Escalating Clarity without Fighting: Countering Gray Zone Warfare against Taiwan (Part 2)
By: Eric Chan
Over the last few years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has transformed a largely ineffective, decades-old carrot-and-stick approach to unification with Taiwan into a coordinated gray-zone warfare campaign that seeks to exhaust Taiwan’s defense forces and undermine the morale of Taiwanese people. Against this type of campaign, standard US and Taiwan modes of deterrence and signaling are ineffective—even if the United States were to openly adopt a policy of strategic clarity, which would only come into effect if the People’s Republic of China (PRC) chose to invade. In Part 1, I discussed the utility of creating a set of escalating responses to PRC gray zone warfare in the air, which would serve to both impose costs on the CCP and deter the Party from open warfare. In this part, I will look at the gray zone campaign on the sea, again with possible US and Taiwan responses.
Prospects of Leveraging Taiwan's Semiconductor Power for a Taiwan-EU Bilateral Investment Agreement
By: I-wei Jennifer Chang
On May 10, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) spoke at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, highlighting cooperative relations between the island-democracy and the European Union (EU). “Taiwan will continue to engage with the EU and other democratic partners to establish a more resilient supply of critical goods such as semiconductors and medical supplies,” she said in a video message broadcast at the summit. As EU countries have requested Taiwan’s assistance in relieving a global semiconductor chip shortage, Taiwan, which ranks as the EU’s sixth-largest trade partner in Asia, has in turn urged EU partners to work towards a potential Taiwan-EU bilateral investment agreement (BIA).
By: J. Michael Cole
Critical Infrastructure Remains a Blind Spot in Taiwan's Defense Preparedness
Two rolling blackouts across Taiwan, occurring within the space of a week in May—both resulting from malfunctions at Taiwan Power Company’s (Taipower, 台電) Hsinta Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung—have raised concerns about the vulnerability of Taiwan’s infrastructure to potential cyber or kinetic attacks by China.The short-term power outages occurred on May 13 and May 17, affecting hundreds of thousands of households nationwide in select rationing areas. Coinciding with an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases in northern Taiwan, the blackouts fueled rumors online that Beijing may have been attempting to exploit a moment of distraction in Taiwan to probe its energy grid, with a view to exacerbating pressure on the central government. The government dispelled such rumors, and Taipower provided explanations regarding the twin incidents and reasons for the blackouts.
By: John Dotson
Spring 2021 Activities by China's United Front Bureaucracy for Taiwan
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s sprawling united front (統一戰線) bureaucracy remains one of its key mechanisms for implementing policy towards Taiwan. In order to maintain a veneer of pluralism and representation for Taiwan within the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s one-party system—while excluding any persons or organizations who might possess actual democratic legitimacy as representatives of Taiwan—the CCP maintains a tightly-controlled network of united front organizations focused on the island.
Reconsidering Taiwan's Place in the International Order: Lessons from the WHO and ICAO
By: Michael Mazza
Speaking at the ceremony announcing the signing of the US-Taiwan memorandum of understanding on coast guard cooperation, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) vowed to work with the United States “to together defend our commonly cherished values of democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rules-based order.” A commitment to “upholding the rules-based international order” is a running theme in the statements of senior Taiwanese officials. Addressing the Copenhagen Democracy Forum last month, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) herself fretted that “authoritarian states are now looking to alter the rules-based global order by taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.” On the one hand, it is natural for a small state like Taiwan to be invested in a rules-based order, given that those rules—in theory—also bind bigger countries to certain modes of interaction. It puts everybody—in theory—on equal footing. On the other hand, the current order is inimical to Taiwan’s interests in important ways, mainly due to Taiwan’s exclusion from key parts of that order. Perhaps it is time for Taiwan to move on from pursuing participation in an order that rejects it, and instead advance creative proposals for overhauling that order entirely.
* 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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