TW1: China Basically Threatened War on Taiwan (and other news)

Monday, January 14, 2019


01. If You Like Betting on Embattled Underdogs, This Leader is Worth A Look | David Ignatius for The Washington Post
What can the United States do to help Taiwan, whose plucky spirit is impossible not to admire? One thing is simply to pay more attention to the island, which exists in a kind of political netherworld. That was one purpose of the bipartisan trip here this week, organized by the German Marshall Fund and led by Sullivan, which I accompanied. (I’m a German Marshall Fund trustee.)
What else makes sense, if you’re betting on the underdog? The United States should think about signing a free-trade agreement with Taiwan, which could encourage other countries to do the same. Hopefully, China won’t seek a military confrontation. “I don’t think Xi is there yet,” said Tsai. “He thinks there are other ways to attain the same objective.”
Sometimes just treading water is the best strategy. As Tan Sun Chen, head of a government-linked think tank here called the Prospect Foundation, told us: “ ‘Status quo’ is a major word. It means we get to preserve our country. If we say ‘independence,’ that goes too far.” That sense of balance has allowed Taiwan to survive.
02. Southeast Asian Students Made to Work Illegally in Factories in Six Taiwanese Universities | Brian Hioe for New Bloom Magazine
 In some cases, students were reportedly made to work ten-hour factory shifts four days a week, while only attending classes for two days a week, and sent to work in locations such as a packaging factory for contact lenses. Campus buses were used to bring students between dormitories and factories.
Students were, in many cases, under 20 years old, and they were told by factory overseers that they were no different than regular migrant workers from southeast Asia. By the time news of this broke last week, these students had been made to work illegally for over one year. The names of the school have not yet been made public, but this includes Hsing Wu University in Linkou, which used at least 30 Indonesian students as workers, and at least one national university of science.
03. Thousands Join Tax Protest in Taiwan, With a Nod to French 'Yellow Vests | Ralph Jennings for TIME Magazine
The Tax & Legal Reform League, an activist group, called the protest after marshaling about 20,000 people outside the presidential office in an initial demonstration a week ago, and another 10,000 on Saturday, according to organizers and Taiwanese media.
The organizers said they were inspired by the success of the recent French protests, which turned violent and were blamed for 10 deaths. The Taiwanese protests have been peaceful.
04. 'It is Very Frustrating That They Keep Misrepresenting Taiwan's Status': Interview | Radio Free Asia 
The most important thing is to ensure that any participation by Taiwan is on an independent basis, and that Taiwan's rights and responsibilities are exactly the same as any of the other countries. If that is a possibility, then Taiwan will be willing to show a bit more flexibility.
As for Rep. Yoho's show of support for Taiwan, of course we are very grateful for that. Under the current situation, Taiwan is Taiwan, but the name of our country is the Republic of China, which currently controls the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, with a population of 23 million people. We have a democratically elected president and legislature. Those are realities that cannot be erased.
So it doesn't really matter if we call ourselves Taiwan or the Republic of China, or some other creative solution; there is still no way to change the reality of our independent existence.
05. China’s Hybrid Warfare against Taiwan | David Ignatius for The Washington Post
“We want a healthy relationship with China, but we don’t want to be ruled by China,” argues Raymond Sung, director of Taiwan Democracy Watch, at a roundtable organized by the Prospect Foundation, a government-backed think tank. A similar desire for self-determination was expressed by a half-dozen students at National Chengchi University. “We’re trying to make a new identity for ourselves on this island,” explained one student. “We’re going through a nation-building process.”
How can the United States help militarily? It’s tricky.
Taiwan wants American weapons and tactical support, but not so directly or visibly that it triggers a Chinese escalation. If the the United States considers a show of force to deter Chinese military action, for example, the Taiwanese believe that a joint effort, conducted with other nations, would be safer than unilateral U.S. action. 
06. Taiwan Rejects China's 'Reunification' Proposal
“I must emphasize, the results of the past election absolutely do not represent that the will of the people at the grass-roots level seeks to give up our sovereignty,” [President Tsai] said in a New Year’s Day address. Beijing considers Taiwan to be Chinese territory that must be united with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The Chinese government, Ms. Tsai said, “must handle our differences peacefully and as equals.” 

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