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Taiwan on world media  (台灣躍上國際新聞) ;         News about China-Taiwan-US war to click  English version Chinese version    

L.A. Times,  2022-7-31: As tensions flare between the two superpowers — risking the worst crisis in the region in a quarter of a century — people in Taiwan appear by and large to be responding with a collective shrug...The threat of Chinese military action has loomed for so long that few seem to raise an eyebrow when Beijing lashes outca.news.yahoo.com/possible-pelosi-visit-elicits-shrugs-170042930.html
 

New York Times,  2021-11-18 ("What makes people happy" ): Most people in a Pew Research Center survey said that family made them the happiest.  The Australian(56%), New Zealander(55%), American(49%), English(46%), Swedish, Italian, Canadian etc surveyed ranked family first, their percentage is about 3-4 times of that (15%) in Taiwan, the % of Singapore and Japan is about 2 times of that in Taiwan.  Taiwanese ranked Material well-being above family.

 

Pew Research Center , 2021-11-18
   Where People find Meaning in Life

country Family Material well-being occupation
Australia 56% 22% 29%
NZ 55 19 29
Greece 54 13 25
US 49 18 17
UK 46 12 20
Sweden 45 22 37
Canada 42 22 26
Singapore 29 22 25
Japan 26 16 15
S. Korea 16 19 6
Taiwan 15% 19% 9%

 

       NY Times, 2022-5-24: the US is trying to walk a fine line between deterrence and provocation... risk pushing President Xi Jinping of China to order an attack on Taiwan NY Times, 2022-5-24: Former presidents have hinted that the United States would fight for Taiwan but have otherwise remained studiedly vague...Taiwan's defense budget... remains scandalously low WSJ, 2021-11-17: Beijing’s arms buildup and menacing of Taiwan make U.S. directionlessness dangerous for the world.  Rather than risk a less feckless president after Mr. Biden, Mr. Xi may feel he has three years to act.  WarOnTheRocks, 2021-11-18: Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense has abandoned asymmetric defense reform, Washington ought to step in to get Taiwanese defense reform back on track FoxNews, 2021-11-17: Hannity: China 'bullies' Biden in meeting, "Basically his weakness guarantees Taiwan will be taken over by the Communist Chinese and Joe won't do a thing."  NY Times, 2021-11-15: Biden and Xi meet amid tensions in an effort to keep “communication lines open” and avoid military action — American officials remain concerned that the chances of avoiding conflict may be diminishing.  click military for details

 

 

 

  Intro. to Taiwan

 

"We call ourselves the Republic of China, Taiwan", president Tsai has told BBC UK at Jan. 15, 2020, but later BBC changed it to "the Republic of China (Taiwan)".  This self-governing island country lies roughly 100 miles off the coast of southeastern China ( Taiwan's small island, Kinmens,  just one mile off China ) .  Taiwan's current population around 24 million is roughly the same as Australia's, close to New York's, but the area of Australia is 207 times larger than Taiwan's, that of NY is about 4 times Taiwan's.  Taipei's housing price is about triple Tokyo's or Singapore's.  Taiwan's climate is subtropical.
 

      means you should eat & drink nothing for 14.39 years
 to buy a house
in Taipei
  area population data Dec., 2020 Ratio of house price to income
UK 7 Taiwan 3 Taiwan Taipei (Taiwan) 14.39
Japan 10 Taiwan 5 Taiwan Tokyo (Japan) 5
Australia 207 Taiwan same Singapore 4.5

  

Taiwan's travel and tourism competitiveness is ranked No.10 among Asian nations (WEF,  9-4-2019) , but ranked n/a in 2022 (WEF) . Taiwan's higher education is ranked about No.7~9 in the region (QS  UK, Times, Nature Index, ARWU World 2019~2022) Taipei falls behind Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka (Japan), Tokyo, Wellington, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc in EIU's Global Livability Index Ranking 2019, 2021.  Taiwan's justice ministry was insufficiently independent and was questioned the impartiality of judges and prosecutors involved in high profile, politically sensitive cases (USA Country Reports on Human Rights practices , 2018, 2019, 2021 ; http://intlhumanrights.com/PoliticalPersecutionsTaiwanENG.htm  ) CTN opinion (4-12-2019): Taiwan's three presidents should be ashamed of Taiwan's judiciary.  Taiwan's physicians density is almost the last in Asia, and there's no hospital was included in Newsweek's "world best hospitals" in 2020, 2021.  Taiwan's soft power has never entered top 30 before CovID-19, losing Asia-Pacific's Japan, Australia,  NZ, China, Singapore, Korea, UAE, India, Thailand, Qatar in recent years (USC, Portland , Monocle's Soft Power Survey, 2010 ~ 2020)

