Taiwan's Internal and External Climate Policy Challenges
By: I-wei Jennifer Chang
On April 22-23, US President Joseph Biden hosted a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, inviting world leaders to take stronger action to combat global climate change, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Conference of the Parties, COP26) this November in Glasgow, Scotland. Biden pledged to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent (as compared to 2005 levels) by 2030. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who virtually attended the summit amid rising US-China tensions, did not make new commitments; instead, he reiterated Beijing’s earlier pledge to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality before 2060. That same day, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also said that her government is “actively planning” to reach the target of zero net emissions by 2050. The global push to combat climate change, especially the potential for US-China climate cooperation and competition, could serve as an impetus for much-needed domestic reforms related to Taiwan’s energy and climate policies.
Implications of US-China Tech War for Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry
By: Jeremy Huai-Che Chiang
Against the backdrop of worsening US-China relations, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry—including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC, 臺灣積體電路製造股份有限公司), which is the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer—has garnered unprecedented attention over the past year. Some have noted how TSMC’s halt of new Huawei orders after US restrictions in 2020 diminished the Chinese national champion’s ability to provide high-end smartphones. Others focused on how TSMC surpassed competitors such as Samsung and Intel to become the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturing firm, making it also a key chokepoint in producing cutting-edge devices such as the latest iPhones and PCs, but also US military-use chips critical to American security. With the manufacturing of chips now recognized as a critical "geopolitical imperative," TSMC’s value in the eyes of both the security community and the market has heightened significantly—raising both its value as well as highlighting the risks of over dependence.
By: J. Michael Cole
Illegal Crossings Highlight Need for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness in Taiwan Strait
In two separate incidents in late April and early May of 2021, two Chinese nationals used small rubber dinghies to illegally enter Taiwanese territory, raising questions about the motives behind these incidents, as well as possible blind spots in Taiwan’s security perimeter. In each of the two cases, a single Chinese national using a small craft was able to enter Taiwanese waters undetected. As this article shows, the stories—with intrusions off the waters of the outlying island of Kinmen and across the entire Taiwan Strait, with the boat finally being spotted at Taichung—do not add up. As the investigation into the two incidents continues, we can nevertheless speculate that the incidents could be part of efforts by Beijing to identify weaknesses in Taiwan’s maritime awareness.
By: Shirley Kan
A Strategic Review of "Strategic Ambiguity"
Before retiring at the end of April as the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), Admiral Philip Davidson waded into the sensitive issue of whether to jettison "strategic ambiguity." The debate ironically focuses on a US role in an unwanted conflict rather than in a preferred peaceful outcome for the geo-strategic question of Taiwan. Drifting from ambiguity to clarity is framed as a radically dangerous departure or a needed daring update in policy. Actually, this question is not bold enough. A strategic review that involves Congress is needed to protect US and allied interests in Taiwan as it faces China's threats. Here are three main reasons why policymakers should focus on strategic success, not just ambiguity.
Biden-Suga Summit Underpinned by Strong Taiwan-Japan Economic Relationship
By: Riley Walters
American President Joseph Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met in the Oval Office last month for what was a historic meeting for many reasons. Not only was Suga the first foreign leader to meet Biden in person since taking office, but also for the first time in nearly 51 years, the leaders put out a joint statement reaffirming the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The statement was well-received by all quarters of Taiwan, notably with Tsai Ming-yaw (蔡明耀), deputy head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, stating that "this is a historically important document. I would like to express my gratitude.”
* The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Global Taiwan Institute.
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