TOC Global Taiwan Brief, Vol. 7, Issue 10 (2022)
(This issue was originally published on the Global Taiwan Institute's website and the full articles are available at: https://globaltaiwan.org/2022/05/vol-7-issue-10/)
KMT Chairman Faces Headwinds from Unification Wing as He Prepares to Visit Washington
By: Russell Hsiao
With his support rating hovering in the low single digits in some opinion polls to become the country’s next president, the embattled chairman of Taiwan’s Kuomintang (KMT, 國民黨) Eric Chu (朱立倫) is planning a long-awaited and important visit to the United States. Starting on June 1 and lasting 12 days, Chu’s visit will include several cities in the United States and is intended to formally relaunch the party’s office in Washington, DC, as well as to assure US policymakers, and rally expatriates in the United States to support the KMT. Issues that will undoubtedly be on the table in discussions with US policymakers in Washington are the KMT’s approach to cross-Strait relations, its defense policy, and its ability to maintain cross-Strait peace in an era of increased tension. The new chairman is facing challenging political headwinds internally as he tries to sell his pitch to Washington: in addition to his low support rating, significant differences between factions within the Party on its approach to cross-Strait relations and with the United States—differences that emerged during the KMT chairmanship primary—show no sign of abating. Whether the chairman is able to maintain his grip on power will be a determining factor as to whether he can successfully implement his preferred policy approaches.
China’s Missteps Open Up New Avenues for Taiwan’s Values-Based Trade in Europe
By: Eric Chan
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is “one of the worst strategic decisions any leader of a powerful country has made in decades,” stated American political scientist Ian Bremmer. Yet, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not alone in his demonstration of poor strategic decision-making. Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) has also demonstrated remarkably poor judgment through his inflexible backing for Putin’s “special military operation.” In this article, I will discuss why Xi has supported Putin’s invasion, as well as the long-term implications of this support for People’s Republic of China (PRC) relations with Europe. Given Xi’s ideological commitment to supporting Putin—combined with the CCP’s draconian zero-COVID policies—Taiwan has an opening to wage a wider diplomatic-economic offensive under the concept of values-based trade.
The Implications of Delivery Delays in Purchased Arms for Taiwan’s Defense Planning
By: John Dotson
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, the Ukrainian defense effort has made extensive use of hand-held anti-aircraft missiles (man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS) and anti-tank missiles (ATMs) to offset the Russian numerical superiority in armored vehicles and aircraft. Sales and training for these systems began long before the war: for example, the United States approved sales to Ukraine in March 2018 and October 2019 for a total of 360 FGM-148 Javelin ATMs and associated Javelin Command Launch Units (CLUs). The pace of ATM delivery has ratcheted up dramatically since the onset of hostilities: based on US government figures from early April, the United States at that point had provided Ukraine’s armed forces with 5,000 Javelin and 7,000 other anti-armor weapons systems, not including the significant commitments also made by other NATO member nations.
Defending Taiwan is About More Than Weapons
By: Lt. Gen. (USMC, ret.) Wallace “Chip” Gregson
“Will the United States defend Taiwan?” is a favorite question posed by inquiring reporters and commentators. It is a very good way to force government officials to answer a complex question with a one-line answer. It goes to one of our vulnerabilities: there is no easy or quick answer that will satisfy our own people and our allies. President Biden confronted this question last October, and answered—correctly in my view—that the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if it was invaded by China.
Lawfare, Outer Space, Cyber Warfare, and ROC Vulnerabilities
By: Guermantes Lailari and Michael J. Listner
Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China, or ROC) occupies a prominent position on the geopolitical stage given its contested status as a sovereign nation. In turn, this unsettled status could portend military action by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Much attention has been focused on strategic threats in the context of kinetic action by the PRC in the Taiwan Strait. Yet, when considering these potential actions, strategists tend to focus on hard military power when evaluating potential threats, and to discount asymmetric approaches. This article will examine potential asymmetric means the PRC might use to achieve its goals, and illustrate such means with the ideas contained in Unrestricted Warfare (超限戰)—a 1999 analysis written by two People’s Liberation Army (PLA) colonels, which advocated a strategy of waging war stealthily against an adversary.
New EU Parliament Report Reflects Changing EU Messaging on Taiwan
By: Marshall Reid
On April 4, 2022, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted a new report on the European Union’s approach to security challenges in the Indo-Pacific. While it must be noted that the report has not yet been approved by a full European Parliament vote, it remains notable for its more direct, forthright language focused on Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  Describing the island democracy as “a key partner and democratic ally,” the report details a range of potential avenues for expanding EU-Taiwan cooperation, while also criticizing the PRC for its “increasingly assertive and expansionist behaviour.” For an institution that was once reluctant to even mention Taiwan by name, this language represents a remarkable shift in messaging. Given recent developments in the EU-China relationship—as well as mounting global fears of the threats posed by authoritarianism—this new report could potentially signal broader EU support for Taiwan.
* The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Global Taiwan Institute.
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