 

To contrast China's 'authoritarian', Westerners gave too many fulsome compliments to Taiwan's democracy, however, Taiwan's democracy  is at surface level.  USA Country Reports on Human Rights practices,  2022-4-12, 2021-3-30:  There were allegations of vote buying by candidates and supporters of both major political parties in Presidential election in 2020.  Besides, Taiwan lacks good separation & balance of powers between the ruling party and the opposition, the executive and the legislative, the government and the media.  New York Post (4-25-2020) comments that Taiwan deals with CovID-19 with "a lot more authoritarian".   Global Times, 2022-8-11: under the guise of "democracy", the DPP authorities are practicing "green terror".  DPP, Taiwan's ruling party official website : human rights abuses occurs anywhere and anytime in Taiwan. (gotv.ctitv.com.tw/2020/12/1648383.htm)  The priority of the government's vaccine policy is to draw votes (electoral interest) instead of saving human lives, which is "cold-blood", "losing their souls " (ref. to China Times, 2021-9-7, United Daily, 2021-9-12, Guardian, 2021-8-14) Taiwan's press freedom is ranked No.43 in 2020 and 2021.  At end of 2020, Taiwan shuts Pro-China TV channel first ever since Taiwan's liberation, which could have a "chilling effect, strongly impacting press freedom".   The Liberty Times, 1-12-2020, editorial: The administration's rottenness smells already.... It has shown a retrogressive trend in recent years, the freedom of speech, publication, assembly etc were persecuted by excuses such as national security (NHU paper, Jun. '20)Taiwan not only harm its democracy for national security, but also harm its national security for democracy

 

Now China keeps inching closer to Taiwan, Economist (2021-5-1) describes Taiwan as "The most dangerous place on Earth", western experts (e.g., Foreign Policy, 4-5-2021, 10-28-2020, Financial Times (UK), 7-12-2020 ) advise Taiwan to make urgent defense reforms such as increasing the existing four-month conscription and improving reservist systems, but, Taiwanese politicians are afraid to discuss this issue with the public because of electoral realities, Taiwan's leaders don't want to shift to a policy which could be deeply unpopular among the young voters courted by the ruling party (DPP), according to Foreign Policy (10-19-2020).  N.Y. Times, 2022-6-19: 'A Looming Threat'  ... but "politicians have electoral considerations".   Financial Times (UK), 2021-9-16 :Washington keeps scolding Taipei over its supposed lack of preparation against an ever mightier Beijing.  New York Times criticized Taiwan's nearly two million reservists "exist in name only" - but nothing big has changed till present.    

 

The People's Republic of China (PRC) has identified that Taiwan as part of its territory and its most important core interest, since the Kuomintang (Nationalists or KMT) government retreated to the island in 1949 following defeat in the Chinese civil war.  Beijing regards reunification of the mainland and Taiwan is priceless  and a   "sacred mission” ,  'do or die' prestige issue,  and has traditionally used a double strategy  of “carrot and stick”  towards Taiwan, on one hand, it has vowed to reunite this "breakaway province" by force if necessary, and has been ramping up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan since president Tsai I.W. (2016 ~) refused to recognise the "1992 consensus" a 'pseudo'-agreement made by Taiwan's KMT party and the Chinese Communist Party, that proclaimed "the existence of only one China ”, but “ with different interpretations ” (being free to decide which side was legitimate.).  In early 2019,  CCP Xi openly equates One Country Two Systems with the 1992 Consensus to eliminate other interpretations.   Under China's political development and strengthening its trade ties to our allies, Taiwan is diplomatically isolated, has only 14 formal relation allies till Dec., 2021, most of them are little, unknown countries

 

