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

247 articles in total 
An American Strategy for Southeast Asia

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) held an event to celebrate the release of Michal Mazza’s report “Am American Strategy for Southeast Asia” on August 7, 2018.     The organizer invited three panelists (Cara Abercrombie, Walter Lohman, and Michael Mazza) to discuss how the US can implement a new vision for a free and prosperous indo-Pacific.    The panel was moderated by Dan Blumenthal.  Before panel discussion, Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security, delivered a keynote speech.     The following is an event description provided by AEI: “In the wake of the “trade war” with China and drama on the Korean Peninsula, Southeast Asia often escapes notice.  But this vital corner of the world cannot become a sideshow.   Certainly, Southeast Asia’s tremendous economic and strategic potential is not lost on China, which has tried to bring the region under its influence.  And Chinese aggression is only the start; terrorism and democratic backsliding also threaten the region.  The need for strong partnership in Southeast Asia has never been greater.”    Shriver opened with an overview of the United States’ strategy in the Indo-Pacific region and how the Department of Defense’ efforts were crucial to a “free and open” region.   Mazza emphasized the importance of an open, peaceful, and prosperous Southeast Asia that demonstrates good governance.     Blumenthal said that ultimately, the United States will need to compete with Chine4se influence in the region.

Post: 2018-08-13
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The Opportunities and Challenges of Cross-Strait Relations

The Heritage Foundation held a one-day conference titled “Opportunities and Challenges of Cross-Strait Relations” on July 18, 2018.   The conference was co-hosted by Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.     As described by the organizer, “Relations between Taiwan and China over the last couple of years have been very challenging.   China is very actively challenging Taiwan across the range of its national power, conducting military exercises off its coasts, pulling away its diplomatic allies, barring its meaningful participation in international organizations.  What is the impetus behind this new aggressive approach and where is it headed?  What can Taiwan and its friends and allies due to mitigate the pressure on it?”  During the full-day session, the organizer invited 18 experts (7 from Taiwan) to present their views in three panels and roundtable.  In addition, the morning keynote was presented by Chen ming-tong. Mainland Affairs Council Minister, Taiwan; Luncheon keynote by Representative Ted Yoho, Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the afternoon keynote by Randy Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and Pacific Security Affairs.  The topics for each panel are: Panel I “China under Xi Jinping”; Panel II “US-China Relations: Implications for Taiwan’s Security and Democr5acy”; and Panel III: “Cross-Strait Relations and Strategic Impact”.

Post: 2018-08-10
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Eighth Annual South China Sea Conference

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted the Eighth Annual South China Sea Conference on July 26, 2018.   This full-day conference included four pane discussions: Panel I: State of Play in the South China Sea over the past year; Panel II : Dispute Resolution in the South China Sea and Beyond; Panel III: Environmental Issues in the South China Sea: Panel IV: The Military Balance in the South China Sea.   The speakers for the first panel are Bill Hayton, Colin Willett, Sumathy Permal, Feng Zhang and Amy Searight (moderator, CSIS).  The second panel include Commodore Lalit Kapur, Charles I-Hsin Chen, Bec Strating, and Thanh Hai Do as panelists; and was moderated by Gregory Poling (CSIS). Brain Harding (CSIS) moderated the third panel with 4 panelists (Vo Si Tuan, Carmen Ablan Lagman, Rashid Sumaila and Mark Powell).   Andrew Shearer (CSIS) moderated the last panel with 4 speakers: Collin Koh Swee Lean, Hideshi Tokuchi, Richard Heydarian, and Bonnie Glaser.   The high lights of the conference were the morning Keynote delivered by Representative Ted Yoho and lunch Keynote by Randall G. Schriver, Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, DOD.  The conference provided opportunities for in-depth discussion and analysis of developments in the South China Sea over the past year.

Post: 2018-08-09
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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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President Tsai called on actions against China’s aggression—AFP interview

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was interviewed by AFP at Presidential Building on June 24, 2018.  In a lengthy exclusive interview, Tsai commented on several key issues regarding Taiwan-China relations.  Tsai called on the international community to “constrain” China by standing up for freedoms, casting China as a global threat to democracy.  Tsai said “This is not just Taiwan’s challenge, it is a challenge for the region and the world as a whole, because today it’s Taiwan, but tomorrow it may be any other country that will have to face the expansion of China’s influence”.   Tsai urged other nations to unite with Taiwan in defending against China’s expansionist aims and to protect shared liberal values.   During the entire interview, President Tsai used strong words to remind other countries that China is coming, and the only way to meet China’s aggression is to unite with other friendly neighboring countries.  China’s aggression has already met US’ challenge with numerous economic and military actions.  US launched “Trade war with China”.  It is a clear signal that US fed up with China and is no longer tolerate China’s expansionist.   Regarding a possible meeting with China’s President Xi jinping, Tsai said “She would meet XI on an equal footing and with no political pre-conditions”.  Even though Beijing insists Tsai must agree that Taiwan is part of “one China“ in order for any meeting to take place, President Tsai said that the recent summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had provided a lot to think about.  Tsai said Taiwan had seen growing support from the United States when Congress recently passed bills paving the way for higher level official visits, and recommending greater US-Taiwan military exchanges.  Tsai attended a form titled “Global Solidarity of Democracy in Taiwan” hoisted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy the next day.   Tsai warned that historical trends do not always favor the forward march of democracy.  It can also regress.  Tsai cited a report from Freedom House that the world faced consecutive year of decline in global freedom.

Post: 2018-07-06
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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.

 

 

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/535/EnrolledTitle_115.JPG

AT THE SECOND SESSION

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

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/535/Enrolled_An_Act.JPG

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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