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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.

The Very Important Persons: Our Beautiful Women
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
The Very Important Persons: Our Beautiful Women

F Sionil José, writer, in his Hindsight column in The Philippine Star (October 5, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Rey Baniquet/Presidential Communications Operations Office)

The Very Important Persons: Our Beautiful Women

With so many town fiestas and beauty pageants, it is perhaps not surprising that we have produced several beauties that have had global appeal. Indeed, our country is known for its beautiful women. But it is not just physical allure that makes them stand out. From way, way back our women were also leaders, strong and far ahead of most women in other countries. Our women were never fragile lilies. In our struggle against colonialism, they were revolutionaries, guerrillas. Now, they permeate all the professions.

In politics, we were never short of women who have served with commitment and virtue in government. Among them, in the postwar period, were first female senator Geronima Pecson; educator, writer and politician Leticia Ramos-Shahani; and academic, lawyer and political figure Miriam Defensor Santiago. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Loren Legarda and retired associate justice of the Supreme Court Conchita Carpio-Morales are my candidates in the next election.

To this list I will single out Vice President Leni Robredo, whose magnificent sangfroid blunted all the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism. It has been a custom in the past for vice presidents – the so-called spare tire – to be given high positions in government. But belonging to a different party from the president’s, Leni was not granted that kind of distinction. A lawyer and former member of Congress, she would have been ideal as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare. Like her husband Jesse, who was a virtuous public official, she could have brought transparency to a government that is fogged with corruption.

We have so many women making all the difference, performing interesting jobs that contribute to the development of this nation.  


Shared Prosperity Beyond the Belt and Road
Monday, October 5, 2020
Shared Prosperity Beyond the Belt and Road

Xie Yuhang, writer, in Oriental Daily (October 2, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: testing / Shutterstock.com)

Shared Prosperity Beyond the Belt and Road

Malaysia and China’s friendly relations have been built upon a long history of common interests and prosperity. In 2019, Malaysia became China’s second biggest trading partner among Southeast Asian nations.

In September 2013, China unveiled the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a development strategy to connect the East and the West, while repositioning China as a global trade and commercial center. China proposes to achieve this goal by addressing the infrastructure gap, such as investment in roads and ports, within emerging markets.

As a country whose main income is derived by exports, especially in the commodity trade and electronics/semiconductor supply chains, Malaysia’s economy is heavily exposed to sudden changes in market demand and prices. The urban-rural gap in Malaysia has exposed obvious systemic flaws. For Malaysia to develop further, the government needs to solve its own infrastructure gap. The BRI can help with this thanks to China's expertise in large-scale infrastructure development and development-financing institutions.

As the world gradually recovers from the pandemic, countries are thinking about the most effective recovery strategies. Both Malaysia and China have taken effective measures to control quickly the epidemic and resume economic activities. The progress may not be as fast as expected, because control measures remain in place and the borders are not open. The pace of recovery between Malaysia and China, however, is still faster than other countries.

It is not impossible for both countries to resume previous levels of economic growth. The Malaysian and Chinese governments should seek ways to enable the two countries to work more closely together on flagship projects to create greater value and win-win situations (such as the East Coast Railway). Through stronger Malaysia-China relations both countries can usher in a new generation of peace and prosperity for the 21st century.


To Maintain Cross-Strait Peace, Curb "Taiwan Independence”
Thursday, October 1, 2020
To Maintain Cross-Strait Peace, Curb "Taiwan Independence”

 Zhou Zhihuai, Executive Director, National Society of Taiwan Studies, in Global Times (September 21, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan)

To Maintain Cross-Strait Peace, Curb "Taiwan Independence”

After Tsai Ing-wen and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the 2020 Taiwan elections, the debate over the issue of "peace and war" across the Taiwan Strait has become a prominent topic. Maintaining peace and ensuring the peaceful development of cross-strait relations have been consistently upheld by the Communist Party of China and its leadership. This highlights the mainland’s sincere desire for future generations on both sides to share a beautiful life in long-term peace

But this must be based on the common political foundation of "the mainland and Taiwan belonging to one China" and requires opposing "Taiwan independence". The mainland is resolutely against this precisely to avoid war and ensure that the country can achieve peaceful reunification. Ever since Lee Teng-hui came to power in 1988, conflicts in the political, foreign affairs and military fields have always stemmed from separatist activities.