On the other hand, China took the "carrots" strategy "Allowance of economic benefits to Taiwan"("讓利" ) so that Taiwanese people may have higher tendency toward unification with China ―― about 52% Taiwanese want closer economic ties with the mainland China.  Brookings, 1-22-2021: Only 23% Taiwanese thought that democracy was more important than economic development.  Washington Post, 2017-1-2:  83 percent chose bread ( economic ties with China) over romance (political independence) Taiwanese understood this interdependence is unavoidable, but over-dependence is risky.  Foreign Policy, 2021-4-14: Taiwan and China are locked in economic co-Dependence Japan Times, 2021-7-5: China could try to strangle Taiwan economically.  Global Times, 2021-9-20: Taiwan has a trade surplus of more than $100 billion a year with the Chinese mainland Bloomberg, 2022-8-6, NDTV, 2022-8-4: China is the biggest trading partner of Taiwan.  Exports to Mainland China are 40 per cent of total exports. But after China's largest ever drills around Taiwan to respond Pelosi's visit, New York Times (2022-8-7) comments the policy carrots that China has used to entice Taiwan toward unification may carry even less weight.

 

President Tsai (ruling party DPP) in her inauguration speech at 5-20-2020 reiterated that Taiwan calls for stability in China relations but would reject being ruled by China in the same way Hong Kong is.  Washington Post (7-22-2020) reports: In a major speech in January 2019, Xi offered an ultimatum to Taiwan to come to the table for unification talks or face annexation by force.  Then, in Mar., the PLA warplane crossed the Taiwan Strait "median line" that has served as a "de facto border" (Newsweek, 8-11-2020) or "the de facto cease-fire line" ( Japan's asia nikkei review, 8-13-2020) for the first time since the end of Chinese civil war in 1949 (Newsweek, 8-12-2020). However, Taiwan's government was tight-lipped about this ultimatum, a everyone's life-and-death issue,  according to National Interest (6-16-2020): more than 60.3 percent of the respondents opposed Taiwan's independence if it is followed by China's military invasion...

 

Yomiuri Shimbun, Opinion, 6-22-2017 stated the US is the key to keep the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait ("米国は台湾の防衛力強化を担っており、台湾海峡の平和と安定のカギを握る"。).   The United States,  Taiwan's most important protector,  “acknowledges” there is one China and Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially “recognized” Taiwan as part of China.  The US Congress passed a law ("Taiwan Relations Act") to commit the US to defend Taiwan's sovereignty, and provide necessary 'defensive' services.   After Biden's 4th remark about defending Taiwan in Sept. 2022, it looks like the US has moved from strategic ambiguity to deterrence...  But CNN (2022-9-20) comments Biden's remarks don't necessarily equate to how he would behave in a real crisis.  

 

Till Fall 2022, seeing US' actions on the Taiwan run counter to its clear political promise, the Chinese increasingly and really believe that the U.S. government is “salami slicing” and “hollowing out” the One China policy (US also blames China's salami-slicing behaviors against Taiwan ), as Beijing's ambitions grow and relations between the U.S. and China deteriorate.  Anyway, China has long assumed that the US would intervene to defend Taiwan - maybe not sending their troops.

 

After Vietnam war, Afghanistan withdrawal, and Ukraine-Russia war, Taiwan learns it must defend itself.  But Taiwan's defense budget remains scandalously low New York Times, 2022-5-7: US presses Taiwan to buy missiles and smaller arms for asymmetric warfare (Suited to Win Against China);  But some Taiwanese defense officials are resistant.   Foreign Policy (8-20-2020) comments Taiwan just focus on putting up a good show of being tough, buy enough U.S. weapons for display, and pray that Americans come to our rescue (Politico, 3-15-2021:Trump indicated (in 2019) America might not come to Taipei's defense in the event of a Chinese invasion.  ) Foreign Affairs, 2022-9-14: (US) military's most promising capabilities to counter China will not be ready until the 2030s...This creates a window of vulnerability for Taiwan, most likely between 2024 and 2027.  Instead of military reform, Taiwan volunteered to be a "front-liner" for the US (UDN (Taiwan, 2022-8-26) ).  The LOWY Institute ( Australia ), 6-16-2020 : The US treating Taiwan as a conduit to frustrate Beijing imperils Taiwan's security.  Lowy Institute, Australia,  2022-8-26  :  A NTU professor commented that the US is seemingly pushing China towards unifying Taiwan by force.

