Friday, April 28, 2017

Latest Nelson Report

A waterfall feeds a river gorge below Caoling.

The Latest Nelson Report with some comments on Taiwan (bold emphasis mine, red in original). Click on Read more...


LINES ON MAPS...remember a week or so ago when Japan issued a map showing a couple of hundred islands with Japanese names? Beijing today took it a potentially dangerous step further, defining into "law" some enforcement rights:

China revises mapping law to bolster territorial claims
Author: Christian Shepherd
The Chinese government passed a law today that creates new fines to "intimidate" foreigners who conduct mapping exercises without government authority, in a bid to maintain Chinese territorial claims. The new law, passed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, is the latest in a series of reforms by President Xi Jinping that ostensibly are for the protection of state secrets and promoting national security. Spokesman He Shaoren said that the law is to educate the Chinese people of the extent of Chinese territorial claims, and that maps that "incorrectly draw the countries boundaries... objectively damage the completeness of our national territory." The law mandates that any national maps published in China must be done in accordance with official mapping standards. Deputy head of the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping Song Chaozhi said that foreigners hoping to conduct surveying in China must agree not to endanger Chinese national security or state secrets.


LOYAL READER MAILBOX...TAIWAN...Your Editor is chagrined that our inclusion of a S. China Morning Post article was seen as a "dig" on Pres. Tsai, which was certainly not intended:

Hi there Chris and Terrence,

I find the dig at President Tsai Ing-wen (Nelson Report April 24th 2017) based on the China Post commentary not very helpful in understanding Taiwan. First, the China Post is a partisan rag, that represents the ultra-right pro-unification side of life in Taiwan, and as we have seen, that side of the spectrum is in tatters. The main thing they try to do to survive is hacking away at President Tsai and her government.

Second, yes there was an opinion poll which reflected a growing criticism of the Tsai government. Here is a link to a very balanced description of the poll results:

But it is important to understand where the dissatisfaction is coming from: I just spent three months in Taiwan, and I can attest to the fact that it is primarily from people in her powerbase who are disappointed that she is not moving fast enough and forcefully enough on a number of domestic issues, such as the Kuomintang's illegal assets, judicial reform (a number of prosecutors and judges from the martial law period are still in office...), economic reforms and legislative reform. In other words, the people in the green camp who voted for her, who have high expectations, and who want to see quick results.

However, President Tsai is known to be a thoughtful person who moves cautiously, who doesn't want to rule by decree (like some folks here in DC), and who wants people to work things out through democratic processes. This necessarily requires more time, and is now leading to tension between those on the greener side of the political spectrum, and Tsai and her government who has vowed to be President of all Taiwanese.

Third, overall there is widespread support for President Tsai's cross-Strait policies, as shown in this other recent opinion poll: ("nearly 70 percent of those polled expressed support for Tsai's cross-strait policy"). So, the dissatisfaction is purely driven by domestic issues, where particularly the increasingly vocal civic groups feel she should move more decisively and faster.

The folks who voted for the KMT last year, and particularly those who read and write the China Post, are not more than a noisy right-wing fringe. Hope this helps in a better understanding of the Taiwan situation by your readers,

Best regards,

Gerrit van der Wees

AND THIS...from a Loyal Reader worried about the implications of the following interview, followed by "informed expert" perspective, saying read it carefully:


Taiwan president says phone call with Trump can take place again

By Jean Yoon and J.R. Wu | TAIPEI
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said a direct phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump could take place again and she urged the self-ruled island's political rival China to step up to its global responsibility to keep the peace as a large nation.

"We have the opportunity to communicate more directly with the U.S. government," Tsai told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Thursday. "We don't exclude the opportunity to call President Trump himself, but it depends on the needs of the situation and the U.S. government's consideration of regional affairs."

The interview was the first since Trump, as U.S. President-elect, took a congratulatory phone call from Tsai in early December.

It was the first contact between a leader of Taiwan and an incumbent or incoming U.S. president in nearly four decades and Trump cast doubt on Washington's long-standing policy of acknowledging Beijing's "one China" policy, which claims Taiwan is a part of China.