After Tsai came to power, the situation has entered a new period of danger and peace has been increasingly challenged. While Tsai's administration has acted recklessly, "independence" forces have received strong external support.  Since 2016, the US has strengthened its influence over Taiwan in terms of local politics and the military. It has used Taiwan as a “pawn” against China and tried to undermine any form of peaceful reunification. The long-term involvement of foreign forces is therefore a serious threat to peace.

Historically, people in Taiwan held no sense of the value of cross-strait peace, but now they are equally insensitive to the evolving crisis. Once peace is lost, neither the DPP nor external forces will be able to piece together the broken pieces. Peace on both sides of the strait is what the people want. Only when the Tsai can reaffirm the 1992 Consensus can the two sides resume dialogue to strengthen peace.


Caution Required: Economic Cooperation with the US may Create Dependency
Friday, September 25, 2020
Caution Required: Economic Cooperation with the US may Create Dependency

Ko Yu-chih, Associate Professor, Department of Diplomacy, National Chengchi University, in China Times (September 24, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Wang Yu-ching/Office of the President, Taiwan)

Caution Required: Economic Cooperation with the US may Create Dependency

On August 9, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led a delegation to Taiwan. On September 17, a delegation led by Keith Krach, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, arrived in Taipei. The results of the two visits were mixed. Azar and Krach are the highest-ranking US officials to visit Taiwan since 1979. While Azar’s visit was open and formal, Krach’s was low-key and informal. This raises questions over the true intentions of the US.

The Azar delegation not only met President Tsai Ing-wen, but they also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). Meanwhile, the Krach delegation’s itinerary was not confirmed publicly beforehand and the format minimized intergovernmental meetings.

Azar’s delegation visited to discuss Covid-19 and public health cooperation, while Krach’s delegation was engaged in “funeral diplomacy”, attending the memorial service of former president Lee Teng-hui. The subsequent exchanges with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on US-Taiwan economic cooperation took place on the sidelines.

The two delegations will provide a boost to the current government, given that Taiwan’s international recognition has been gradually reduced. The excessively low-key nature of the Krach delegation, however, highlights the caution of US diplomats in deepening economic relations and suggests that the Washington has no desire in provoking Beijing.

While Azar’s delegation signed a MoU, it did not cover vaccine cooperation, an area to which Taiwan is eager to contribute. Meanwhile, Krach’s delegation was particularly interested in Taiwan's screening of foreign investments. This could end up dragging Taiwan into the Sino-US trade war or giving the US the right to intervene in Taiwan’s investment review processes. The government must be cautious as this could ultimately make Taiwan more dependent on the US. 


Marcos Revisited: He Didn’t Have Strong Policies
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Marcos Revisited: He Didn’t Have Strong Policies

Richard Heydarian, Research Fellow at National Chengchi University in Taiwan, in his column Horizons in Philippine Daily Inquirer (September 22, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Bro Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ)

Marcos Revisited: He Didn’t Have Strong Policies

“Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, be considered for a national burial,” lamented the late Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. “[Marcos] might have started off as a hero but ended up as a crook.”

What made Lee a legendary leader was his uncompromising work ethic, deep grasp of global geopolitics, ability to maintain optimal ties with both the West and the East, and zero tolerance for corruption and incompetence. Under his watch, Singapore developed one of the world’s centers of bureaucratic excellence. But even more impressive were his counterparts in neighboring Taiwan, South Korea and, later, post-Mao China. Unlike Marcos, or even Lee, the leaders of these countries oversaw the establishment of global brands and industries, from Hyundai (South Korea) to HTC (Taiwan) to Huawei (China).

So, what was the secret of their success? The first thing one notices is that it’s not about form of government or even type of regime. China remains a single-party communist regime, while Taiwan and South Korea, with their own unique presidential systems, have become even more dynamic since their transition to democracy in the 1980s.

Whether authoritarian or democratic, they have had remarkable economic performance. Clearly, it is not also about “race” or “culture” per se, since all of these countries were extremely poor just a few generations ago.

