Lee Hsien Loong: Cross-Strait Situation At Risk of Misjudgment, U.S. Stance Crucial
According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, Taiwan will not have a conflict "tomorrow," but there exist mid-term risks. He advised the U.S. not to misjudge the situation in the strait and regard mainland China as an enemy.
United Daily News)
Lee Hsien Loong: Cross-Strait Situation At Risk of Misjudgment
United Daily News, August 5, 2021
When speaking about the situation in the Taiwan Strait on August 3, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore said that mainland China will not unilaterally take action against Taiwan, but there is a big danger with possible misjudgments or accidents. He believes that there won’t be a conflict in Taiwan "tomorrow," but there is a "mid-term" risk. He also advised the United States not to treat the mainland as an enemy or attempt to form a gang to fight the mainland, because the economic and trade relations between countries and the mainland are now closely tied. It is unlikely that it will be like back then, with the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and everyone splitting in different camps.
On the evening of August 3, Lee attended the Aspen Security Forum held in the United States via video call, and had conversations with the New Yorker Magazine writer Evan Osnos on topics such as international cooperation and Sino-U.S. relations. He emphasized that for mainland Chinese people, the Taiwan issue is at the center of core interests and the most important national issue, and "Taiwan independence" is viewed as an absolute red line.
Based on the Republic of China Constitution and Act Governing Cross-Strait Relations, a commentator suggests that defining the two sides of the Taiwan Strait as "One Country, Two Areas" may mitigate the current predicament in cross-strait relations.
Use "One Country, Two Areas" to Relieve Miscalculation in the Taiwan Strait
By Kao Koong-lian
United Daily News, August 7, 2021
A newspaper reported that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore talked about the situation in the Taiwan Strait. He did not think mainland China would make a unilateral move against Taiwan, but warned about a danger of mass miscalculation and mishap. The major risks to Taiwan are the deterioration of cross-strait relations and the tilt of Taiwan independence. Mainland China has always regarded Taiwan as its "core interest" and will never waver, and Lee Hsien Loong pointed out that even the mainland population has held this view. Recently, Taiwanese popular entertainer Dee Hsu, better known as "Little S," posted her support for Taiwan's Olympic athletes, referring them as "national team members" which set off boycott by mainland netizens, costed her endorsement deals with mainland Chinese companies.
Lee Hsien Loong pointed out that the "1992 Consensus" is a viable way to maintain relations and develop cooperation between the two sides of the strait. However, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has stigmatized the 1992 Consensus, and distorted it to equate with "One Country, Two Systems." The original 1992 Consensus was to create an ambiguous space for each to have its own interpretation of "one China". allowing each side to back down; but the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has refused to accept it, resulting in a stalemate.
Incumbent Chairman Johnny Chiang and former Chairman Eric Chu are the main competitors in the upcoming Kuomintang (KMT) chairmanship election.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
Who Can Lead Kuomintang Out of Four Predicaments: Eric Chu or Johnny Chiang?
The Storm Media, August 4, 2021
The chairmanship election of Kuomintang (KMT) was originally scheduled in June this year, but because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it will be delayed until September 25. This election will have great impact on the nine-in-one local elections next year and the presidential and legislative elections in 2024. After KMT lost the local elections in 2014, with the exception in 2018, its popularity rate has continued to slip. Whether the KMT can reverse the losing trend and rebuild itself depends heavily on who will lead the KMT after the election.
It is almost certain that the candidates for the KMT chairman will be Johnny Chiang, the incumbent chairman, and Eric Chu, former chairman and former mayor of New Taipei. Chu’s biggest weakness is his previous records of indecisiveness when he avoided the battles of presidential election and the by-election of KMT chairman last year. KMT supporters doubt whether Chu has the guts to lead KMT to re-emerge from failures.
The Chinse Taipei Olympic delegation garnered two gold, four silver, and six bronze medals in the 2020 Olympics, recording the best results in the team's history.
United Daily News)
August 2: In a Facebook post, former Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu announced his candidacy for the party's chairmanship. Chu stated that the status quo must change and that hope comes with change. Chu promised that after taking office, he will launch a 2022 election strategy task force. Regarding the 2024 election, Chu proposed to selflessly launch the strongest candidate so that the KMT may return to power.
The KMT chairmanship election is scheduled to be held September 25. KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang already announced his re-election bid. Chu's candidacy is seen as the greatest challenge to Chairman Chiang's re-election.
