BY MONTE R. BULLARD | BLOG PIECE
EDITED BY TOM MARKS
This blog piece examines the recent protests in Hong Kong and, in contrast to conventional wisdom, contends that the best way the Chinese government could pacify the protestors is to denounce publicly the extradition law withdrawal while making clear that it has no intentions to change the status quo.
BY MONTE R. BULLARD | BLOG PIECE
The blog piece examines China's proposal to pass an extradition law in Hong Kong that would allow for the first time extradition to mainland China. It examines the primary driver of the China leaders' proposed extradition law, the potential implications for the "one country, two systems" formula, as well as the overall goal of the Chinese leaders.
BY MONTE R. BULLARD | IN-DEPTH PIECE
In general, experts tend to perceive that a rising China poses a threat to international peace and security. Some experts state the threat comes from expansionism, while others assert the threat comes from China’s easy lending to developing nations around the world, which, now, because of China’s loan policies, face potential debt crises. According to many experts, both threats pose an imminent threat to U.S. national interests. In this article, we examine the Chinese threat of expansionism, which is perceived as one of China’s strategies to attain its ultimate foreign policy goals of taking over the world. However, we disavow the mainstream narrative that Chinese expansionism poses a threat to international peace and stability. We contend that the experts’ focus on Chinese expansionism as a threat to peace and security in neighboring areas such as the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, as well as farther afield, is a red herring, because China’s overall strategy is not territorial expansion. In this series, we aim to refute these types of China threat theories in order to identify more likely Chinese international aspirations that pose a challenge to the current U.S.-led world order. China’s strategy, in fact, can be found in the advancement of legal, cultural, political, and, in particular, economic relationships, that drive China’s foreign policy goals and are clearly inimical to some U.S. national interests. These different aspirations will be examined in future blogs while this article focuses on expansion threat theory.
BY EDWARD J. BARSS | IN-DEPTH PIECE
The continued passage of Chinese warships into Japan’s contiguous zone off the coast of the Diaoyu/Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands provide a sharp reminder of the risks of escalation over disputes in the East China Sea. The incident highlights the failure of China and Japan to include the area around the Islands as part of their East China Sea crisis communication mechanism. The Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, and Japan but are administered only by Japan. The inability of Japan and China to manage the dispute creates a situation where a military or political incident could easily escalate into crisis. Authoritative actors on all sides of the dispute share this view. Similarly, Japan’s Ministry of Defense views China’s actions as unilaterally escalating the situation in the East China Sea through force, creating serious concerns. While US commentators see the situation as perilous and view Chinese actions in the South China Sea as a precursor for the East China Sea. These views further suggest that a military or political incident involving the Pinnacle Islands is a matter of when, not if. The risk then for a crisis over the Islands is high in long term, as the dispute is being mismanaged due to an inability to legalize the dispute resolution process, the high number of naval/air patrols, poor bargaining tactics, and a widening of the dispute parameters. Further, there is a serious risk that negative public opinion in Japan and China and heavy handed tactics are moving the dispute from one that can be resolved through negotiation to a dispute that is perceived as winnable through force. This article intends to show that: 1) the risk of a new diplomatic or military incident over the Islands is high, 2) that the consequence of such an incident is likely further retrenchment and antagonism, and 3) that such antagonism is a precursor for actual conflict and greater escalation rather than returning to the current status quo.
BY MONTE R. BULLARD | IN-DEPTH PIECE
American Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOP) policy in the South China Sea, sometimes focused on the Spratly Islands (Nansha) and Paracel Islands (Xisha) within the South China Sea, is clearly based on incomplete information. A review of official reports, like the America First National Security Strategy (AFNSS) and the Defense Department’s Annual Report to Congress 2018 on China’s Military Power, indicates that the government writers and reviewers of these documents when describing whether China is a strategic threat or a strong economic competitor almost always come to the conclusion or just assumed that China is a threat. We note that even the Harvard Belfer Center paints China as a threat as do two excellent articles in the Winter 2018 edition of the Naval War College Review. We have already written one blog that offers a critique of the AFNSS. This blog is to point out weaknesses in some official and academic reports.
ADAM NI, BATES GILL | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
The article examines the creation of China's new missile force, the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF), which was part of a major reform aiming to improve the PLA's joint operations, command and control, as well as combat effectiveness. It specifically analyzes the rationale for the PLARF's creation, its mission, and the challenges faced by it such as acquiring more advanced missile technologies. Indeed, China's expanding missile capabilities give the military more options in planning for regional scenarios involving Taiwan, the East and South China Seas, and the Korean Peninsula.
PHILIP HSU | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
China might increasingly resort to cyber attacks against Taiwan to compel the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to say publicly the phrase "1992 Consensus", which would signal its commitment to reunification / unification under the Chinese interpretation of "one China" namely the "One China Principle". This article examines the recent efforts taken by the Taiwanese ruling authorities to promote cyber security as a national security issue. The aims is to bolster "indigenous cybersecurity innovation", to link the cybersecurity industry with its military, and to strengthen "the capabilities of Taiwan’s military cyber forces" in order to prevent or mitigate future cyber attacks by China.
BY RUSSELL HSIAO | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
China has significantly ramped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was democratically-elected as the country’s president in January 2016. As Beijing’s external pressure on Taiwan grows, pressure for action is building on the Tsai administration, both from the opposition as well as from within her own party. The confluence of these factors will make it harder for the Tsai administration to sustain her administration’s pragmatic efforts to maintain the “status quo” in cross-Strait relations without greater international support.