What is common in the success stories of these NICs (newly industrialized countries) is their well-organized, autonomous and competent bureaucracies, which have maintained national dynamism through proactive trade and industrial policies. The Philippines’ main problem is that it never had a “strong” state with a combination of “policy autonomy” and “functional capacity” to discipline the oligarchs and promote national interest.


With China as Backdrop, New Delhi’s Moscow Watch
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
With China as Backdrop, New Delhi’s Moscow Watch

Harsh V Pant, Professor of International Relations at King’s College London, and Director of Research, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), and Nivedita Kapoor, Junior Fellow, ORF, in The Hindu (September 22, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India)

With China as Backdrop, New Delhi’s Moscow Watch

As India-China tensions along their border continue to escalate, India pulled out of military exercises organized by Russia, where it was scheduled to participate alongside other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states. While Covid-19 was cited as the official reason, the border situation with China likely prompted this decision.

In June, the Russian, Indian and Chinese foreign ministers met in Moscow after the violent border clashes between Chinese and Indian troops. The meeting ended with no communiqué. Moscow has been playing a quiet diplomatic role without taking sides. India and Russia are pragmatic players aiming to maximize strategic maneuverability. Both recognize the value of having a diversified portfolio of ties.

The combination of a changing regional order, closer Russia-China ties, and India’s alignment with the US and other like-minded countries to manage Beijing’s rise has the potential to create hurdles for India-Russia cooperation in Asia.

While India would like to secure Russian support in this changing Asian regional order, the latter has seen China become its key partner as relations with the West have hit a new post-Cold War low. India for its part has sought to include Russia in its vision of the Indo-Pacific that does not see the region as “a strategy or as a club of limited members”.

A world split into two blocs would be detrimental to the interests of both New Delhi and Moscow, making it imperative that contradictions in their respective policies are managed pragmatically while taking a long-term view of the strategic partnership. Although the evolving global order makes it difficult for India and Russia to pursue convergent policies, it does not preclude the relationship from retaining relevance. The strategic space both provide the other is critical and underscores the need to insulate their relationship from the vagaries of the international system.


Society Faces Challenges Beyond the Cycles of Protests
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Society Faces Challenges Beyond the Cycles of Protests

Pravit Rojanaphruk, Senior Staff Writer, in Khaosod (September 19, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: from video by prachatai)

Society Faces Challenges Beyond the Cycles of Protests

The major anti-government protests will not only be about demands – but also about numbers, legitimacy, and how to coexist with those who disagree with you. Anyone can make demands or counter-demands, to their hearts’ content. Being able to achieve their goals without violence or suppressing others is another story.

Whatever the numbers both sides may claim, both the protesters and royalists have to bear in mind that they cannot escape or avoid one another. They cannot wave a magic wand in hope that there will be no more opposition and resistance to their respective “idealized” version of a desired Thai society.

Can there be a compromise, an accommodation of one another – or will it have to be another zero-sum game with no middle ground, with violence, a military coup or people’s revolt as the only outcome?

Thai history shows that change, including regime change, by force is much more common than peaceful transition and transformation. Now both sides, particularly the government of Gen Prayut Chan-ocha must ensure peace and guarantee the right to peaceful assembly.

To make the matter more complicated is the fact that even among the anti-government alliance, they seem to still differ on the priority of what should come first, Is it a new charter, new elections or monarchy reforms?

Many on the side of the protests are young. All sides do not need to repeat the same mistake of the violent past and instead seek a common solution that is peaceful. The time has also come for the young protest leadership to make its movement not just democratic by name but democratic and participatory and transparent in how it is being run.

Thai society faces challenges beyond protests and counter-protests. We have to learn how to deal with them and resolve them peacefully and democratically.


US-China Relations Prompts Shifts in the Semiconductor Sector
Friday, September 18, 2020
US-China Relations Prompts Shifts in the Semiconductor Sector

An Yuhua, Professor of Finance at Sungkyunkwan University Graduate School of China, in Digital Times (September 15, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: SK hynix)

US-China Relations Prompts Shifts in the Semiconductor Sector

Despite the attempt of the US to gain the upper hand over China through aggressive trade policies, whether or not these measures actually serve American interests remains questionable. The US is leading in the global semiconductor industry, while Japan specializes in the supply of strategic chemical materials, the EU in lithography patents, Korea in dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), and Taiwan in foundry and packaging. Despite this landscape where each economy has its comparative advantage, China will now be forced to build an integrated semiconductor industry.

