PRC is that Taiwan will cooperate with the two countries and establish a more responsible and sustainable economic order with them.
A big challenge for Taiwan is that China is the biggest
market in the world, and Taiwan’s economic performance is not good. At the same time, China is too close and its government claims sovereignty over Taiwan. On the other hand, the United States is not powerful, and it does not emphasize its global interests to the degree that it did in the Cold War. In addition, in negotiations between Seoul and Washington on sharing defense costs, the United States asked that South Korea shoulder more of the cost of maintaining American bases on their soil. This suggests that Taiwan needs higher military expenditures. It is not easy for Taiwan to choose a position. However, when Chinese nationalism rears its head in the PRC, and the United States asks its allies to pick sides, it becomes that much harder for Taiwan to maintain old policies.
Influence of Chinese nationalism
The position of the DPP is clear and consistent: it always leans toward the United States. This decision ignores the interests of China-based Taiwanese businessmen, and the influence of Chinese nationalism. In addition, it is doubtful that markets in
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Student leaders of the Legislative Yuan occupation agreed to leave after the KMT promised to enact a new law to monitor trade deals with China.
photo: Artemas Liu
Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and India— which are included by the Tsai administration’s New Southbound Policy—can replace China’s.
In view of recent developments, the pivot position is Taiwan’s best option in the strategic triangle theory. It is unnecessary for Taiwan to pursue the wing position. Cross-Strait relations are a special relationship, even if the hardest DPP leaders who support Taiwan independence cannot admit it. For example, Taiwanese statesman and independence activist Koo Kwang-ming once claimed that the relationship between Taiwan and China should be a “brotherly-like” relationship. The ROC should show concern for the feelings of Chinese citizens.
There are several things that the KMT, which supports the 92 Consensus and hopes to be a pivot, can do. First, the KMT should appoint a delegate to the United States. This would show the degree to which the party emphasizes the US relationship. Second, the KMT should support the legal rights of any company in international trade, including PRC vendors such as Huawei. Taiwan should protect its own important companies, such as Taiwan Semiconductor
Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Largan Precision Co., Ltd., and LandMark Optoelectronics Corp., which do business with companies from numerous countries. Third, do not mention policies which balance the influence of the United States, the PRC, and Japan at the same time any more. Balancing or bandwagoning is a policy dichotomy that fails to capture the nuances in the trilateral relationship. For example, the ROC welcomes any friendly policies from any country, but it will not compromise on sovereignty issues for any peaceful reason. In the East and South China seas, the ROC would not also seek any country to balance the influence of the PRC and Japan.
Last but not least, the KMT should help the Taiwanese people to understand that the KMT’s policies increase their right to choose in the future. The DPP’s policies, which lean toward the United States, actually limit Taiwan’s options. This is not only an interest issue, but also about subjectivity. After the Sunflower Movement, subjectivity has become the main pursuit of Taiwanese young people. Policies which limit options are not a policy which can pursue subjectivity. n
KMT’s Trilateral Policy b 29
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd’s Fab 5 building in Hsinchu Science Park. Many of Taiwan’s firms are heavily invested in China.
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