Taiwan: to mid-February 2018
The Taiwan-China issue remains vibrant and ongoing. There is near-daily comment in the newspapers about the ongoing situation: China asserting pressures and Taiwan attempting to retain its independence (whilst not actually declaring independence). The situation is fraught with tension and the debate is definitely ‘hotting up’ as China is placed in a more prominent position by others. Nevertheless, the elements of commentary are broad and perhaps the most damaging for Taiwan consists of Britain wanting to enter a new ‘golden age’ with China. Front page: May meets with Xi as she seeks China trade post-EU.
Comment: The sign to Taiwan is clear: Britain sees China as an economically viable partner. This will without doubt, impact upon Taiwan’s status in terms of each time China makes a gain such as this, it creates additional problems for its international standing. (Toward a new UK-PRC ‘golden age’)
The ‘values’ argument continues, with Taiwan values being different than that of China’s and is premised on democracy, and freedom of speech and shared community being unique to Taiwan and not so for the PRC (Taiwanese values mean ‘not PRC’s’).
China has also increased it economic presence by proposing a new ‘Silk Road’ through the Arctic and PLAN ships passed through Japanese territorial waters off the Tokara Islands which China argues was the Osumi Strait (China sees new Silk Road in the Arctic).
Australia gets a mention: China criticizes Australia for being ‘anti-China’ (Chinese infiltration not unnoticed).
China exercises ‘sharp power,’ which is the ability to manipulate or intimidate another nation’ (Ad displays China’s ‘sharp power,’ and just below on pate 8, ‘China’s new approach on Taiwan,’ which discusses China’s desire for unification to take place by at the very latest, 2049—the 100 year anniversary of the PRC (China’ new approach on Taiwan).
‘China should be wary of Trump,’ which essentially argues that because Trump is impressed by the size and cost of things, Trump is likely to go up against China only in order to get a better deal for the US, and if that entails abandoning Taiwan he will do so.
‘Taiwan confronts its darkest hour.’ This article deals with the way in which China is seeking to increase military pressure on Taiwan whilst also encouraging Taiwanese business to invest in China. The article argues these people will become pawns in the economic stranglehold that will play out in favour of China; and to the detriment of Taiwan.
‘Taiwanese find opportunity, risk in China,’ is an article about the incentives China is offering Taiwanese in the form of start-ups and other financial incentives, as Taiwan’s economy stagnates and the offer of incentives is not as great. The possible effects on Taiwanese in terms of whether it influences them in favour of China is also discussed.
In a more globalised sense ‘Crack between the US and Europe over China widens,’ as Europe grapples with the way in which it should approach China and peace in the Asia-Pacific region, and not surprisingly how Trump has impacted on the relationship. The article is especially focused on the retreat (contrary to what the White House says) of the US in the region.
The list of way in which Taiwan can defend itself is lauded in ‘So you think China can win,’ and more importantly deals with what will happen to the PRC government if the US does come to the aid of Taiwan. It also deals with the problems on mainland China which deal with border disputes and the way in which constant disputes sap personnel and this will work against any invasion or restriction plans.
Eleven major articles in about 15 days sums up the concern.
Source: Taipei Times
Commentary: The above show how intense the Taiwan-China situation actually is, and remains; and offers an understanding that it is spreading beyond the Asia-Pacific and into Europe which has essentially, not been a military player to date, in the region to any great extent. This will probably change though as China continues to flex its strategic-muscle in the ‘One road, One belt,’ initiative; and its economic prowess continues to influence. France and India have begun to show some additional interest in Taiwan, India in particular has conducted strategic manoeuvrings with its navy recently; and is acutely aware that the more power China gains the more ‘catching up’ that India has to do. With the UK making sure to be amicable with China is no doubt a huge worry for Taiwan as its approach will inevitably give China more credence in its dealings with the UK and whilst it is premised on Britain attempting to turn a ‘hard Brexit’ into a ‘softer one—and of PM May attempting to shore-up her shambolic government—the very fact that she has made the journey must somewhere in the future weaken Taiwan’s influence in Britain. Of particular worry, in the press it seems, is that Taiwanese that move to China, will be merged into being ‘Chinese’ rather than being ‘Taiwanese,’ and this seems to be an overarching worry to the government of Taiwan.