 

Taiwan also relies upon its computer chips as "silicon shield" to protect Taiwan.   Taiwan is the source of 90+ % of the most advanced computer chips relying upon importation of key components and advanced technology from the US  and Japan WSJ, 2021-6-19: The world relies on one chip maker in Taiwan, leaving everyone vulnerable.  That's one of the reasons we're trying to produce semiconductors here in the United States, Blinken told CBS (2022-9-25), this will take years to accomplish at the cost of trillions of dollars (National Interest, 2021-9-11) .   In May 2020, the US asked TSMC in Taiwan to build a factory in Arizona as a "Pressure Point" in tech. fight with China (N.Y. Times, 5-19-2020) , which may weaken Taiwan's security (Japan's日本経済新聞 Nikkei news, Nihon keizai shinbun ) .  Some analysts argue that calculations over supply chains are insignificant in a decision over war (NYT, 2022-8-29).

Taiwan is the 7th largest economy in Asia (Forbes, 2022-5-15: Taiwan is home to the world's 22nd largest economy), although its high-tech sector is falling behind for lacking of key tech. and its low pay to attract university-educated talent. (Taiwan lacks key tech. to make a large bus / CTN , 3-29-2017)   Global Wealth Report (Credit Suisse, Sept., 2022) shows Taiwanese' "Median wealth per adult", USD 113,940, is higher than Americans' USD93,270, but nation's share (Credit Suisse, Oct., 2018) world wealth (1.3%) is less than USA(31%), Japan(7.5%), China(16.4%) and Korea(2.2%).

 

 

 

 

 

  CovID-19 flare-up in Taiwan    (新冠肺炎專題)

◆   Guardian (UK), May 9,2022: Once a zero-Covid poster child, Taiwan learns to live with the virusexperts predict... up to 16,000 dead.   Rules and regulations change almost daily and incrementally. The death of a two-year-old boy last month highlighted communication failures exacerbated by Taiwan’s entrenched bureaucracy.  hospital ...colleagues are understaffed and overworked, there is not enough protective equipment or backup to replace staff who go on leave because they caught the virus...and are still subject to a pandemic ban on health workers leaving the country. theguardian.com/world/2022/may/09/once-a-zero-covid-poster-child-taiwan-learns-to-live-with-the-virus 

◆   New York Times , May 9,2022now moving from zero Covid to the path of coexisting with the virus... (1) quarantine requirements for travelers were stifling economic activity (2) Political considerations are also at play...in contrast to the authoritarian Communist Party of China The shift could also be risky for Taiwan's older adults.   brief from  nytimes.com/2022/05/09/world/asia/taiwan-china-covid.html

◆  Reuters, 2022-5-1:  Taiwan calls China's COVID lockdowns 'cruel' ;  China said Taiwan's new model of handling the pandemic would lead to many deaths.  news.yahoo.com/taiwan-calls-chinas-covid-lockdowns-022237316.html

 

ABC news, 2021-9-29: Taiwan lawmakers brawl amid anger over COVID response.   The KMT party called recently shortened quarantine requirements for pilots a “big breach”.   many Youtubers' comments were supportive of the brawl. Some praised the Kuomingtang for “becoming stronger.   abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/taiwan-lawmakers-break-brawl-policy-speech-80276994

Reuters, 9-28: Scuffles in Taiwan parliament, premier blocked from podium in COVID dispute .  The KMT members then scuffled with DPP counterparts and threw things at the dais...Taiwan's legislature does see unruly scenes from time to time and rivals have been known to punch each other.  news.yahoo.com/scuffles-taiwan-parliament-premier-blocked-102314300.html

New York Post, 9-28 In the ensuing melee, a few lawmakers were shoved to the ground and others poured out bottles of water onto their opponents.  Many had suspected the outbreak had come from pilots returning home who only had to do three-day quarantines. The original source of the May outbreak hasn't been officially confirmed.    nypost.com/2021/09/28/taiwan-lawmakers-brawl-during-policy-speech/