This is both good and bad news for the Korean semiconductor companies. On the one hand, China could potentially become an alternative source for Korean companies that heavily depend on Japanese suppliers and face the risk of a supply cut during political conflict. On the other hand, Chinese progress in memory technology could upend the current comparative advantage of Korean firms. Especially given the scale and massive support Chinese firms may enjoy, once Chinese technology catches up and there is a price war, it will only be a matter of time before South Korean players drop out.

Semiconductors are an indispensable economic base for the South Korean economy. Over the past 10 years, the US semiconductor business has seen increasing challenges from rising global competition. Even when TSMC, the Taiwan semiconductor company, beat the mighty Intel, there was not much the US could do to reverse the situation. In other words, the semiconductor business is shifting to Asia and, given the recent push from the US, there is a real possibility that China will rise to be number one in the world. Given the prospects for such a landscape, Korean firms must learn to look beyond their immediate technological advantage and rigorously prepare for the future to stay competitive in the global market.


Don’t Blame Foreigners for Unemployment
Friday, September 18, 2020
Don’t Blame Foreigners for Unemployment

Zhan Shaoxiang, financial officer, in Lianhe Zaobao (September 14, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Dickson Phua)

Don’t Blame Foreigners for Unemployment

As Singapore’s economic situation worsens and unemployment rises, the debate over whether government policies allow foreigners to steal jobs from locals has been reignited. But is this true?

First, it is necessary to look at Singapore’s economic environment in comparison to the rest of the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries are suffering, and layoffs have become inevitable for both foreigners and local. The public, however, has paid too much attention to the number of unemployed locals, overlooking the situation for foreigners.

Second, in response to Covid-19, the Singaporean government has launched a series of measures to assist businesses. This includes an employment subsidy program that supports local workers. Yet there has been no subsidy for wages paid to foreigners

Third, Singapore is an open economy as well as an important financial, service and shipping center. To maintain this international status, it is necessary to recruit talent from all over the world. Foreigners have provided Singapore with knowledge, technology and management expertise, which is now an indispensable asset.

Fourth, the government has spared no effort in attracting multinational companies to Singapore, creating more employment opportunities. It is understandable that many companies will require some employees to be local as they may have a better grasp of the business.

Finally, foreigners consume food, clothing, housing and transportation and also pay taxes. This has promoted the development of the local economy and created income and employment opportunities for locals. Without foreigners, many houses would become vacant and restaurants and cafes would have less business.

The Ministry of Manpower should not interfere too much with a company’s freedom to hire employees. Every worker, whether local or foreign, contributes to Singapore’s economic development. Locals should avoid making excuses for their own problems by blaming the government, foreigners or companies.


Does Taiwan Still Need the Kuomintang?
Friday, September 18, 2020
Does Taiwan Still Need the Kuomintang?

Lee Min-yung, poet and social critic, in Liberty Times (September 16, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Does Taiwan Still Need the Kuomintang?

The stated goal and mission of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) no longer exists. The KMT wants to fight on behalf of the People's Republic of China and give them the authority to rule Taiwan. On the other hand, the goal of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and some other Taiwanese parties is to establish Taiwan as a separate entity from the People’s Republic of China. While the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) used to be enemies who wanted to destroy each other, now they are allies. Today, the main enemy of the KMT is not the CCP but the ruling party in Taiwan, the DPP.

In the 1950s, the KMT was centered on Chiang Kai-shek who used martial law and white terror to deal with dissidents. Not only those involved in communism, but also those who reformed and defended Taiwan were persecuted. In 1971, due to the self-serving nature of the KMT, the Republic of China was officially expelled from the United Nations and replaced by People's Republic of China. As a result, any protection over Taiwan's national status was immediately lost. 

