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News & Events
In this section you will find current news and events from ITS and other organizations.

243 articles in total 
Across the Taiwan Strait: From Cooperation to Confrontation?

The Stimson Center hosted a seminar to commemorate the late Alan D. Romberg, Distinguished Fellow and Director of East Asia Program, on June 25, 2018.   “Across the Taiwan Strait: From Cooperation to Confrontation?” is the title of seminar. Throughout his career spanning several decades, Romberg made significant contributions toward improving our understanding of the US-Taiwan, US-China and cross-Strait relationships for US policy toward East Asia.  The organizer invited Professor Thomas Christensen, Princeton University, and Steve Goldstein, Harvard University, to discuss the current status of Taiwan Strait.  Yuki Tatsumi, Co-Director, East Asia Program, Stimson Center, was the moderator for the event.  Christenson said “China has applied military, economic and diplomatic pressure against Taiwan.  China realized they have failed miserably in one persistent fashion, and it is that they have failed miserably to win over the hearts and minds of the Taiwan public.”  He said that President Tsai has been a very moderate advocate of DPP’s position and on cross-strait relations she has avoided provocations.   Christensen further said “I personally think Tsai has been a very fine leader.  She taken a very careful road, a very prudent road in forwarding Taiwan’s interests.”    Goldstein said Taiwan and China remain in deadlock with few signs that either side will make a concession any time soon.  Under such circumstance, Taiwan should remain cautious and China should have patience to maintain the status quo.

Post: 2018-07-12
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Taiwan under Tsai: A two-year review

The Brookings Institution and Center for strategic and international Studies (CSIS) co-sponsored the panel discussion “Taiwan under Tsai: A two-year review” on May 30, 2018.  The speaker included Richard C. Bush, Bonnie S. Glaser, Ryan Hass, Shelley Rigger and Robert Wang.   The panelists addressed domestic politics and the economy on Taiwan, U.S.-Taiwan Relations, and cross-Strait relations and tensions.  As stated by the organizers that “international landscapes look very different for Taiwan.  Beijing suspended formal cross Strait dialogue following Tsai’s inauguration and embarked on a campaign of pressure against Taiwan.  Uncertainty has pervaded U.S.-Taiwan relations as the Trump administration’s commitment to and engagement in East-Asia as a whole has been questioned, and sparked fears that Taiwan will be inadvertently drawn into diplomatic clashes between the United States and China.  On the home front, the economy is growing but the benefits of growth are still unevenly distributed.   Public support for Tsai’s administration has lagged amid criticism of some of her policies.  Po9litical polarization continues unabated.  What do these developments mean for Taiwan’s present and future?”   Bush said that the United States should do more to push back against the unproductive recent actions by Beijing to suppress Taiwan international. Regarding trade negotiation between US and Taiwan, Bush said US should deal with it in a different way.  He did not see the sense in delaying talks on such an agreement due to the issue of Taiwan’s reluctance to open its market to US beef and pork that might contain excess additives. 

Post: 2018-06-11
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Taiwan ranked 17th in the World Competitiveness Ranking 2018



According to the recently published “World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2018” by International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Taiwan ranked 17th (14th place last year) in the competitiveness scoreboard.  In the overall ranking, the top three are USA, Hong Kong, and Singapore, followed by Netherland, Switzerland, Demark, UAE, Norway, Sweden, and Canada.    In Asia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China (13th) are ahead of Taiwan.  China is up from 18th place.  Japan ranked 25th, while Korea is in 27th place.  This year, the WCY provides the same extensive coverage of 63 countries. The WCY analyzes and ranks the ability of nations to create and maintain an environment that sustains the competitiveness of enterprises.  Using 258 indicators (about two-thirds hard data, one-thirds soft data, more than six thousand responses to an Executive Opinion Survey), the survey criteria have been selected and are grouped under four main factors: Economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency, and infrastructure.   Taiwan has declined slightly in all four categories over the previous year. The most notable decline was in the area of business efficiency where Taiwan’s ranking dropped five spots to number 20.  The report also suggested that labor issues, along with “attitudes and values” are primarily cause for the lower ranking.  This year, IMD will also release “Digital Competitiveness Ranking”, measuring countries’ ability to adopt and explore digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society in general. 


