China Policy Institute Blog

The coming collapse of the KMT?

Written by C. Donovan Smith. A rich party with a long history and extensive local factional networks, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in Taiwan is about to be marginalized. At first blush the current situation strongly resembles the early 2000s: the KMT is demoralized, in danger of losing both the presidency and the legislature, and …

Youth, Taishang and absentee voting in Taiwan

Written by Courtney Donovan Smith. In the aftermath of last year’s Sunflower protests, there was considerable hand-wringing in both established parties about the clear lack of trust the protesters had in them. Both the DPP and KMT vowed to increase communication, boost outreach and to pay more attention to the needs and aspirations of the young. …

China’s New S-400 SAM: Implications for Taiwan

Written by Michal Thim. June 1982 is a watershed in the history of modern air power for two reasons. First, it was probably the first and so far the last deployment of surface-to-air missile systems (SAM) with the intent to use them for offensive purposes (“offensive AD”) — that is, the denial of use of …

China’s M503: Salami slicing the status quo

Written by Michal Thim. China officially launched the new M503 commercial flight route on March 29 — right in the centre of the Taiwan Strait. Initial reactions in Taipei were of surprise and rejection, which suggests that relevant government agencies in Taiwan were left in the dark before Beijing made the announcement. Taiwan objected on the …

Taiwan’s ‘Apache-gate’ and a call for restraint

Written by J. Michael Cole. The optics could hardly have been worse: Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng, a pilot manning the Taiwanese Army’s AH-64E “Guardian” helicopter—one of the most advanced helicopters of its kind in the world—is caught after surreptitiously taking a group of civilians, including a few foreign nationals, on a tour of the base, …

Has China Demolished the Taiwan Consensus?

Written by Gunter Schubert. In a recent contribution to the National Interest, Michael Cole, a journalist in Taiwan and editor of Thinking Taiwan, claimed that China had demolished the Taiwan consensus. He referred to the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ which holds that Beijing and Taipei maintain that Taiwan is a part of China but acknowledge at …

Change and continuity in policy in Taiwan

Written by Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley. The November 2014 9-in-1 elections have had a significant impact on Taiwan’s political landscape: the ruling KMT previously controlled 14 out of 22 municipalities and counties, but secured only 6 in this election. Observers have identified several reasons for the KMT’s failure: an unequal distribution of wealth, sluggish government reform, and …

Volatile Neighborhood, Teflon President, and Taiwan’s Shrinking Diplomatic Space

Written by Jing Sun. In 2007, I published an article entitled Japan-Taiwan Relations: Unofficial in Name Only. In it, I argued that Japan and Taiwan had been engaging one another since the 1990s. A combination of colonial ties, shared democratic identity, and cultural admiration propelled their relations to an “unofficial-in-name-only” status. The article ended with …

The troubled transition to an all-volunteer force in Taiwan

Written by Michal Thim. Plans are underway to transform Taiwan’s military from a force relying on a regular intake of conscripts aged 18-35 and serving 11-12 months, into a fully professional all-volunteer force (AVF). Thus far, the road has been rocky. One aspect of the reform is to downsize the current force in 2015 from …

You Must Have One Country Before You Have One Country, Two Systems

Written by Don Rodgers. The People’s Republic of China officially views Taiwan as a “sacred and inseparable part of China’s territory.” Yet, Taiwan is currently a de facto independent country with its own territory, economy, democratic government, and military. This obviously causes the leaders in Beijing no small degree of heartburn. To make matters more …