August 3: In order to protect Taiwan's core technologies, the Mainland Affairs Council announced proposed amendments to Article 9 and Article 91 of the Act Governing Cross-Strait Relations, regulating those personnel related to national core technologies, including those entrusted or subsidized by government agencies up to a certain level, must undergo review and receive permission to travel to mainland China. Those who travel to the mainland without authorization may be fined up to NT$10 million (about US$359,000).
August 3: The pandemic in Taipei and New Taipei slowed down. Starting August 3, restaurants opened for dine-in under certain conditions. Mayor Ko Wen-je of Taipei stated that dine-in will be open for an observation period of two weeks. Dine-in will be canceled if the pandemic were to become more serious. Mayor Hou Yu-ih of New Taipei proposed two metrics. If the Delta variant were to enter new Taipei, or the pandemic were to become more serious, dine-in would be banned again.
With the exception of Chiayi county and city which saw the outbreak of cluster infection in local factories and will assess the situation until August 6, all restaurants across Taiwan have re-opened for dine-in.
August 4: Limited stock of AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines remains. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center, stated that the Medigen vaccine will be available for inoculation as soon as late August. But the information literature on the Medigen vaccine provided by the Centers for Disease Control, did not provide any data on efficacy. Chen confessed that because the Medigen vaccine did not complete third-phase clinical trials, efficacy data is not available. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je blasted, why is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration forcing the Taiwanese people to receive the Medigen vaccine? Who left the people with no choice?
August 4: In an exclusive interview with Voice of America, Lee Hsi-ming, former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, indicated that Taiwan's security cannot rest upon mainland China's goodwill or American friendship. The only way out is by building a "hedgehog Taiwan" and asymmetric power so as to thwart Communist China's military aims.
According to Lee, Taiwan should only use the smallest part of its resources on traditional combat power and invest most resources in asymmetric combat power. Only these small, lethal, and mobile weapons have real survivability on the battlefield, and they are cheap, so they should constitute Taiwan's main military purchases. For example, numerous miniature missile speedboats can move quickly in more than 200 fishing ports in Taiwan, and China's long-range missiles cannot hit them. Otherwise, as long as the People's Liberation Army blows up a port, large ships would become useless.
Update: According to media reports on August 9, the Navy originally planned to build 60 missile assault boats. Because the Harpoon missiles sold by the United States can serve as substitute, the Navy withdrawn its earlier plan, with NT$200 million (about US$7.1 million) in design fees spent in vain.
August 5: The United States government announced on August 4 the sale of 40 units of M109A6 self-propelled howitzer and related components to Taiwan for a total of US$750 million. The Congress has been notified of the sale, and it is expected to take effect in a month.
This is the first arms sale since the administration of President Joe Biden took office. The Office of the President, Ministry of National Defense, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed gratitude.
According to military experts, the M109A6 self-propelled howitzer has better maneuverability and fast-moving speed, making it suitable for procurement by Taiwan. The M109A5 in active service has been in use for more than 20 years.
August 7: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics closed on August 8. The Chinese Taipei Olympic delegation concluded all athletic contests on August 7, accumulating two gold, four silver, and six bronze medals, the best results in the team's history. A total of NT$208.55 million (about US$7.5 million) in Guo Guang scholarships will be awarded, including NT$40.9 million (about US$1.47 million) for coaches.
According to the Regulations Governing the Issuance of Guo Guang Athletic Medals and Scholarships, athletes who place first to eighth may apply for bonus money. Gold medalists are eligible for NT$20 million (about US$718,000), silver NT$7 million (about US$251,000), and bronze (about $179,000). Even eighth place is eligible for NT$900,000 (about US$32,000).
Compared with other countries, Taiwan's US$718,855 is the third highest medal bonus, behind Georgia's US$1.35 million and Singapore's US$839,000.
August 7: Due to heavy rain, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung, and Heping District of Taichung suspended classes and work, and agricultural losses amounted to NT$178 million (about US$6.4 million). Disasters occurred throughout Taiwan. In Kaohsiung, two major cracks emerged, and five large potholes formed over six days. Muddy water rushed into residences in the mountains of Kaohsiung and Pingtung, and more than 2,000 individuals evacuated in Kaohsiung. The Taiwan High Speed Rail was also suspended in both directions from Miaoli to Taichung, which is rare.
Typhoon Lupit weakened into a tropical depression. The center of the storm made landfall along the coast of Hsinchu on the morning of August 7. The dual impact of outer circulation and southwesterly air brought considerable rainfall.