Home > > TBT Newsletter February 2016 is available now
TBT Newsletter February 2016 is available now
2016-02-26 00:00:00
Editor's Note

Taiwan Brain Trust is indebted to you for the steady stream of feedback received from readers in a variety of fields. It is your input that serves as our driving force, motivating us to continue on in our efforts. We are exceedingly grateful for each and every suggestion and encouragement we receive from you. This month, a number of experts in various fields penned articles on such current issues as the transfer of power in Taiwan, legislative reforms, disputes in the South China Sea, Xi Jinping’s center of power, the current state of the ASEAN Economic Community, and North Korea’s test detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

In his piece “Preparing to Confront Diplomatic Challenges During Government Transition,” Liu Shih-chung, Senior Policy Adviser of TBT, observed that the transfer of power in Taiwan in 2016 necessitates a review of President Ma Yingjeou’s democratic style. In addition, President-elect Tsai Ing-wen needs to make setting up a national security transition team a priority to ensure that Taiwan will be able to deal with any potential national security issues and any problems between Taiwan and China that could arise during the handover period.

Lin Iong-sheng, Youth Synergy Taiwan Foundation Researcher, points out in his article “New Legislature, New Politics” that future reforms aimed at enhancing legislative efficiency must create a single senior convener system and must adjust the legal number of committee members required for a resolution. Openness and transparency reforms need to include the establishing of a legislative TV channel and a legislative process fully open and transparent that provides information regarding individual legislators and various bills on the legislative website in a timely manner.

On 30 January 2016, the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur, DDG-54, triggered regional tensions when it entered the territorial waters off of Triton Island in China’s Paracel (Xisha) Islands. In his piece “Political Significance of US Navy Ship Entering Triton Island Territorial Waters,” Vice President of TBT Lin Ting-hui explains the political motivation behind this move by the US military. They include political issues within the US, preventing further conflict between China and Vietnam, and attempting to force the redefinition of China’s presence in the waters of the South China Sea.

Fan Shi-ping, Director of the Center for China Studies and Professor in the Graduate Institute of Political Science at National Taiwan Normal University, points out in his piece entitled “Significance and Impact of China Adopting 'Xi as Core' ” that in order to completely consolidate power prior to the 19th National Party Congress in 2017, Xi Jinping must not allow any “political missteps” as he continues to concentrate power. The establishment of “Xi as core,” however, could cause a strong backlash, possibly triggering a vicious cycle. Many high-ranking local officials have not yet taken a position regarding the call for “Xi as core.” It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) began formal operations on 31 December 2015. In the article “The ASEAN Economic Community – Status Quo and Challenges,” penned by Chen, Ian Tsung-Yen, Assistant Professor at Institute of Political Science of National Sun Yat-sen University, you will learn that although the AEC has seen results in integrating trade in goods, in the liberalization of other markets, it still has quite a long way to go to achieve its goal of a single market. In the future, if Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam are not happy with the issue of “allocation,” protectionism will become a challenge to further development of AEC.

In early 2016, North Korea announced that it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, increasing tension and concern in Northeastern Asia. In his piece “Pyongyang’s H-bomb Test – Crucial for Shift in China’s North Korea Policy,” Doong Sy-chi, Deputy Secretary General of the Taiwanese Association for Northeast Asia Studies (TANAS), stated that North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities is an accomplished fact and China is not running the show, so the Korean Peninsula could become a military hot spot. Taiwan needs to keep an eye on developments in North Korea, so it can determine how to best protect its own interests.

In this globalized 21st century, Taiwan, as an island- nation, needs to take a macro view of the world. The Taiwan Brain Trust hopes to offer analyses of major events, both in Taiwan and around the world, for local readers as well as provide a Taiwan perspective for readers around the world. If you have any suggestions or comments please drop us a line at info@braintrust.tw or follow us on Facebook.

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