Post: 2018-06-08
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China again violated “Statue Quote”

In order to keep peace across Taiwan Strait, the US government enforced so called “status quote “ to their Taiwan and China polices.   “No independence, no unification, no military attack” is the main objective of “status quote”.   The US government never officially defined and explained it.  However, “status quote” did draw several red lines regarding sovereignty and territory dispute between Taiwan and China.    The US government advised Taiwan not to officially declare independence and change nation’s name.  The US warned against China not to take any military attack against Taiwan to force unification.  Any political dispute should be settled peacefully.   As a democratic country, Taiwan government respected the United States’ position and would like to keep a close and friendly tie with US.   Even though the majority of Taiwanese has a strong desire to declare independence as a new nation, not to keep old name “Republic of China”; the Taiwan government still hesitated to take any drastic actions moving toward independence due to US’ objection.  On the other hand, China tried everything possible to threat Taiwan people and government.   China blocked Taiwan’s internal participation for many years.  In addition, China sent fighters and bomber to circle around Taiwan to show their military muscle and also openly interfere Taiwan’s elections.  As a matter of fact, China violated “status quote” quite often.   Most recent examples are China applied unprecedented pressure to World Health Organization to exclude Taiwan; and on May 24, 2018, forced Burkina Faso to sever tie with Taiwan.     After Taiwan lost its African ally, Burkina Faso, the multiple US congressmen immediately took to social media to express their concern and support for Taiwan.   Congressman Ted Yoho criticized China for its “two-faced aggression” and destabilizing the Taiwan Strait.  U.S. senator Marco Rubio called it regrettable and warned Beijing.   The next day, the Taiwan International Participation Act of 2018 was initiated by senators Cory Gardner and Edward Markey.   The bill instructs American representative in international organization to use the voice and vote of the United States to support Taiwan’s participation.  The U.S. State Department spokesperson accused China of changing the cross-Taiwan Strait status quote.  China undermined the framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades.   President Tsai expressed regret over the severing of diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Burkina Faso.

Post: 2018-05-31
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Taiwan Ranked 42nd in 2018 World Press Freedom Index


The Reporters Without Boarders (RSF) released “Press freedom ranking 2018” on April 25, 2018.  The Paris-based organization, the media watchdog nonprofit, surveyed 180 countries. Taiwan ranked 42nd and was considered the best in Asia. The top ten positions of the 2018 index are Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, Demark and Costa Rica.   Norway scored 7.63, while Taiwan’s score is 23.36. The United State placed 45th (23.73).  Other Asian countries were ranked poorly (South Korea 43, Japan 67, Hong kong 70, Singapore 151, and China 176).  The degree of freedom is determined by pooling the responses of experts to a questionnaire devised by RSF.   The qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.   The criteria evaluated in the questionnaire are: pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.  The RSF’s report indicated that the Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries.  China is getting closer and closer to a contemporary version of totalitarianism.  During President Xi’s first term, censorship and surveillance reached unprecedented levels thanks to the massive use of new technology.   China still exerted economic and political pressure to influence Taiwanese media.  Fortunately, Taiwan resisted China’s growing influence and was able to move up.



Post: 2018-05-03
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President Trump signed “Taiwan Travel Act”

President Trump signed “Taiwan Travel Act”

The U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act into law on March 16, 2018.   The new act should be regarded as an upgrade of “Taiwan Relations Act”, passed by Congress in 1979.   This new law has a significant meaning to Taiwanese.   From now on, the high ranking officials from Taiwan and the United States are allowed to visit Taiwan and Washington DC respectively with no restrictions.  The following is a full text.


Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday,
the third day of January, two thousand and eighteen

To encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Taiwan Travel Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The Taiwan Relations Act (22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.), enacted in 1979, has continued for 37 years to be a cornerstone of relations between the United States and Taiwan and has served as an anchor for peace and security in the Western Pacific area.

(2) The Taiwan Relations Act declares that peace and stability in the Western Pacific area are in the political, security, and economic interests of the United States and are matters of international concern.

(3) The United States considers any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.

(4) Taiwan has succeeded in a momentous transition to democracy beginning in the late 1980s and has been a beacon of democracy in Asia, and Taiwan’s democratic achievements inspire many countries and people in the region.

(5) Visits to a country by United States Cabinet members and other high-ranking officials are an indicator of the breadth and depth of ties between the United States and such country.

(6) Since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, relations between the United States and Taiwan have suffered from insufficient high-level communication due to the self-imposed restrictions that the United States maintains on high-level visits with Taiwan.

SEC. 3. Sense of Congress; Statement of policy.

(a) Sense of congress.—It is the sense of Congress that the United States Government should encourage visits between officials from the United States and Taiwan at all levels.

(b) Statement of policy.—It should be the policy of the United States to—

(1) allow officials at all levels of the United States Government, including Cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts;

(2) allow high-level officials of Taiwan to enter the United States, under conditions which demonstrate appropriate respect for the dignity of such officials, and to meet with officials of the United States, including officials from the Department of State and the Department of Defense and other Cabinet agencies; and

(3) encourage the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and any other instrumentality established by Taiwan, to conduct business in the United States, including activities which involve participation by Members of Congress, officials of Federal, State, or local governments of the United States, or any high-level official of Taiwan.



