ISSUE 77                                                                                  February 4, 2021
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


Biden Administration: U.S. Commitments to Taiwan Rock-Solid
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that China poses a major challenge to the United States. The U.S. will ensure that China pays a price for any adverse action towards Taiwan.
(Photo from: China Times)
Featured News

U.S. National Security Advisor Warns China About Price of Invading Taiwan

China Times, January 29 and 31, 2021


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated on January 29 that the administration of President Joe Biden will review all the national security measures of the Trump administration, including the phase-one trade deal with China signed in January 2020. On the same day, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that China poses a major security challenge to the United States, and the U.S. must make China pay a price for its actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, as well as pressure towards Taiwan.


After assuming office as secretary of state, Antony Blinken expressed his views on U.S.-China relationship for the first time on January 27. He said that the relationship between the United States and China has adversarial and competitive aspects, but there is still room for cooperation. Blinken cited that both sides should work together to deal with climate change, for it is in the common interest of the two countries. Separately the White House announced on the same day the holding of a video conference on global climate change to be attended by leaders of major greenhouse gas emitting countries on April 22. President Biden may be able to meet with President Xi Jinping online at the summit.

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Featured Opinion
A commentator argues that President Joe Biden will use "realism" as the diplomatic strategy in handling the Taiwan issue.
(Photo from: China Times)

“5Rs” Represent New U.S. Strategy Towards China

By Shih Chi-ping

China Times, January 30, 2021


On January 18, a New York Times reporter revealed that President-Elect Joe Biden stated in an internal meeting that the new government in the United States would not sustain the foreign policy of the previous administration to provoke China on Taiwan. Biden said: "This is very important. This is the cornerstone of our diplomacy. Provoking China is not only meaningless but also extremely dangerous. If Taiwan is China's tail, stepping on it may inflict excruciating pain on China, but it will also plant an enormous time bomb for the United States and world peace." Biden's remarks provide a classic representative commentary on the realism of American diplomatic strategy.


Recently, many have speculated about American diplomacy under the new administration of President Joe Biden, especially its China policy. Observers have focused their analysis on key personnel appointments, such as secretary of state, national security adviser, secretary of defense, as well as related policy discourse and arguments. In this regard, the former bellicose faction is replaced by a rival, cooperative, and give-and-take faction, which of course conveyed some important messages.  But more importantly, why is there such a change? This question is related to the basic strategic thinking of President Biden and his administration, which I think, is informed by the following three factors:

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Featured Opinion
In a statement, the U.S. Department of State referred to President Tsai Ing-wen as a "democratically elected representative" instead of president, sparking discussion within Taiwan.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Ambiguity of Biden Administration's First Statement on Taiwan

By Sung Cheng-en

The Journalist, January 28, 2021


Not long after President Joe Biden took office in the United States, China immediately sent military aircraft to harass Taiwan on January 23 and 24. It is generally believed that apart from the practice and the entry of the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier fleet into the South China Sea, it is also a political test towards the Biden administration.


In response, the Biden administration quickly responded. On the evening of Saturday, January 23, the Department of State issued a statement condemning China for threatening regional peace and stability.

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This Week in Taiwan
Huang Fang-yen, a close supporter of former President Chen Shui-bian and former vice president of Shin Kong Hospital, absconded to the United States to escape charges of money laundering. On January 28, he was found dead after committing suicide inside a car in California.
(Photo from: China Times)
January 24: The People's Liberation Army (PLA) dispatched 13 military aircrafts into the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) off southwestern Taiwan, the largest-scale military disturbance by mainland China to date this year. The United States Department of State called upon Beijing to cease using military, diplomatic, and economic means to pressure Taiwan and to engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan's elected representatives. The State Department added that U.S. commitments to Taiwan are rock-solid in order to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. This is the first public discourse of policy stance on cross-strait relations since the administration of President Joe Biden took office. 
January 27: Since January, Taiwan has lifted import restrictions on American pork containing ractopamine. Spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian of mainland China's Taiwan Affairs Office, State Council, stated that due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza in Taiwan and in order to guard against risks, China strictly prohibits the import of meat products containing ractopamine from Taiwan. 
January 28: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the world exceeded 100 million on January 26. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that the order suspending transit flights through and foreigners from entering Taiwan will extend until the end of February. 
According to the COVID Performance Index published by the Australian think tank Lowy Institute for International Policy, Taiwan is highly ranked in terms of its epidemic prevention, the third among 98 countries and territories behind New Zealand and Vietnam. The United States and United Kingdom received subpar rankings of 94 and 66, respectively.
January 29: Huang Fang-yen, former vice president of Shin Kong Hospital and a close supporter of former President Chen Shui-bian, who was convicted of corruption charges, was found dead inside a car in Irvine, California, after absconding to the United States for some 12 years to escape money laundering charges. According to American police and autopsy examination, Huang committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. 
January 29: Global inventories of car chips are low, and the United States, Japan, and Europe wrote to Taiwan for assistance with increasing production. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the National Development Council assembled four semi-conductor manufacturers, including the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), on January 27 to discuss. Each of them expressed full willingness to cooperate in order to meet the international demand for automobile chips. In response to reporting by Bloomberg, American officials are planning to discuss car chip supply with the Taiwanese government and industry leaders. The MOEA stated that related supply chain talks will be held by video conference and will be attended by Minister Wang Mei-hua as well as various companies. 
January 29: According to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan, Taiwan's economic growth rate in 2020 was estimated at 2.98 percent. Thanks to successes in epidemic prevention, the Taiwanese economy performed brilliantly despite the pandemic. This is the first time in nearly three decades that Taiwan's economic growth rate not only trumped that of mainland China but also led those of developed countries.
Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation, Association of Foreign Relations, and Taipei Forum which provides coverage and perspectives on the latest developments in Taiwan.

The conclusions and recommendations of any Taiwan Weekly article are solely those of its author(s) and do not reflect the views of the institutions that publish the newsletter.

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