Cross-strait relations

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.
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.
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.
Former KMT chairman Johnny Chiang and incumbent KMT chairman Eric Chu join the annual Autumn Struggle labour protest, focusing on the opposition to the government's decision to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, and other issues related to the referendum in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 December 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan’s four-question referendum results show a Kuomintang in serious decline

Taiwan’s four-question referendum ended without any “yes” votes being passed. The KMT, who initiated the referendum, failed to gain broad-based support for its positions despite an all-out campaign. Rather than the cosmetic reasons, Lu Xi sees the core cause of the KMT’s poor showing to be its outdated approach of pandering to the traditionalist “deep blue” camp in the party. It has to move with the times and get a better pulse on the electorate if it is to make any headway.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen gestures from an upgraded US-made F-16V fighter during a ceremony at the Chiayi Air Base in Taiwan on 18 November 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Why Taiwan is unperturbed about Nicaragua cutting ties and switching allegiance to Beijing

Zheng Weibin notes Taiwan’s unperturbed response to Nicaragua switching its allegiance to Beijing, the eighth such reversal since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2008. In his analysis, the US in practice treats Taiwan differently, despite its purported adherence to the “one China” policy and is swaying others to do so. In light of such support, there is no need for Taiwan to chase after symbolic diplomatic recognition.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 14 October 2021. (Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via Reuters)

Japanese politicians tussle over power and speaking rights on Taiwan

Recent comments by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have people speculating if Japan is taking a more hawkish stance on Taiwan. Japan-based academic Zhang Yun explains that this is a combination of factional politics between the liberal-leaning Kochikai faction led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the neo-conservatives within the LDP, as well as the dynamics of Japan’s relationship with the US and China. With the 50th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic ties between Japan and China taking place next year, will the Taiwan card be further in play?