One China

Soldiers march to position during an anti-invasion drill on the beach during the annual Han Kuang military drill in Tainan, Taiwan, 14 September 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwanese generally think there will not be war, and they are unprepared for it

Surveys show that the Taiwanese think war is unlikely, and they are aware that they are generally not well prepared for it, believing that the US and Japan will come to Taiwan’s assistance if mainland China launches an offensive. But recent comments by the US and Japan seem to suggest that strategic ambiguity is very much in play.
US President Joe Biden reacts while meeting virtually with Xi Jinping, China's president, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on 15 November 2021. (Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg)

Biden-Xi virtual summit: Not quite a meeting with an ‘old friend’

Yang Danxu observes that the recent virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is a good start, but deep-seated issues remain, not least the real and present issue of Taiwan.
Cartoon: Heng Kim Song

ThinkCartoon

Heng Kim Song has been the freelance editorial cartoonist

This file photo taken on 30 January 2018 shows Taiwanese soldiers staging an attack during an annual drill at a military base in Hualien, Taiwan. (Mandy Cheng/AFP)

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait fear imminent war

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait have experienced anxiety and fear lately, out of escalating US-China tensions and growing speculations on the prospect of war. But how much of this so-called anxiety and fear is being manipulated for political gain by Taiwan’s ruling DPP and the US? For all the bravado seen on internet chatter, when it comes down to it, the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will suffer most in an actual war. Shouldn’t mainland provocateurs think twice before falling into the trap of beating the war drums?
(Left to right) Premier Su Tseng-chang, Parliament Speaker You Si-kun and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu have been named by the Taiwan Affairs Office as being “stubbornly pro-Taiwan independence”. (Internet/SPH)

Are Taiwan's DPP politicians fighting to be blacklisted by Beijing?

In Beijing’s latest effort to discourage notions of independence for Taiwan, it has released a list of Taiwan leaders it considers to be “stubbornly pro-Taiwan independence”, seemingly targeted at Green camp members. However, those on the list are wearing it as a badge of honour, as recognition that they love Taiwan, while those not on the list are clamouring to be blacklisted. Will this move backfire on Beijing instead?
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Raphael Glucksmann, head of the European Parliament's Special Committee on Foreign Interference, attend a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, 4 November 2021. (Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters)

How Germany can help ensure peace in the Taiwan Strait

Director of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin, Thorsten Benner, thinks that the new German government should courageously invest in relations with Taiwan out of economic and political self-interest. If it can lead the EU in doing so, then Germany and Europe can actively contribute to non-military deterrence in order to help preserve the status quo in cross-strait relations.
In this file photo taken on 26 September 2020, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (centre) poses for photographs while visiting a turboprop engine factory at a military base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

How the 1992 Consensus could save cross-strait relations

Liu Chin-tsai notes that cross-strait relations are getting more volatile, with calls for armed reunification getting louder. He suggests that the crux of the matter lies in the DPP not acknowledging the 1992 Consensus, which is seen by mainland China as the "magic fulcrum" offering a structural framework and stability for cross-straits talks to take place. However, is it too late for the DPP to adjust its rhetoric and get cross-strait relations back on track?
A US-made CH-47 helicopter flies an 18-metre by 12-metre Taiwan flag at a military base in Taoyuan, Taiwan, on 28 September 28, 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Has the US shifted its position on Taiwan, again?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun notes that Beijing’s “one-China principle” has remained largely unchanged while Taiwan’s concept of cross-strait relations has morphed under the DPP to that of Taiwan being already independent. On its part, the US seems to be changing its stance, not least by adding Reagan-era, private assurances to Taiwan to the equation when defining its “one-China policy”. Tough questions need to be answered about how Beijing can curb Taiwan independence without alienating the Taiwanese public, or how the US can support Taiwan’s democracy without encouraging Taiwanese independence and dragging the US into a war with China.
Eric Chu, Taiwan’s newly-elected main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) chairman, gestures on the podium following his election victory for the party's leadership at the KMT headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, on 25 September 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

A mountain to climb: New KMT leader Eric Chu and his hope for peaceful cross-strait relations

Although a new Kuomintang (KMT) chairman, former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu, has been installed, the KMT’s stance on cross-strait relations and its aspirations for Taiwan’s future is hazy to many. While Chu pledged commitment to the 1992 Consensus and non-support of Taiwan independence, he did not give a clear response to the mainland’s call for “reunification”. Pledging to stick to the “status quo” would be a no-go either, given the ambiguous term. How then should the KMT position itself on the path to the 2024 presidential elections?