TOC Global Taiwan Brief - Vol. 6, Issue 7 (2021)

Russell Hsiao's picture

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

Fault Line Widens between KMT and CCP over the "1992 Consensus"
By: Russell Hsiao

Three months away from the chairmanship election of the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT, 國民黨), Taiwan’s main opposition party, current leader Johnny Chiang (江啟臣, b. 1972) has placed his long anticipated personal stamp on the Party’s formula for cross-Strait policy. Labeling the new formula as the “1992 Consensus Plus” (九二共識Plus), the formulation appears to be an extension of the “1992 Consensus,” the KMT’s long-standing stance on the relationship between Taiwan and China based on the tacit understanding reached between the then-ruling Nationalist Party and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1992. [1] Pouring cold water on the new formula, the spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) State Council, Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮), reportedly retorted: “the core of the ‘1992 Consensus’ that both sides of the strait belong to ‘one China’ and work together to seek national reunification [sic] cannot be blurred and changed.” “Any approach that highlights differences is not conducive to maintaining consensus,” Zhu added.

Escalating Clarity without Fighting: Countering "Gray Zone" Warfare against Taiwan (Part 1)
By: Eric Chan

The recent conclusion of the PRC’s annual “Two Sessions” (兩會) of the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference (CPPCC, 中國人民政治協商會議) and the National People’s Congress (NPC, 全國人民代表大會) has resulted in some uncertainty on the part of Western China-watchers regarding People’s Republic of China (PRC) Taiwan policy intentions for the coming year. While top-level leadership statements from the “Two Sessions” seem to indicate that the focus over the next year will be the implementation of the Hong Kong “electoral reform,” lower-level official commentary and media discussions have also made clear that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rejects Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) January 2021 olive branch for the “joint promotion of meaningful dialogue.” 

Can Taiwan-Pakistan Relations Finally Take Off?
By: I-wei Jennifer Chang

Last fall, an Indian newspaper suggested that China’s steadfast ally Pakistan was secretly promoting trade ties with Taiwan. In a Twitter post from September 3, 2020, which has since been deleted, Sidrah Haque, trade and investment attaché at the Embassy of Pakistan in Egypt, posted a picture taken with Michael Yeh (葉人誠), director of the Taiwan Trade Center in Cairo (開羅台灣貿易中心), an overseas office of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (中華民國對外貿易發展協會, TAITRA). In an accompanying tweet, Haque stated: “Met with Mr. Michael Yeh, a veteran commercial officer from Taiwan Trade Center. We spoke of Pakistan-Taiwan trade ties, our shared commercial experience in Cairo and major products of interest in the local market. Always feels good to connect with other trade wings and compare notes.” Although Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP, 新南向政策) aims to expand economic and people-to-people exchanges with 18 countries including those in the South Asian region, Taipei has long had difficulty building closer economic and trade relations with Pakistan due to structural market conditions and Chinese influence over its South Asian ally.

US INDOPACOM Commanders Express Concerns for the Defense of Taiwan
By: John Dotson

Since assuming office in January, the Biden Administration has signaled signs of support for Taiwan that have surprised some observers who expected a more dramatic shift in US-Taiwan policy relative to the Trump Administration (see “Sino-American War of Words Heats Up Over Taiwan” in our March 24 issue). Indications of general political support from the new administration aside, some of the most provocative commentary recently offered by US officials about US-Taiwan-China relations has come from senior US military officers speaking before the US Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). In March, retired US Army Lieutenant General and former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, as well as the outgoing and incoming commanders of the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM)—Admiral Philip Davidson and Admiral John Aquilino, respectively—all presented testimony before SASC that included unusually strong statements regarding the increasing threat to Taiwan posed by the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Taken together, such statements signal an increasing willingness by senior US defense officials to go public with concerns about the military build-up conducted by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), as well as the increasingly aggressive posture—both political and military—directed against Taiwan by the PRC. 
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The Biden Administration's Diplomatic Moves Signal Strong Support for Taiwan
By: Michael Mazza

The Biden Administration revealed quite a bit about its concerns regarding and approach to the Taiwan Strait during the month of March. Although significant apprehensions with respect to peace and stability in the region are evident in Washington, panic is not. In addressing those apprehensions, the Biden team has thus far opted for a mix of high-level diplomacy and pragmatic initiatives. When US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan hosted Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪)—the senior-most Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member responsible for foreign affairs—and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) in Alaska last month, Blinken specifically mentioned Chinese actions in Taiwan as one of Washington’s “deep concerns.” This accorded with President Joe Biden’s own message to CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平): according to the White House readout, when the two leaders spoke in February the new American president conveyed his “fundamental concerns about Beijing’s […] increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan.”

Assessing the Patterns of PLA Air Incursions into Taiwan's ADIZ
By: Thomas J. Shattuck

In recent months, Chinese government state media outlets have frequently issued warnings to so-called “secessionist forces” allegedly stirring up trouble in Taipei, or to officials in Washington not to overstep Chinese government “red lines” when it comes to Taiwan. On March 8, at the 13th National People's Congress, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) promised, “The two sides of the Taiwan Strait must be and will surely be reunified […] We have the capability to thwart separatist attempts for ‘Taiwan independence’ in whatever form.” Indeed, recent history has shown that whenever Washington acts to increase cooperation or support for Taiwan, Beijing shifts the cost onto Taipei—whether through economic pressure and boycotts or military threats and incursions. The pattern has become predictable, and for Taiwan, costly in a financial sense, especially in regard to the significant uptick in military incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

* 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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