BY JUDITH NORTON | IN-DEPTH PIECE
The Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the U.S. House of Representatives on Foreign Affairs held a hearing titled “Reinforcing the U.S.-Taiwan Relationship”. U.S. Representatives and several expert witnesses discussed the current geopolitical situation facing Taiwan. The expert witnesses included Mark Stokes, the Executive Director of the Project 2049 Institute, Julian Ku, a Professor of Constitutional Law at the Maurice A. Dean School of Law, and Tiffany Ma, Senior Director of Bower Group Asia. The expert witnesses’ statements were incisive but contained a few misrepresentations of important concepts that, without clarification, could negatively affect U.S. policy going forward. This article points out and clarifies a few of the errors made in the statements. Part I addresses a few puzzling statements in the testimony of Mark Stokes.
BY EDWARD J. BARSS | PRESS ITEM
Following the failure of China and the US to resolve trade and other issues earlier last year, the Trump administration launched a Section 301 investigation into Chinese Intellectual Property practices, which is the genesis for the proposed $50 Billion in US trade sanctions on Chinese goods. The Chinese government, in response to US limits on Chinese steel and aluminum, has levied $3 Billion in tariffs aimed at agricultural products. The underlying issue for both countries, outside of undermining the WTO or the economic damage a trade war will cause, is the inability to reach a negotiated settlement. Lost in the storm and stress of a trade war between the US and China, there are significant implications for countries in Asia. Furthermore, Taiwan could be affected the most.
BY THE INITIATIVE | INTERVIEW
Arthur Ding is a Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan. His research focuses on China’s security policy, national defense policy, arms control and non-proliferation policy, and the international relations of East Asia.
Professor Ding spoke to The Initiative in April 2018. In his interview, he discussed the reforms taking place in China and their implications for China, Taiwan, and the U.S.
BY JUDITH NORTON | PRESS ITEM
Recently, the newly inaugurated Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) encouraged the Taiwanese public to focus less on the “so-called” “1992 Consensus” that served as the framework for cross-strait relations during the Ma Ying-jeou administration and to focus more on certain laws as the framework for cross-strait ties. His statement is not a major shift in the Tsai administration’s position on the 1992 Consensus. But it highlights the direction of the administration’s cross-strait policies, which aim to continue to move away from the established concepts that represent China’s “One China Principle” and toward concepts that, at the very least, present Taiwan as not a part of the ‘one China’ political formula but as a separate entity. His statement indicates the 1992 Consensus remains a major battleground in the cross-strait relationship.
BY CHONG-PIN LIN PHD | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
As the United States hedges against a potential military confrontation with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Beijing has opted to circumvent Washington’s preparations by adopting a grand strategy that utilizes “extra-military instruments” to gradually diminish the preponderant influence of the United States. These instruments—economic aid, cultural contributions, legal compulsion and diplomatic coercion—transcend, but certainly do not exclude the use of military force. Even though Chong-pin Lin wrote the article in 2007, it remains salient today.
BY JUDITH NORTON AND EDWARD J. BARSS | TRANSLATION (UPDATE: MAY 24, 2018)
The EAPASI provides a translation of the official Chinese document titled "Some Measures for Promoting Cross-Strait Economic and Cultural Exchange Cooperation". The PRC passed the measures in order to attract Taiwanese businesses, professionals, and students to invest in, to relocate to, and to study on the mainland. The incentives bypass the Tsai administration, which, in response to the 31 Measures, implemented a counter-measure called the "Four Directions and Eight Strategies". It appears however that the PRC originally introduced the 31 Preferential Policies during the Fifth Straits Forum in southeast China's Xiamen in 2013 and, now, in 2018, aims to actively implement them.
BY LAWRENCE J. LAU, PHD | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
Lawrence J. Lau says the removal of the term limits on the office of China’s president would seem to signal Xi Jinping’s resolve to continue his anti-corruption campaign and economic reform agenda, while pre-empting any challenge to his power.
BY EDWARD J. BARSS AND MONTE R. BULLARD | BOOK REVIEW
In War by Other Means, Robert Blackwill and Jennifer Harris argue that geoeconomic warfare requires a new vision of U.S. statecraft.
BY CHELSEA CHIA-CHEN CHOU, PHD | IN-DEPTH PIECE
This in-depth piece analyzes the political controversy of recognition affecting the cross-strait relationship. Specifically, the PRC refuses to recognize Taiwan's national title, namely the Republic of China, as well as the legitimate jurisdiction of the Republic of China, which the majority of Taiwanese people consistently support. Accordingly, if the PRC refuses to recognize the ROC and its jurisdiction, there could be little room for Taiwan’s government – represented by either the KMT or the DPP – to start any serious dialogue on political issues with the PRC.
BY JUDITH NORTON | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
President Donald Trump’s administration and the US Congress have released major documents and passed key pieces of legislation over the course of time that signal the potential for a shift in the U.S.’s “One China Policy” which has framed US-China-Taiwan relations for decades.
BY JUDITH NORTON | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
Dennis P. Halpin’s recent article contending that China is altering the status quo in the cross-strait relationship misses the mark. My research shows there are three definitions of the status quo concept: the 1992 “consensus” status quo; the “dynamic” status quo; and the “parallel movement” status quo and, consequently, there are four status quo policies. Based upon these different definitions and policies, China is not changing the cross-strait status quo; rather it is actively enforcing its interpretation.
BY JUDITH NORTON | PRESS ITEM
The U.S. government continues to remove the Republic of China (ROC Taiwan) flag from government websites. This time, both the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of State asserted that there are no changes to U.S.-Taiwan relations while both sides reaffirmed ties. But the removal of the flag is puzzling because there are different flags representing the ROC and Taiwan. The U.S. government's removal of the flag tends to send different signals to Taiwan's KMT, Taiwan's DPP, and the PRC, all of which could interpret the removal differently; however trivial the removal may appear, it could prove detrimental to the evolving U.S.-China-Taiwan dynamic in subtle ways.