The KMT now views Taiwan as a bargaining chip and supports its absorption by the CCP. However, after the lifting of the martial law and democratization, the Taiwan people who have left the KMT, including the descendants of post-war immigrants, have spurned the KMT’s desire to sell off Taiwan. The peaceful revolutions carried out through elections has gradually shaped a new distinct Taiwan. Considering these developments, does Taiwan still need the KMT?


Universities in the West on the Brink of Bankruptcy
Friday, September 18, 2020
Universities in the West on the Brink of Bankruptcy

Yu Pengkun, writer, in Guancha (September 17, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Theoden sA)

Universities in the West on the Brink of Bankruptcy

The pandemic has affected universities around the world. While China has been able to control the spread of the virus and reopen campuses, in the US, the UK, Australia and many other countries, the epidemic has not been be controlled, and universities have generally been encouraged to open up as soon as possible. As a result, many universities in these countries have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy.

This year, almost all Australian universities have relaxed academic requirements for international students. Meanwhile, it has been reported that many prestigious universities in the US could close down.

Chinese cannot understand this phenomenon. During the epidemic period, students at universities in China took classes online so the only drop in revenue was from accommodation fees and canteen contract payments. The commercialization of education, which is common overseas, makes students and parents behave like consumers and, as a result of high tuition fees, many perceive the value of online teaching to be less than that of in-person instruction. There is still a strong belief that the epidemic is not to be taken seriously and that virtual learning is not necessary. This a result of anti-intellectual thinking encouraged by political elites.

The UK, the US and Australia have been unable to control the epidemic. As relations with China become more strained, Chinese parents and students must consider all possible risks and also whether distance learning is really worth the tuition. But why are prestigious universities facing serious financial difficulties with a drop in tuition fees in just one year? Ultimately, the commercialization of higher education is to blame. Over the past 20 years, China has also already experienced a certain degree of commercialization so attention must be paid by relevant departments to learn from problems in other countries.


Finding a Balance with the US and the Mainland
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Finding a Balance with the US and the Mainland

Ko Yu-chih, Associate Professor, Department of Diplomacy, National Chengchi University, in China Times (September 12, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan)

Finding a Balance with the US and the Mainland

During the Cold War, Taiwan was seen to be abandoned by the US when Washington was forced into having relations with just one side of the Strait. With the possibility of a new Cold War between the US and China, Taiwan is now being made to choose a side and is leaning towards the US. The possibility of the US abandoning Taiwan again cannot be ruled out, however.

After President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016, the continued decline in cross-strait relations has resulted in Taiwan kowtowing to the US. In the long run, Taiwan must be committed to building a balanced trilateral relationship. This, as Johnny Chiang, the chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) has stated, is the only option in line with Taiwan’s best interests.

Achieving balance is not an easy task. It requires not only the right time, the right place, and the harmony of people but also meticulous diplomacy. Mutual trust and respect mutual are the only way to avoid war. Maintaining peace across the Strait, amid declining Sino-US relations, is therefore an important goal that should transcend partisanship and that officials and civilians on both sides of the Strait should work together towards.

As the confrontation between Beijing and Washington increases, the security of the Taiwan Strait is more at risk. To reverse the downward spiral towards conflict and avoid a Cold War, cross-strait exchanges and dialogue must increase. He proposed to continue engagements to resolve the current differences in understanding between the two sides towards the "1992 Consensus". This will allow the two sides to ease tensions and establish an environment conducive to maintaining peace.


Biden Win a Boon or Bane?
Friday, September 11, 2020
Biden Win a Boon or Bane?

Kavi Chongkittavorn, journalist, in Bangkok Post (September 8, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Michael Stokes)

Biden Win a Boon or Bane?

If Joseph Biden wins the US election, Thailand must prepare a new strategy to "renew" and "reinvent" engagement with the US that will be tougher on issues related to China, human rights and democracy. The Biden administration's approach could be a boon or bane for Thailand, one of its five allies in the Indo-Pacific. With a new administration under the Democrats, the US State Department would again shape overall policy towards its benign ally.

Mr Biden would follow President Donald Trump's templates on China. Indeed, Mr Biden cannot appear to be soft on China, especially at this critical juncture. The US status as the most powerful country in the world has been severely challenged by China. It also happens at a time when Mr Trump's global leadership continues to falter as he continues to damage US credibility with his personal style of diplomacy and unpredictability.