Post: 2018-05-03
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Taiwan Ranked 26th in World Happiness Report 2018

Taiwan was ranked as the world’s 26th happiest nation and the happiest in East Asia per “World Happiness Report 2018”, released by Sustainable Development Solution Network-a global initiative launched by the UN in 2012- on March 14, 2018.  This year, the report ranked 156 countries by their happiness levels and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.  The full report showed scores on six categories: GDP per capita, Social support, Healthy life expectancy, Freedom to make life choices, Generosity, and Perceptions of corruption and finally the combined score.  Finland scored 7.632 and is the happiest nation in the world.  Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia held the top ten positions.   Taiwan scored 6.441 and ranked 26th, while the United State scored 6.886 and ranked 18th.  In East Asia, Singapore was ranked 34th, Japan 54th, South Korea 57th, Hong kong 76th, and China 86th.     The evaluation of happiness of immigrants also indicated that all of the top ten countries scored high.  Again Finland was on top, while Taiwan placed 38th.  According to the news released by Sustainable Development Solution Network, 1,000 people in each nation who were asked to rate their lives on a scale of zero for the worst possible life to 10 for the best possible life.    For well-developed countries, the previous report concluded that money doesn’t buy happiness.  It is much easier to improve happiness through social changes.

Post: 2018-04-19
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Taiwan Ranked 29th on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017


The Berlin-based Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, published the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017 on February 21, 2018.  CPI is an annual ranking of countries based on perceived levels of public sector corruption.  According to the report, Taiwan ranked 29 out of 180 countries surveyed.  New Zealand scored 89 is on top of the list, followed by Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, Luxembourg, Netherland, United Kingdom and Germany.  In Asia, Hong Kong ranked 13, Japan 20, South Korea 54, and China 77.  Taiwan scored 63, while the United States scored slightly better 75, but only ranked 16.   This year, the report found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average of score of 43. The report concluded that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption.  The further analysis shows journalists and activities in corrupt countries risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out.  Although the report did not address specific developments in Taiwan, it did call on the global community to take five actions to curb corruption.





Post: 2018-04-06
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Taiwan Ranked 20th in 2018 Freedom House Report


According to the recently published Freedom House’s annual report, Taiwan scored high (93 points), up 2 points from last year.  This year, a total of 195 countries were evaluated.  The nation with the highest freedom ranking were Finland, Norway and Sweden. They received an aggregated score of 100, followed by Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Uruguay, Denmark, Portugal and San Marino.  19 countries were ahead of Taiwan, while the United States did not score well (86 points).   In Asia, Japan was on top with score of 96 points,  and China is near the bottom (score 14) of the list.  Each nation’s score is based on two ratings: one for political rights and one for civil liberties.  The freedom status was designated for each country (Free, Partly Free, and Not Free).     The score higher than 70 points is Free, while 30-70 is considered Partly Free and below 30 is Not Free.  Per report, 88 countries stand Free.  The number of countries qualifying as Partly Free stands at 58, and a total of 49 countries are deemed not Free.  Of the 195 countries assessed, 45% were rated Free, 30% Partly Free and 25% Not Free.  The free countries represented 39% of the global population.




Post: 2018-04-04
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Taiwan delivered a cool response to Emperor Xi

The big news for China’s 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) was abolishing presidential term limits, thereby enabling current Chinese President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.  This action signaled the beginning of Xi Dynasty, as comments by many political observers.  Taiwan’s media reported the event extensively and generally believed that Xi was in total control of Chinese Communist Party (CCP), central government, and People’s Liberation Army.  Xi might take more aggressive role to handle issues related to Taiwan-China relations.  Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen did not make any official comment.  However, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) did issue the statement “China should think about following the global trend and implement systemic reform that would result in long-term security, democratic, human rights and the rule of law”.  MAC further said “Taiwan’s government would continue to monitor China’s activities, and would carefully evaluate and respond to the situation”.   In addition to abolish presidential term, NPC also added “The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is the most essential characteristic of China’s socialism with Chinese characteristic” to Article 1 of the Chinese constitution.  One week later, NPC re-elected Xi as president and chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission.  Meanwhile, formal CCP Central Commission of Discipline Inspection secretary Wang Qishan was elected as new China’s vice president.  Wang was Xi’s right-hand man.  Xi will begin his second term as president of China soon.  Even though the second term will end in 2023, it was speculated that Xi will remain in power and rule China indefinitely.    As a result, Xi will be more powerful than Chairman Mao, the founder of PRC.  After the election, MAC expressed hope that Chinese President Xi could join hands with the Taiwanese government in facilitating a new pattern of amicable cross-strait exchanges.

Post: 2018-03-28
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