China Policy Institute Blog

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 …

Hong Kong, Taiwan and the End of the “One Country, Two Systems” Dream

Written by Alex Calvo. The ideological foundations of China’s 1911 Revolution and previous attempts to overthrow the Qing rested, among other things, on three pillars: modernization, recovery of full sovereignty, and setting up a modern nation-state. All of these were connected to a great extent, historically and ideologically, to Hong Kong and Taiwan. When the …

The Rise of the ‘Pan-DPP 6.88’: Leveling the Playing Field

Written by Wen-Ti Sung. Taiwan concluded its nine-in-one elections on Saturday with results that can only be described as historic. Of the 22 mayoral seats up for grabs, the ruling party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), was reduced to only six (and came within 2.12% or less of losing three of them); while the opposition …

Just how local are local elections in Taiwan?

Written by Michal Thim. Looking to local elections for clues as to how this or that party will fare in national elections is a precarious thing. Professor Shelley Rigger has argued earlier on this blog that Saturday’s elections should not be seen as a referendum on the KMT government and she makes many good points in support …