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Taiwan's Defensive Capabilities Continue To Decline As China Intensifies War Preparations, US Department of Defense Says

Taiwan's defensive capabilities continue to decline as China prepares for a possible conflict, according to the United States Department of Defense 2018 Annual Report to Congress on military and security developments involving the People's Republic of China (PRC).  The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is undergoing the most comprehensive reform in its history to become a force capable of conducting complex joint operations, the report says. The PLA aims at developing the capabilities to fight and win "informatized local wars" - regional conflicts based on data-networked command and control and precision strikes.  China's Taiwan strategy continues to incorporate elements of both persuasion and coercion to hinder the development of political attitudes in Taiwan favoring independence, the report says. Beijing attempts to restrict Taiwan's role in the international community and international organizations, and it seeks to woo Taiwan's few diplomati

Lee Teng-hui and the Issue of Taiwan's Independence

In 2007, former President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Lee Teng-hui (simplified Chinese 李登辉, t raditional Chinese 李登輝, pinyin:  Li Dēnghuī ) astonished the Taiwanese public when he declared to Next Magazine that he did not support Taiwan's independence [1].  For many years, Lee had been considered one of the most influential supporters of Taiwan's independence. In the 1990s, he had repeatedly angered the People's Republic of China and was denounced by Beijing as a 'separatist' who was pushing for an independent Taiwan. His political stance made him enemies on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. In fact, both the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (Guomindang) support eventual reunification and adhere to the "one China" principle. In 2001, Lee was even expelled from the Guomindang, the party that he had led for 12 years. Although he had retired from active political life in 2000, during the election campaign he became th

China Eyes Taiwan's Last Diplomatic Ally In Africa After El Salvador's Defection

Taiwanese President Ts'ai Ing-wen visits El Salvador, 2017 (official photo by the Presidency of El Salvador via Flickr ) On August 21 Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu Chao-hsieh announced Taiwan's decision to sever diplomatic ties with El Salvador after the Central American country had asked Taipei for an "astronomical sum" of financial aid. The statement came shortly after the end of Taiwanese President Ts'ai Ing-wen's  visit to the United States, Paraguay and Belize . The trip had been deemed a success by Taiwan, but it had angered China. On Tuesday  El Salvador and China  signed a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations at a ceremony in Beijing. "The Government of the Republic of El Salvador recognizes that there is but one China in the world, that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's t

Are the Himalayas Taiwan's Highest Mountains?

“What is  Taiwan ’s highest mountain?” This seemingly harmless question has caused a public controversy in Taiwan, a country where geography and politics are deeply  entwined.   On June 11, Chen Qineng ( 陳啟能 ), a lawmaker of the  Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , asked  Eric Chu  ( 朱立倫 ), the incumbent mayor of New Taipei City and Chairman of the  Guomindang , an apparently simple question: “What is  Taiwan ’s highest mountain?” “Taiwan’s highest mountain is  Yushan ,” answered Eric Chu. “But according to the Constitution," he added, "the country’s highest mountains are the  Himalayas .”   Chen Qineng’s question was not trivial. Its purpose was to make Eric Chu reveal his view on the controversial issue of  Taiwan’s sovereignty . Taiwan is officially known as the  Republic of China (ROC) , a state that in theory still claims to be the legitimate government of China.     Chen insisted. “We are talking about the Republic of China on Taiwan.”  Eric Chu reaff

Living in Taiwan: Seven Reasons Why It's Good to Be Here

Chinese New Year can be a pretty boring time for a foreigner. All of my friends were celebrating with their families, and since I have no family here, nor have I a girlfriend whose family I could join, I had nothing special to do. Shops and cafes were closed - apart from big chains like McDonald's or Starbucks, which were overcrowded anyway. So I had a lot of time to think. On Saturday evening I went out to buy my dinner. While I was walking around, I heard the voices of the people inside their homes, the sounds of their New Year celebrations. Then I suddenly asked myself: "What on earth are you doing here? Why are you still in Taiwan?"  Before I came to Taiwan, some Taiwanese friends of mine had recommended me their country, highly prasing it and going so far as to say that Taiwan is a "paradise for foreigners" (bear in mind that when I say foreigners I mean 'Westerners').  "It's easy for foreigners to find a job," t

