(This issue was originally published on the Global Taiwan Institute's website and the full articles are available at: https://globaltaiwan.org/2021/04/vol-6-issue-8/)
Biden-Suga Summit Highlights Alignment over Taiwan Strait
By: Russell Hsiao
The leaders of the United States and Japan—treaty allies with one another, and Taiwan’s two most important security partners—issued an unprecedented statement on April 16 expressing the two nations’ shared concern about Taiwan’s security. At the summit, which was also US President Joe Biden’s first in-person meeting with a foreign leader and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s (菅 義偉) first trip abroad, the two leaders issued a document entitled “US–Japan Global Partnership for a New Era,” which included a significant declaration of shared concern over the increasingly aggressive actions taken by China against Taiwan.
KMT Assets a Barrier to Party Reform and Electoral Success
By: Daniel Anaforian
This year marks the 74th anniversary of the 228 Incident, which occurred during a dark chapter in Taiwan’s authoritarian past. The anniversary commemoration was filled with praise by Kuomintang (KMT, 中國國民黨) politicians for how far their party has come since the island’s democratization. However, the issue of the party’s substantial, and ill-gotten financial and property assets continues to plague the KMT and hinders the ongoing transitional justice process. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, 民主進步黨) has argued that these assets undermine the country’s democracy by creating an unfair electoral environment. Indeed, with the creation of the Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee (CIPAS, 不當黨產處理委員會) in 2016 and the committee’s subsequent rulings, the KMT is fighting a losing battle to hold onto these assets. Moreover, these assets may be hurting the KMT’s electoral prospects and their ability to remain a competitive party—especially when calls for KMT reform are at their highest. The KMT should consider embracing CIPAS’ rulings and finally resolve the ill-gotten assets issue.
Xinjiang Cotton Shines Spotlight on Uyghur Issue in Taiwan
By: I-wei Jennifer Chang
In late March, several Taiwanese celebrities working in China came under fire from Taiwanese government officials and netizens for publicly joining the Chinese state-run “I Support Xinjiang Cotton” (#我支持新疆棉花) social media movement, initiated by the People’s Daily (人民日報), which emerged as a response to Western criticism of the use of forced labor products from the persecuted ethnic Uyghur minority group. Taiwanese entertainment stars who have hitched their careers to the huge Chinese market—notably Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜), Janine Chang (張鈞甯), Eddie Peng (彭于晏), and Greg Hsu (許光漢)—joined dozens of Chinese and Hong Kong actors and singers in calling for a boycott of Western fashion brands that rejected the use of Xinjiang cotton in their products.
The War Threat Against Taiwan: Preparing for All Contingencies
By: J. Michael Cole
A recent uptick in military activity by Russia along its border with Ukraine and by the Chinese armed forces around Taiwan has caused alarm in some circles who warn that Moscow and Beijing may be coordinating their actions to test the Biden Administration’s “red lines.” Others, meanwhile, have speculated that the two revisionist powers, having convinced themselves that the United States is in decline or is not serious about committing national treasure to defend Ukraine and Taiwan, may have concluded that now is the time to strike simultaneously to accomplish long-desired outcomes on the ground.
Beijing Touts Naval Activity in its Pressure Campaign Against Taiwan
By: John Dotson
Beginning in the early months of 2020, continuing through the rest of the year, and then increasing in tempo in the first quarter of 2021, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aviation activity has seen a dramatic increase in the vicinity of Taiwan. The largest incursion of the year to date occurred on April 12, when 25 PLA aircraft—including a provocative collection of four J-10 fighters, fourteen J-16 fighters, and four H-6K bombers—entered the southwestern quadrant of Taiwan’s ADIZ. Amid this dramatically increased aviation activity, less attention has been given to parallel PLA Navy (PLAN) patrols and exercise activities—as well as nominally private but state-directed “gray zone” maritime activity—in the waters surrounding Taiwan. This has been further accompanied by reporting in PRC state media (see below) intended to publicize amphibious and other exercise activity by PLA ground forces whose primary missions are oriented against Taiwan. Taken together, these military operations are a part of a multi-pronged effort by the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to apply psychological pressure against Taiwan, as well as to signal Beijing’s resolve to employ military force to compel Taiwan’s unification with the PRC.
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