Posts Tagged 'Taiwan'

ASIA REPORT: Uncovering Nuclear Thinking in Asia

nuclear-logoThe rise in global demand for nuclear energy is heavily concentrated in emerging and aspiring Asian powers. While nuclear power may alleviate energy shortages and climate change concerns, the promotion of nuclear energy compounds Asia’s nuclear weapon proliferation problems alongside nuclear power safety risks. All this is exacerbated by rising geopolitical tensions in Asia with more assertive policies – especially from China – in the region testing regional stability.

Against this perilous setting, Nuclear Debates in Asia: The Role of Geopolitics and Domestic Processes – a new book by the Rising Powers Initiative (RPI) at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies – questions the extent to which we can infer nuclear thinking simply from external conditions and instead considers policy thinking on nuclear power and proliferation in Asia to be more complex and variegated than often posited. In this Asia Report, we present analysis offered at a recent RPI book launch event at the Elliott School for International Studies at George Washington University (GWU) with commentary by several of the authors on South Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan. You can also listen to the event’s audio on the Sigur Center’s website.

Five Important Findings in the Book

The Nuclear Debates in Asia book found several illuminating common features across Asia:

  • First, decision making on nuclear issues is still largely centrally controlled in a process dominated by elites in both democratic and authoritarian states.
  • Second, this stranglehold on nuclear decision making has at times been confronted by grassroots level movements often focused on a specific nuclear question (e.g. protests against nuclear power plants or reprocessing facilities, anti-nuclear weapon groups) especially as pluralism is on the rise in parts of Southeast Asia, Japan, India, and even China.
  • Third, nuclear weapons policy has been remarkably consistent despite tremendous external security challenges (particularly China’s ascendancy) and the rise of so-called “resource nationalism” alongside growing energy demands. Instead, nuclear policy appears to be relatively insulated from the whims of populist Nationalism.
  • Fourth, the overall center of gravity in most of the countries studied shows the dominance of a Realist-Globalist coalition.
  • Finally, Pakistan remains the outlier in this trend with nuclear debates essentially dominated by elites with Nationalist


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Policy Alert: Taiwan’s Presidential Election Provokes Reactions in Asia

taiwanelectionOn January 16, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen defeated the incumbent Kuomintang Party (KMT) to become the first female president of Taiwan. The DPP also won a majority in the Legislative Yuan and vowed to start a “new era” in Taiwan with an improved economy and a relationship with China based on “dignity and reciprocity.” The United States congratulated Tsai on her victory and expressed its desire for continued peace and stability in the cross-straits. China – who pined for a KMT victory – and other powers responded to the news with a mix of cautious optimism and diplomatic tightrope walking. In this Policy Alert, we look at reactions in Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, and India on what the election holds for the region.


While not entirely a surprise, the landslide victory for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) transformed the balance of political power on the island. It has also forced the Kuomintang Party to do some soul searching when it votes in March for a new leader after its 2016 candidate and former chairman, Eric Chu, resigned. Furthermore, the new DPP majority promised new legislation to strip the KMT of its multi-million assets through party finance and property reforms, which may make it more difficult for the KMT to mount an electoral comeback.

Taiwanese policymakers remained cautious in the handling of post-election cross-strait relations. (more…)

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Policy Alert: China-Taiwan Historic Summit: Reactions from Asian Powers

chinataiwanOn Saturday, November 7, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou held the first China-Taiwan summit meeting since the two countries separated in 1949. The two leaders reconfirmed the “1992 Consensus” based on the principle of “One China” and agreed on further improvement of cross-Strait relations. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea on this historic summit.


Chinese officials and media declared the summit a success, expressing hope for continued progress in cross-Strait relations. (more…)

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Announcing the Launch of the Rising Powers Initiative Research Database

As part of the Rising Powers Initiative’s efforts to analyze and compare the foreign policy thinking in today’s rising powers, we are pleased to announce the launch of the RPI Research Database, a specialized bibliography of books and articles on targeted subjects that reflect the RPI’s ongoing researchEach entry contains an abstract or summary of the article or book. The Database has been compiled by our research staff and is frequently updated with articles and books from 1990 onwards, with emphasis on the latest academic and policy publications.

Countries and regions in the Database include:

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Southeast Asia and ASEAN
  • Taiwan

Topics and subjects in the Database include:

  • Identity and foreign policy
  • Energy security, maritime security, and Asian security
  • Nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation
  • Regional  political economy
  • U.S. foreign policy in Asia

The Research Database can be accessed here. We hope that this interactive Database is a useful tool for conducting research on rising powers in Asia and for keeping up to date on the latest relevant academic and policy publications. We encourage you to share the Database as a resource with your colleagues, and welcome your feedback and suggestions.

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Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest: Asian Powers React to Iran-P5+1 Nuclear Deal

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (Source: Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (Source: Getty Images)

Negotiators from Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers – the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany – announced on November 24 that they reached a deal to address suspicions over Iran’s nuclear activities. In exchange for Iran freezing key elements of its nuclear program, the P5+1 offered $4.2 billion in foreign exchange and to ease some sanctions on Iranian energy and economic sectors for the next six months. The deal aims to be a sign of good faith between all parties as talks on a broader permanent deal continue.

This announcement sparked a dialogue within countries in Asia with their own varying levels of nuclear capacity. Since Iran’s primary foreign buyers of its oil are China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, and Japan, the agreement provides additional avenues for increased energy trade between Asia and Iran. However, the deal also opens up questions about the intersections of nuclear energy, nonproliferation policies, and regional security in Asia. In this Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest by Timothy Westmyer, research and program assistant at RPI, we explore how countries in our Nuclear Debates in Asia project – China, India, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam – reacted to the Iran-P5+1 nuclear deal and how they are addressing these pressing questions.

China, India, South Korea, and Thailand were among countries which recently received a waiver from U.S. sanctions targeting countries that import Iranian crude oil because these countries have reduced their dependence on Iranian supplies over the past several months. They will be allowed to continue to purchase Iranian oil over the next 180 days without penalties.

China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said the agreement “will help to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation system [and] safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East.”

  • -The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang said it was a “mutually beneficial agreement which lives up to the broad expectation of the international community” and that “China will continue to play a constructive role and actively promote peace talks.” (more…)
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Taiwan’s Election and Reactions from Asian Powers

On January 14, Taiwan’s voters elected incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou to a second term in office, while also giving his ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) a legislative majority. In this post, we highlight Chinese, Indian and Japanese commentaries on the implications of this election for cross-strait relations and regional politics.


The party-owned press hailed Ma’s electoral victory as one more step closer toward political negotiations with Taiwan:


Indian commentaries focused on the opportunity to expand India’s economic relations with Taiwan, with references to geopolitical competition with China:


Japanese newspapers from different ends of the political spectrum converged in their skepticism that Ma’s victory boded more stable cross-strait relations:

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Chinese reactions to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan

Last Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced a $5.85 billion arms sales package to Taiwan, featuring upgrades for 145 of Taiwan’s F-16 A/B fighter jets. In this blog post, we highlight the contrast between China’s official responses to the arms deal, and reactions published in the Chinese media. The differences underscore some of the tensions and competing voices in China’s foreign policy establishment.



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Chinese views on Hu Jintao’s upcoming US visit

Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit the United States next week from January 18 to 21. Read what the Chinese expectations are of this trip:

Ahead of Hu Jintao’s visit, the official tone is optimistic and confident, with editorials stressing the the shared interests of China and the United States, although other analysts take a more measured tone:

On military issues, several articles stress that China is not seeking to challenge the U.S., while making clear that China needs to and deserves to develop its military capabilities:

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