Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Emirates Orders Cabin Crew Not to Wear ROC Pin on Uniform, to Respect ‘One China’ Policy

Complaints by Taiwanese crew to the new directive appear to have forced the airline company to reverse part of its order 

A directive to all Taiwanese cabin crew on Emirates has caused a backlash among employees after it requested they refrain from wearing the Republic of China (ROC) pin on their service waistcoat and replace it with that of China. The order, issued on Tuesday by the Uniform Standards And Development Manager at Emirates, states that the order followed instructions by the Chinese government and had immediate effect. 

Continues here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tsai passes first-year test, but challenges loom

An analysis of President Tsai's foreign and domestic policies during her first year in office 

One year has elapsed since Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated on 20 May. This article assesses her administration’s performance in three specific foreign policy areas - cross-Strait relations, relations with the US, and relations with the broader international community - and briefly touches on her domestic policy and its possible impact on foreign relations. 

This article, published today in the Lowy Interpreter, continues here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Taiwan’s Constitutional Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

After months of waiting, Taiwan’s Council of Grand Justices rules that it is against the constitution to bar same-sex individuals from getting married

In a landmark case that has attracted worldwide attraction, 14 judges from Taiwan’s Council of Grand Justices on Wednesday ruled that it is unconstitutional for the country to deny same-sex individuals the right to get married, 

As it currently stands, the Civil Code stipulates that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. Gay advocates argue that this stipulation violates constitutional guarantees of equal rights. Wednesday’s decision comes after several years of campaigning by LGBT activists in Taiwan, whose efforts gained momentum in the past year following the election of Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who campaigned on a platform of marriage equality. 

Continues here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Next U.S. Arms Package for Taiwan: What Taipei Should Ask For

U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have both defensive and political value. While President Trump’s current infatuation with China makes it unlikely that Washington will allow a major arms transfer in the short term, Taipei should already be preparing for the day when the American president realizes that Beijing isn’t the ally he was hoping for 

With U.S. President Donald J. Trump currently fixated on North Korea and convinced that China’s help in the matter is indispensable, the prospects of an early arms sale to Taiwan — always an irritant in relations between Washington and Beijing — have gotten dim. 

Following months of campaigning on a stridently anti-China agenda, Trump, now that he is in the Oval Office, has not only softened his stance but appears to have been charmed by President Xi Jinping, as have several officials in his administration who have lucrative relationships with China. Many fear that the Trump administration has now embarked on a strategy to appease the Chinese. For example, soon after Trump’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart at Mar-a-Lago last month, the U.S. Navy was denied permission to continue freedom of navigation patrols in the disputed South China Sea, a move seen by many observers as a yet another of many concessions to China. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We Can Slay the Dragons of Homophobia

Phobia is at the heart of the campaign against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan. Science and education can cast a light in the dark 

Today, May 17, marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). Celebrated in more than 130 countries around the world, IDAHOT is a reminder that while much progress has been made in protecting the rights of members of the LGBTQI community, much work still needs to be done as revisionist forces join hands globally to overturn some of the accomplishments that have been made in recent years. 

Twenty seven years ago, on May 17, 1990, the WHO finally declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, a decision, based on scientific evidence, that helped dispel some of the myths surrounding homosexuality and that no doubt made it possible for some countries in subsequent years to legalize same-sex unions and adoption of children by homosexual couples. 

Continues here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Yes, Taiwan Can and Will Survive Donald Trump

The Trump administration will eventually awaken to the fact that Beijing cannot, and has no desire to, deliver on North Korea 

Supporters of Taiwan have experienced both elation and dejection in recent months as President Donald Trump first seemed prepared to embrace the democratic island-nation only to turn around and instead engage in a romance with Chinese president Xi Jinping. 

The initial optimism resulted in large part from Trump’s campaign rhetoric, which promised a much more rigid line on China and an end to President Obama’s supposedly “weak” way of dealing with the authoritarians in Beijing on issues from currency manipulation to territorial expansion, human rights to cyber espionage. For those who regard geopolitics as a zero-sum game between states, this stance held the promise of creating more space and opportunities for Taiwan. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Old Wine in an Old Bottle

Beijing is reportedly planning to implement a ‘new strategy’ to win the hearts and minds of young Taiwanese. Like everything else that has come before it, it’s bound to fail 

With every effort to push its unification agenda meeting abject failure in recent years, the Chinese government is reportedly planning a “new approach” to Taiwan affairs, one that it is said will focus on social contact by prioritizing young people and small businesses. 

Beijing’s review of its approach to Taiwan, along with an ongoing shakeup of the people in charge of implementing cross-Strait policies, comes after a very frustrating eight years of rapprochement between the two sides under former president Ma Ying-jeou. To Beijing’s dismay, rather than win hearts and minds deepening investment and closer contact achieved the opposite effect and contributed to the consolidation of Taiwan’s idiosyncratic identity — an amalgamation of localist consciousness, historical and geographical factors, liberalism, democracy, as well as Japanese and Western influences — distinct from that which prevails in China. 

Continues here.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

How to Wage the Battle for Taiwan’s International Space

The moral case, however justified, has little chance of success in the current environment. Rather than continue with such a strategy, Taiwan needs to approach the matter asymmetrically by appealing to the self-interest of other nations

As Beijing ramps up its campaign to limit Taiwan’s international space in retaliation for Taipei’s refusal to embrace a “one China” formula that has little appeal in Taiwan, the Tsai Ing-wen administration has been struggling to come up with a strategy to make its case for participation in international organizations. In the current global environment, however, more of the same old public diplomacy won’t work. 

If Taipei needed any reminder of this, it occurred in Perth, Australia, on Monday, when pressure by Chinese and allied African envoys at a Kimberley Process meeting resulted in the expulsion of the delegation from Taiwan, which has been participating in the KP meetings as an observer since 2007. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Taiwan Kicked Out of Kimberley Process Meeting in Australia

The Australian government had a chance to show leadership. Instead, it was a coward and gave in to Chinese pressure 

The Taiwanese delegation at a Kimberley Process meeting in Perth, Australia, was forced to leave on Monday after the Chinese delegation and a number of African delegations aligned with China created a ruckus and asked for the Taiwanese to be expelled. 

The four-day Kimberley Process intersessional meeting is chaired by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop. This is the first time Australia hosts the intergovernmental meeting. Taiwan joined the Kimberley Process, which seeks to end the global trade in “blood,” or conflict, diamonds, as an observer in 2007. 

Continues here.