The call angered Beijing because it fears contacts between Taiwan and government leaders would confer sovereignty on the island. Democratic Taiwan, self-ruled since 1949, has no interest in being ruled by autocratic China. However, Trump agreed to honour the "one China" policy in February and then hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort earlier this month.


Despite this, Tsai said Taiwan's ties with the United States have been improving. She said Taiwan may need to buy from its sole arms supplier the most advanced stealth jet in the U.S. arsenal. "We don't rule out any items that would be meaningful to our defence and our defence strategy and the F-35 is one such item," said Tsai, in the first remarks by a top Taiwanese official on the matter. Taiwan will eventually have to submit a weapons purchase list during talks with Washington. Tsai said, however, senior officials were not yet in place in the Trump administration to handle the issue.

China's Defence Ministry said on Thursday it was resolutely opposed to any country selling arms to Taiwan. Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun made the comment at a monthly news briefing in Beijing when asked about the possible sale of F-35 fighter jets from the United States to Taiwan. Speaking from the Presidential Office as she nears her first year anniversary in office, Tsai urged Xi to act like a leader.

Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control, and froze official communication channels with Taipei soon after Tsai and her independence-leaning party took power. Tsai has said she wants to maintain peace with China, but that her government won't bow to pressure from China.

China continues to pressure Taiwan, Tsai said, adding that the upcoming May meeting of the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) would be an important benchmark for relations between the two sides. Taiwan has said it is facing a more complicated task this year in securing an invitation for the meeting after Beijing last year warned that acceptance of the "one China" principle was a condition for Taiwan's attendance.

Most major nations and multilateral organizations, like the WHO which falls under the United Nations, formally recognise China.

The case of Taiwan activist Li Ming-che detained last month in China on suspicion of endangering national security was another major issue that would test ties, Tsai said, in rare public comments on the issue. Li's family and the Taiwan government have been frustrated at not being told where Li is being held or what charges he may face. "If China does not properly handle this, the people of Taiwan will feel uneasy," Tsai said. "I think that this will seriously hurt cross-Strait relations."

When she first took office, China slammed Tsai's inaugural speech as offering an "incomplete answer" to what it called an exam on bilateral relations. Tsai said: "Why not say we both are facing a new exam. We also look forward to China using a different perspective to face this new exam."

"China now needs to have its own sense of responsibility," Tsai said, adding that the world was changing and China must change too. "I hope Chairman Xi Jinping, as a leader of a large country and who sees himself as a leader, can show a pattern and flexibility, use a different angle to look at cross-Strait relations, and allow the future of cross-Strait ties to have a different kind of pattern."

Recalling her historic call with Trump, Tsai talked about more possibilities. "My first feeling was that this is a new (Trump) government and perhaps under this new government there will be many different possibilities that appear," Tsai said. She tweeted congratulations to Trump minutes after he took office in January, and when asked if she might tweet him again, Tsai said: "Might not be a bad idea. I'll give some thought to it."

(Reporting by Jean Yoon and J.R. Wu; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

COMMENT by an informed player who must be "ANON":

Chris, please note what President Tsai said:

"We don't exclude the opportunity to call President Trump himself, but it depends on the needs of the situation and the U.S. government's consideration of regional affairs."

Also note:

"My first feeling was that this is a new (Trump) government and perhaps under this new government there will be many different possibilities that appear," Tsai said.


There has been lots of chatter, at least by our Republican friends, about "many different possibilities" that might appear re Taiwan. In fact, the Taiwan hands at State are certainly thinking along these lines as well.

Phone calls might be a stretch, of course, but AIT's Moriarty is in Taiwan as I write on a "Global Cooperative Training Framework" meeting that has pulled together reps of many countries in the region to discuss mosquito borne diseases. One small measure of how the USG is trying to create some international space for Taiwan...

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

President Tsai was setup by Reuters. She forget that news organisation will do anything to get "exclusive" headline. Tsai needs to learn from this experience.