TOC Global Taiwan Brief, Vol. 7, Issue 18 (2022)

Adrienne Wu's picture

(This issue was originally published on the Global Taiwan Institute's website and the full articles are available at:

Editor's Column
KMT Vice Chairman’s PRC Tour Highlights Party’s Difficult Balancing Act

By: Russell Hsiao

In August, Andrew Hsia (夏立言), the vice chairman of Taiwan’s largest opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT, 國民黨), made a controversial tour of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Over a period of 17 days from August 10 to 27 (10 days were reportedly spent in quarantine in Xiamen), the second-highest ranking KMT leader traveled to the Chinese cities of Xiamen, Fujian, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Kunshan, and Shanghai for what was billed as a “Care and Listening Tour“ (關懷聆聽之旅). Such a visit by a senior KMT leader to the PRC would normally not garner a great deal of local news coverage, as former KMT heavyweights frequently visit China. Yet, this visit in particular raised eyebrows and generated international attention. This is perhaps unsurprising given the extraordinarily tense circumstances surrounding the timing of the trip, which came at a particularly sensitive time in cross-Strait relations: at the time that the trip’s itinerary was leaked, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was still conducting military exercises in close proximity to Taiwan, raising tensions in the Taiwan Strait to arguably the highest peak in 25 years.  

Past Patterns and Present Provocations: China’s Electoral Interference in Taiwan’s Local Elections
By: Edward Barss

On October 4, 2007, the director of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO, 國務院台灣事務辦公室) warned Taiwan that “those who play with fire will get burnt” over the issue of holding a referendum on whether Taiwan should join the United Nations under its own name. Now, almost fifteen years later, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) has issued the same threat to President Biden over Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan. The CCP’s predilection for threatening foreign politicians for “interfering” in Taiwan affairs goes hand-in-hand with CCP claims of exclusive control over Taiwan’s domestic politics. Much of Taiwan’s strength on the world stage is derived from its robust democracy, but China’s demarches and manipulations over the years have significantly harmed Taiwan’s electoral processes. As a new round of local elections set to be held on November 26 draws near, a critical examination of the CCP’s past attempts to subvert Taiwan’s local elections becomes more relevant for determining Beijing’s strategy.
An Overview of Chinese Military Activity Near Taiwan in Early August 2022, Part 2: Aviation Activity, and Naval and Ground Force Exercises
By: John Dotson

In an approximately seven-day period straddling the first and second weeks of August, People’s Republic of China (PRC) military forces conducted a series of military exercises around Taiwan in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. As discussed in the first article of this series, the PRC announced a ring of closure areas around Taiwan for military activities, and conducted a series of provocative ballistic missile launches on the afternoon of August 3—including at least four missiles that flew over the northern territory of Taiwan itself. This second article examines the publicly available information about the operations of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during this same period in other warfare domains: air, naval, and ground. 
Americans Who Are Familiar with Taiwan Tend to Be More Supportive of Taiwan
By: Eric Lee

With Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan at the beginning of August, and subsequent Chinese military activities, Taiwan has been yet again thrust into news headlines across America. At the same time, there have been increasing numbers of public opinion polls conducted in recent years on US sentiments toward Taiwan. Political elites and scholars frequently opine in print and broadcast media about issues pertaining to Taiwan—but what does the American public think about Taiwan, and what do they believe the United States should do in regards to Taiwan policy?
The PLA Air Force Erases the Taiwan Strait Centerline
By: Thomas Shattuck

In response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s early August 2022 visit to Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) carried out an unprecedented military and economic response to punish Taipei. Much analysis has already covered the live-fire missile tests conducted around (and over) Taiwan, as well as the joint military exercises that accompanied them. (For further discussion of the latter, see “An Overview of Chinese Military Activity Near Taiwan in Early August 2022, Part 2: Aviation Activity, and Naval and Ground Force Exercises” by John Dotson, elsewhere in this issue.) Before these exercises, Beijing often expressed its displeasure about a Taiwan policy issue by sending military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Starting in September 2020, in response to then-Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach’s visit to Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began conducting regular sorties into Taiwan’s ADIZ. From September 2020 to July 2022, the focus of these incursions was the southwestern portion of the ADIZ, primarily between southern Taiwan and Taiwan-occupied Pratas/Dongsha Island (東沙島) in the South China Sea. Since Pelosi’s visit in early August, Beijing has initiated a new phase in its military pressure campaign against Taipei. This new phase has focused on near-daily Taiwan Strait centerline crossings, with less of an emphasis on the southwestern ADIZ area.

* 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.

If you are interested in publishing with GTI, please send your CV and a writing sample to

To receive all our updates directly in your inbox, you can subscribe here: