Taiwan

A soldier participates in a military exercise simulating an invasion by China, organised by Taiwan's Army Infantry Training Command, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on 6 January 2022. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Why Xi Jinping ignores Washington's calls for cross-strait talks

Chen I-hsin asserts that the US is no longer in a position to facilitate cross-strait talks, given that China’s national strength has increased considerably and the US is no longer seen as a neutral arbiter. Moreover, the “two states” theory which Taiwan’s ruling party seems to support leaves little room for dialogue, rendering any pressure from the US futile.
Taiwan Armed Forces soldiers crew a CM-11 Brave Tiger main battle tank during a military combat live-fire exercise in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on 21 December 2021. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

If China strikes Taiwan, can it bear the punishment from the US and its allies? 

Cross-strait relations look set to remain tense, with mainland China increasing its military might and the US continuing to provide support to Taiwan, says Cambodian commentator Sokvy Rim. But despite the rhetoric, the mainland will be cautious. Even if Beijing can launch a first strike, the US and its allies will give a formidable response, not forgetting that they are in a position to choke off China’s energy supply route through the Indian Ocean and Strait of Malacca.
Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 18 May 2018. (Reuters/Stringer/File Photo)

5 nuclear-weapon states vow no arms race: A more peaceful world?

China has made no bones about its role in shepherding a first-ever P5 joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding an arms race. While the release of the statement shows some rational thought and mutual respect among the five nuclear powers, is it of any significance in moderating conflicts between nation-states and preventing possible fights in hotspots such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait?
Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda speaks to the press at the end of an Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, on 15 December 2021. (Olivier Hoslet/AFP)

Did Lithuania do a U-turn on the ‘Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania’?

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda recently commented that it was "a mistake" to allow Taipei to open a representative office using the name Taiwan. Is this a climb-down by Lithuania following economic and political backlash from Beijing or more a reflection of policy rifts within the small Baltic state? And will the EU and the US pay more than lip service to stiffen Lithuania’s resolve?
A pedestrian walks on a bridge past buildings in the Lujiazui Financial District across the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, on 28 December 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Self-confidence and myths may lull China into turning inward economically

China has managed Trump era hostilities by implementing a “dual circulation strategy” with a focus on its domestic market, but it risks turning inward to the detriment of its economy, says analyst Zheng Weibin. In particular, it should guard against being shut off from the technological progress of other major economies.
Everyday life through the eyes of secret agents in spy drama Enemy. (Enemy official Weibo)

Mainland Chinese TV drama sparks talk of ‘Taiwan spies’

China's new TV show Enemy tells the story of a spy couple from Taiwan living in mainland China. The drama has won accolades and fans not so much for spy intrigue per se, but the realistic portrayal of everyday life in mainland China. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at how reel life mirrors real life and the ongoing tensions in cross-strait relations.
US President Joe Biden convening the virtual Summit for Democracy at the White House, in Washington, US, 9 December 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Japanese academic: Summit for Democracy showed weakness of Biden’s diplomacy

Japanese academic Sahashi Ryo notes that the US-led Summit for Democracy met with a lukewarm response in Asia because it smacked of the US trying to impose its ideas on other nations. Not only that, given the Biden administration’s poor listening skills, their talk of valuing partnerships with allied countries rings hollow.
Xiamen is known as “Egret Island” and the “garden on the sea”. (CNS)

The case of Xiamen: Are special economic zones in China no longer special?

Despite having a head start in being established as a special economic zone (SEZ), Xiamen’s economy lags behind other cities in Fujian province such as Quanzhou and Fuzhou. Coupled with disproportionately high property prices, Xiamen is not doing as well as other places like Pudong New Area and Shenzhen either, which started their development spurt later but have overtaken Xiamen. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at how Xiamen can turn things around.
People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19, cast their vote at a polling station while participating in a four-question referendum in Taipei, Taiwan, 18 December 2021. (Annabelle Chih/Reuters)

Japanese academic: Taiwan’s national referendum vote shows democracy at work

​Taiwan’s four-question referendum did not pass, to the relief of the DPP and disappointment of the KMT, says Professor Yoshiyuki Ogasawara of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. That the motion to reinstate an import ban on pork with ractopamine, namely US pork, did not go through is significant, as it is an election issue that could have a detrimental impact on the DPP. Results aside, the referendum itself was a show of democracy at work and in some ways a bulwark against reunification with the mainland.