Beijing Omits 1992 Consensus on Taiwan, Proposes National Security Legislation on Hong Kong
The two sessions (i.e. the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) were held from May 22 to 28 in Beijing. (Photo from: Xinhua News Agency)
Hong Kong National Security Bill Shows that China Will No Longer Seek New Cross-Strait Consensus
Economic Daily News, May 22, 2020
The Two Sessions currently being held in Beijing, namely the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), recently dropped a bombshell related to national security issues on Hong Kong. On the evening of May 21, the NPC announced that agenda this year will include reviewing national security legislation related to Hong Kong. Vice Chairman Wang Chen of the NPC further explained at the opening ceremony that the legislation will authorize Chinese national security operations to set up agencies in Hong Kong.
The news brought immediate shock and attention internationally and is reflected in Hong Kong’s stock market plunge. The full name of this law is called the “draft decision to establish and improve a legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” This legislation would make criminal of any act that is against the central government, threatens the national sovereignty, involves terrorist violence or of foreign interference.
Amid rising cross-strait tensions, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has increased deployment of military aircrafts near Taiwan. Here, Taiwanese aircrafts fly to warn off mainland Chinese jets. (Photo from: Ministry of National Defense R.O.C)
How to Interpret Latest Remarks on Taiwan by Chinese Leaders
China Times, May 22, 2020
Political drama has come one after another with fanfare. Taiwan was denied participation again at the World Health Assembly (WHA) this year, and President Tsai Ing-wen reiterated her cross-strait policy of maintaining the status quo under the Constitution.
Mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of National Defense, responded pragmatically, and Chairman Wang Yang of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered remarks at the two sessions without mentioning the 1992 Consensus, emphasizing policies related to cross-strait exchanges and integration will not change. These developments underscore how cross-strait relations is faced with both crises and opportunities. Although not earth-shaking, the relationship is enshrouded with dark clouds.
The National People’s Congress will soon pass national security legislation on Hong Kong. Residents of the territory are protesting on the streets to oppose the bill. (Photo from: The Storm Media)
Cross-strait Relations under Beijing’s Wolf-Warrior Diplomacy
By Chao Chien-min United Daily News, May 23, 2020
In her inaugural address delivered on May 20, President Tsai Ing-wen asserted that her cross-strait policy would be based upon “peace” and “dialogue”. Two days later in his Report on the Work of the Government delivered to the General Assembly of the National People’s Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang mentioned cross-strait relations but neglected two key terms: the so-called “1992 Consensus” and “One Country, Two Systems.” Recent discussions have surfaced over the possibility of dialogue between Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Communist Party. Cross-strait relations is facing unprecedented changes, affected by mainland China’s domestic and international challenges.
May 19: The 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) took place on May 18 by video conference, but Taiwan did not have the opportunity to participate. The WHA decided to postpone the proposals by diplomatic allies to support Taiwan’s participation until the in-person meeting later this year. This is the fourth year that Taiwan has failed to participate in the WHA under the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen. The U.S. State Department criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for excluding Taiwan, undermining the organization’s credibility and effectiveness when the world needs it most.
May 20: President Tsai Ing-wen began her second term on May 20. In her inaugural address, President Tsai reaffirmed that her administration will conduct cross-strait relations according to the Republic of China Constitution and Act Governing Cross-Strait Relations, so as to promote peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. She also announced her plans to amend the Constitution and that a constitutional amendment committee will be established in the Legislative Yuan. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council immediately responded that supporters of Taiwan independence are colluding with external forces to undermine cross-strait peace. Mainland Chinese academics worry that constitutional amendment is for Tsai to carry out formal independence, and confrontation and hostility across the strait are to be expected over the next four years.
May 21: On Twitter, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the United States congratulated "Taiwan's President" Tsai Ing-wen on her inauguration. On May 20, the U.S. State Department announced approval of the sale of 18 Mark 48 AT heavy-weight submarine-launched torpedoes and related equipment, totaling US$180 million. The arms sale is an addition to 46 of the same torpedoes sold in June 2016. But three years ago, the total price was $250 million, an average of $5.4 million per unit, while the unit price this time is $10 million, double the price.
May 21: The Kuomintang (KMT) caucus of the Legislative Yuan held a press conference. According to the information leaked by a top Presidential Office staffer, documents referring to President Tsai Ing-wen’s campaign attacks of Vice President Lai Ching-te during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential primary last year seem highly authentic. The caucus asked how Vice President Lai should feel working at the Office of the President? Chairwoman Wang Yu-min of the KMT’s Culture and Communications Committee criticized the Office of the President of using public apparatus to run Tsai’s private campaign and called upon the people to discover the truth together.
May 22: The Legislative Yuan passed the Farmers’ Pension Act, which will come effect starting 2021. The Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, estimates that the new regulations will apply to 450,000 people. For example, if a farmer contributes the maximum of 10 percent from 30 to 65 years old, then he will receive about NT$37,000 (about US$1,230) per month from his senior farmer’s subsidy and retirement pension.
May 22: According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), Executive Yuan, Taiwan’s unemployment rate was 4.03 percent in April. The unemployment rate has risen three consecutive months, with the number of unemployed rising by 41,000 a month. The Ministry of Labor is expected to launch a Secure Employment Plan in June, which will provide NT$5,000 (about US$166) per month in employment grants to encourage employers to offer job opportunities to employees who were involuntarily discharged.