Cross-strait relations

This screen grab made from a video released by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV shows the launch ceremony of the Fujian, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft carrier, at a shipyard in Shanghai, China, on 17 June 2022. (CCTV/AFP)

China’s third aircraft carrier: No need to panic just yet

China’s third aircraft carrier is not yet nuclear-powered and won’t be battle-ready for some years yet. Besides, in terms of possible warfare, it’s the numerous surface combatants China possesses that the US should be worried about, says Loro Horta. But with every iteration of China’s aircraft carrier, its ambitions of eventually taking on the US in the open Pacific is increasingly clear.
This aerial photo taken on 30 May 2022 shows the local fishing village of Neian in Xiyu Township on the Penghu islands. In the sleepy fishing towns on the Penghu islands, many locals are sanguine despite the frequent - and noisy - reminders of the military threat by neighbouring China. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

China-US war of words: Is Taiwan Strait international waters?

China has recently begun a campaign to say that the Taiwan Strait cannot be considered “international waters” based on the UNCLOS. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong sees this as Beijing's way to assert its jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait and that it is ready to boost and expand its scope of military actions over the area.
Pins showing Taiwan are seen at a pro-independent book store in Taipei, Taiwan, 24 May 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Why it’s right that US policy on Taiwan has not changed

US academic Wu Guo explains that the US and China have fundamentally different interpretations of the “one China” principle and of the US’s adherence to its “one China” policy. To the Americans, Taiwan’s status has always been unsettled, and it has always advocated a peaceful resolution in the interest of regional stability. President Biden’s recent comments simply strongly affirm that.
US President Joe Biden attends a press conference at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on 23 May 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Biden's 'gaffe' on Taiwan reflects changing status quo in the Taiwan Strait

Yesterday, Chinese and Russian bombers flew over the Sea of Japan as US President Joe Biden attended the Quad summit in Tokyo. This comes a day after the president said that the US would defend Taiwan militarily if Beijing attacked. In fact, it was Biden's third time in nine months reiterating that message. Was this yet another gaffe, or a signal that the US is ready to drop its “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu analyses the situation.
Eastern European nationals living in Taiwan stage a die-in during a demonstration at Free Square in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on 17 April 2022, against the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

'Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow': Should Southeast Asia worry?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a stark reminder of the possibility that the fate of Taiwan may be eventually decided by military force. For Southeast Asian states, the clear preference is to avoid becoming embroiled in a cross-strait conflict, though it may come at the expense of their own principles and security. Eventually, Southeast Asian states should realise that they cannot treat the threat of a cross-strait war as a distant problem as they stand to face unavoidable political, economic and security risks if the worst-case scenario unfolds.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives for an event in the East Room at the White House in Washington, US, 5 April 2022. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The Pelosi visit that wasn’t: How should China respond to provocations from US politicians?

A trip to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was postponed as she tested positive for Covid-19. Nonetheless, Beijing made the expected protests and the issue is still not over as the visit might be revived in the future. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan analyses US motives for the proposed visit and how China should appropriately respond to US politicians stirring the pot.
A group of soldiers who finished a month of training wait to depart from the ferry, and is about to finish the rest of their three-month mandatory military service in Nangan, Matsu, Taiwan, 17 March 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan's young men are rushing to complete their military service

With the Russia-Ukraine war top of mind, Taiwan is moving to ramp up its defence capabilities by lengthening its military service from four months to one year. As a result, parents and young men are trying to bring forward the period of service before the extension is implemented. But how effective will lengthening the period of service be? Zaobao journalist Chuang Hui Liang assesses the combat-readiness of Taiwanese young people.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen oversees a military drill during the annual Han Kuang exercise, in Penghu, Taiwan, 25 May 2017. (Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters)

The US's clear and unambiguous strategy towards the Taiwan Strait

Chinese academic Deng Qingbo believes that the US has never been ambiguous about its policy towards the Taiwan Strait. Theirs has always been a clear policy dictated by the US’s national interests, in particular those of the financial and military-industrial capitalists. The US’s stance in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis supports this view. Are debates about whether the US policy should move from “strategic ambiguity” to "strategic clarity" moot?
Rescuers work next to a building damaged by air strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 14 March 2022. (Vitalii Hnidyi/Reuters)

Will the Ukraine crisis help to improve US-China relations?

Some analyses say that US-China relations may actually improve given the need for the US and the West to seek help from China in dealing with Russia. However, other indications are that recent events are engendering greater mistrust between the two countries, especially now that Congress has approved an omnibus bill that includes banning the use of maps that inaccurately depict Taiwan.