June 1st 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Scomo routs Labor, the Green, GetUp and the left-wing media by Patrick J. Byrne and Peter Westmore

CANBERRA OBSERVED Surprise! Polls aren't what they used to be

GENDER POLITICS The true cost of childhood gender reassignment

OBITUARY Bob Hawke, R.I.P.: astute politician, flawed policies

POETRY AND SOCIETY T.S. Eliot and the modern condition

WATER POLICY The time is ripe to revisit the Bradfield scheme

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan upgrades U.S. links, asserts sovereignty

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Recapping the trial as Cardinal Pell's appeal approaches

THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY Working to bring down the Sexual Revolution

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki Part 2: Science and ancient cultures

HUMOUR A tidy planet is a happy planet

MUSIC Charles Ives: Modern elements aimed at sounding good

CINEMA John Wick 1: The lighting of the fuse

BOOK REVIEW Novelised true crime a true thriller

BOOK REVIEW The experiences of Phoebe Raye

POETRY

LETTERS

FEDERAL ELECTION Queensland voted for jobs, life and country

NATIONAL AFFAIRS The trial of Cardinal Pell ... an injustice

EUTHANASIA D Day - June 19, 2019 - Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 begins operation

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ASIAN AFFAIRS
Taiwan upgrades U.S. links, asserts sovereignty


by Jeffry Babb

News Weekly, June 1, 2019

The Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) is upgrading its military establishment so it can effectively respond to any threats emanating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The ROC is also benefitting from the United States’ “pivot to Asia” announced by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

In April of this year, two U.S. des­troyers transited the Taiwan Strait in a “freedom of navigation” exercise. The Taiwan Strait separates the island of Taiwan from mainland China. The Strait is 130 kilometres wide at its narrowest point. U.S. authorities announced that freedom of navigation exercises would be conducted frequently in the future.

Taiwan’s military forces are in transition from an army based on universal conscription to an all-volunteer force. As with other high-tech military forces, it is not efficient to conscript young people who will serve for only a limited time after their training. The ROC must make a career in the military attractive for young people. This requires improving conditions and pay.

Military service is now open to young women, who serve on the same terms and conditions as young men. The only difference is that young women and young men have separate quarters. A recent recruiting campaign based on the theme of “young men, join the army and find a girlfriend” was greeted with derision. The young women responded, saying: “We don’t need the army to find boyfriends.”

Integration of young women into the armed forces can by observed on national day celebrations, when men and women can be observed as part of fully integrated units.

The ROC is upgrading its military forces to respond to PRC incursions on its own, while forming defensive relationships with other allied nations. The PRC has made it a regular practice to dispatch military aircraft and naval vessels to circle Taiwan. As in the South China Sea, the PRC is attempting to turn the ocean around Taiwan into part of its internal waters.

The ROC has two problems. First, it is a midsized power that stands in the way of an aggressive neighbour, China, which is led by an ambitious leader who seeks world domination; and, second, the current leadership is ideologically opposed to reconciliation with the PRC.

Under the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan has expressed its willingness to engage in dialogue with China on an equal footing, so long as no preconditions are imposed. President Tsai is the standard bearer of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is the leader of the Pan Green movement. The Pan Green movement aims for eventual independence from China.

The Pan Green forces argue that Taiwan has never been part of the PRC, which is true. The Pan Blue movement, led by the Kuomintang (KMT) seeks reunion with China at some distant time in the future. The KMT staged a remarkable resurgence in recent local elections, and it is by no means certain that President Tsai will be re-elected as President in the 2020 election.

Some confusion exists about the poli­tical relationship between the United States and Taiwan. The late Senator Barry Goldwater was the inspiration behind the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which came into force on January 1, 1979. Relations between the U.S. and Taiwan are conducted through a non-governmental organisation, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The AIT is staffed by U.S. diplomats from the U.S. Department of State, though the head of the AIT is usually a political appointee.

Under the TRA, the U.S. is required to supply Taiwan with weapons to allow it to act in its own defence. The ROC leadership, correctly or not, has always assumed, without any evidence, that the U.S. will come to its aid if Taiwan is attacked by the PRC.

President Tsai was one of the first foreign leaders to speak directly to U.S. President Donald Trump after his election.

It seems, however, that the ROC is upgrading its military hardware and under­taking to build ties with other Asian and Pacific powers that also have an interest in restraining Chinese expansionism. Under the New Southbound Policy, the ROC will build defence, security and economic ties with Asia-Pacific powers, including Australia.

Confucius Temple, Kaohsiung

The ROC has begun to develop its own weapons. Construction has begun on an indigenous submarine fleet. The new boats are being built by CSBC Taiwan. CSBC Taiwan was formerly known as the China Shipbuilding Corporation. CSBC Taiwan is headquartered in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s southern port city.

The U.S. undertook to supply the ROC with conventionally powered boats, but they never arrived. It is said that the U.S. Navy opposed the deal.

No U.S. shipyard has built conventionally powered submarines for many years, though designing and building diesel-electric submarines would be relatively uncomplicated. The reason is said to be that the U.S. Navy wanted to stick with its all-nuclear fleet and didn’t want to be open to the possibility of being fobbed off with conventionally powered boats.

Taiwan is also seeking to augment its fighter aircraft fleet. Its F-16s are good aircraft, but most U.S. allies are replacing F-16s with F-35s. Lots of second-hand F-16s are on the market. The F-16 can be upgraded with improved electronics and weapons systems. Scuttlebutt is that the ROC may buy Singapore’s F-16s. Singapore is a de facto ROC ally.

In all, Taiwan has reached the conclusion that it can only rely on itself when it comes to deterring its only enemy. Its military is getting smarter and more agile; and it’s about time.




























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