Under a Biden presidency, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia will be high on the American agenda as the key countries in continental Southeast Asia that have close relations with China. For Thailand's future, it is imperative that the US and China have a stable relationship. The most important issue for Thailand is how to manage the two most powerful countries in the world to avoid any miscalculated risks. Healthy competition between China and the US will allow Thailand to balance its "win-win" approach more efficiently.

Southeast Asian countries cannot afford to become anti-Chinese as the United States has often been inclined to be. What the future US administration could do is to help the region to become more resilient and prosperous, so that these countries can engage their giant neighbor in the most efficient and beneficial way.


The Friendliness of the Abe Administration
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
The Friendliness of the Abe Administration

Ogasawara Yoshiyuki, Professor at the Institute of Global Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, in Liberty Times (September 7, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan)

The Friendliness of the Abe Administration

The government of Abe Shinzo has been the friendliest Japanese government to Taiwan since the severance of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Taipei in 1972. In the absence of formal ties, Prime Minister Abe and President Tsai Ing-wen regularly send encouraging messages to each other on Twitter – this alone is worthy of recognition.

One of the greatest achievements has been the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement signed in 2013. As a result, territorial issues between Japan and Taiwan have faded and bilateral relations have improved. The Abe government has also been committed to promoting bilateral exchanges – albeit in a low-key manner – since this agreement. When Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in January 2016, Abe congratulated her publicly, and in 2017 the Japanese government renamed its de-facto embassy from the Japan-Taiwan Interchange Association to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

After 2017, however, the Abe administration’s relationship with Taiwan stagnated due to Taiwan’s continued restrictions of food imports from five prefectures surrounding Fukushima, where the nuclear disaster occurred in 2011. Meanwhile, Japan-China relations began to improve with Abe openly welcoming a visit from Xi Jinping to Japan. Nevertheless, the Abe administration has also moved to contain China.

Overall, the tremendous support given by the people of Taiwan people during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has helped to strengthen bilateral relations and also improve the attitude of Japanese society towards Taiwan. As a result, people-to-people exchanges have also become more frequent. While the Abe administration certainly contributed to improve in relations, it is even more important to acknowledge the hard work of many Japanese and Taiwan people who have continued to strive for deeper mutual understanding.


DPP Government Harms Taiwan by Promoting Decoupling from the Mainland
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
DPP Government Harms Taiwan by Promoting Decoupling from the Mainland

Xie Nan, Associate Researcher, Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Global Times (August 21, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Solomon203)

DPP Government Harms Taiwan by Promoting Decoupling from the Mainland

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan is increasingly attempting to restrict cross-strait economic, trade and cultural exchanges. The DPP has moved to bar popular mainland streaming services, iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV, from operating in Taiwan. At the same time, relevant departments have tightened the classification of "mainland capital". At present, the island currently imposes strict regulations on investment from companies that are at least 30 percent mainland-owned.

Streaming services such as iQiyi have contributed to the economic and social development of Taiwan, while at the same time introducing high-quality film and television content to the people, enabling citizens on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to share popular culture. This has helped strengthen cross-strait connections.

The restrictive measures imposed by the DPP represent a form of "ideological leadership" that closely follows the US "anti-China" line, even if this means damaging the real interests of the Taiwan people. Some Taiwan media have labelled the DPP authorities' strict restrictions on investment as "stupid" and "causing harm with no benefits".

Ultimately, the DPP’s strict restrictions on the flow of mainland capital to the island will only succeed in making cross-strait economic and trade interactions more unbalanced. Taiwan’s economic and social development will inevitably struggle as industries will realize how difficult it is to be successful without support from the mainland. Considering the continuous improvement of the mainland's economic and industrial competitiveness, its attractiveness to Taiwan will be enhanced, while Taiwan's economy will struggle. 

The DPP is exposing its weakness by continuing to introduce these "decoupling" measures. In the face of the rise of the mainland, the DPP can only respond with extreme measures. While such a response will create certain obstacles to the development of cross-strait integration, it cannot get in the way of reunification.