China's Consulate General in Houston Sends Letter to US Politician, Asking Him To Drop Support For Taiwan's Democracy

Taiwan democratic elections (photo by Luuva ) On February 19 Henry Zuber , member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, posted on his Facebook page a letter that he had received from the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Houston. The letter urged him to stop supporting Taiwan and engaging in activities that could threaten Sino-US relations.  Every year Zuber co-signs resolutions regarding Taiwan and meets the Taiwanese Delegation. As he explains: "I hold dear that every man has the God-given right to live under the freedoms of religion/speech regardless of national origin etc." The Chinese government obviously did not like Zuber's engagement. The letter that the Consulate General sent was politely worded, but it put forward in strong terms the core of Beijing's one-China policy . The letter states:

An Introduction to the History of Taiwan

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei When I told my mother that I was going to Taiwan, she asked me: "Where is Taiwan?" I was surprised by her question, but on second thought I should have expected it. Many people in the West don't know much about Taiwan, some of them even think that Taiwan is Thailand. So I think that if I write a blog about my life in Taiwan I should at least give you some background information about this place.  First of all, a state called Taiwan doesn't exist. In fact, the official name of Taiwan is Republic of China . Taiwan is just a geographical term that defines the island of Taiwan. That the official name of a country is not the same as its colloquial name, is nothing unusual. We know that Germany's official name is "Federal Republic of Germany", but we never say: Hey, I'm going to fly to the Federal Republic of Germany tomorrow. We just call it Germany. The same with the United States of America. We usually sa

Award-Winning Taiwanese Baker Claims That Taiwan Is Part Of China In Attempt To Appease Beijing

At around 1 p.m. on December 11 the award-winning Taiwanese baker Wu Pao-ch'un (吳寶春) held a press conference in front of his store in Kao-hsiung, in southern Taiwan. Next to him stood Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), mayor-elect of the city. Surrounded by journalists, the two men explained why Wu's statements about Taiwan being part of China are no big deal. Han Kuo-yu praised "Master Wu", calling him an artist and a " glory of Taiwan ". He then argued that it is wrong to politicize business. "Master Wu is like an artist," Han said. "Because he just bakes bread. He doesn't understand politics ... Simple business people don't deal with politics, they develop their business. I hope that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait [Taiwan and mainland China] will wish him well. He has faced pressure, but I hope that the Taiwanese people will back him, fully support him. It's not easy to win an international award. Whether he opens a st

Taiwanese Actress Sung Yün-hua Apologizes For Calling Taiwan A Country, Says China Is Her Motherland

Taiwanese actress Sung Yün-hua (宋芸樺) has apologized for calling Taiwan a "country" and said that China is her "motherland".  25-year-old Sung gained notoriety in mainland China with her role in the 2018 film Hello Mr. Billionaire (西虹市首富), but in recent days she has become the target of fierce criticism on the part of Chinese netizens for comments they deem unpatriotic.  In 2015 during an interviewed with Taiwan-based Ming Weekly  Sun was asked what her favourite country was. "My favourite country is Taiwan ," she replied. The video of that interview went viral days ago, causing an uproar among Chinese netizens.  宋芸樺為「最愛國家是台灣」道歉,滅火稱中國是我的祖國 #taiwan #宋芸樺 #Entertainment #china #中國 #台灣 →→ https://t.co/OuOQJUXQWk pic.twitter.com/P1Qm7WtyzY — 台灣蘋果日報 Taiwan News (@TW_nextmedia) August 2, 2018 China views Taiwan as part of its territory, and Beijing has not renounced the use of force to bring about " reunification ". Chinese c