July 30, 2021
No. 73
-TAEF Updates
-TAEF Commentaries
-Consortium Updates
-New Southbound Policy News 
-Regional Headlines
The 2021 SEASAT Youth Camp kicked off! 

July 27, 2021


Jointly organized by Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the 2021 SEASAT Youth Camp was held from July 27 to 28 in Taipei, encouraging young people to pay attention to global equality in the era of the pandemic. 
Under the theme of this year’s youth camp, “Home: Global Equality in the Era of the Pandemic,” the organizers have invited academics and experts, young entrepreneurs, and NGO workers to share their insights into critical social issues including public health, basic rights and migrant workers, technology development, and the climate change.

Offering crash courses and group discussions, the camp continued to empower participants to engage with the challenges of society while they were staying at home during the lockdown.


Read more

Critical Asia Archives Published the Latest Issue: Perspectives from Taiwan, Korea, and Japan

July 28, 2021


Critical Asia Archives is an online journal published by Asia Theories Network beginning in 2020. In its inaugural issue, Critical Asia Archives gathered together scholars from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the United States to reflect upon the current developments of the global pandemic.


Critical Asia Archives has recently launched the second issue. The three major sections on Taiwan, Korea, and Japan focus respectively on "The Gravity of Art amid the Pandemic," "Theorizing Today's Korea," and "The Relationships between Politics and Science during the COVID-19 Pandemic."


TAEF's assistant research fellow Ding-Liang Chen also participated in the Taiwan section by contributing an essay titled "Beyond the Global Vision." Concentrating on the 2020 Taipei Biennale, the essay tries to point out the cultural, historical, and scientific meanings embedded in the video installations and indigenous arts in the biennale.


We highly recommend Critical Asia Archives to people interested in discussions regarding Asia, art, culture, and the pandemic!

Countering China’s Maritime Grey Zone Activities
July 15, 2021

- Sana Hashmi, Visiting Fellow of Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation

China today has the largest Navy and Coast Guard. There is a third layer to China’s maritime power projection: the People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM) with more than 700 vessels at its disposal. This unprecedented build-up of Chinese maritime capabilities is to largely support, extend and defend its excessive maritime claims on the basis of Nine Dash Line.
The sinking of Vietnamese fishing vessel in April 2020 off Paracel islands, the swarming of more than 200 maritime militia and fishing vessels in the Philippine EEZ off the Julian Felipe Reef in Mar 2021, and the more recent use of PLA Navy ships to chase off media crew, are Chinese grey-zone strategies to overwhelm and exhaust law enforcement agencies of contesting nations, thus presenting a fait-accompli to incremental changes in status quo.
At the upcoming panel on “Countering China’s Maritime Grey Zone Activities” co-organized by India’s Gateway House and Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, TAEF visiting fellow Dr. Sana Hashmi was invited to share her insights on China's grey zone warfare against Taiwan, and also India's role in countering China's grey zone activities in the Indian Ocean.


The Prospect Foundation
Why Is Australia Talking so Much about Taiwan?

July 9, 2021

- Melissa Conley Tyler, Visiting Fellow of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research

Taiwan has been much in the news in Australia in recent months. Former defense minister Christopher Pyne said Australia may need to engage in a kinetic war with China in the next 5-10 years, with Taiwan as the likely flashpoint. Peter Dutton, the current defense minister, said that a battle over Taiwan cannot be discounted, while Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo warned that the “drums of war” are beating.

Media coverage blared “Canberra prepares for Taiwan conflict as tensions escalate” and “Australia discussing ‘contingency’ plans with United States over possible Taiwan conflict.” The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) opined that the “US and its allies must ensure Taiwan doesn’t fall to Beijing” while the Lowy Institute released a significant report on “Countering China’s Adventurism over Taiwan.”
Focus Taiwan

4 Asian nations urge Taiwan to prioritize migrant workers for vaccination

July 8, 2021


Four Southeast Asian countries have made a joint appeal for migrant workers in Taiwan to be added to the priority list of persons for vaccination against COVID-19, according to a statement obtained Thursday by CNA.

The statement, signed by the representative offices of Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, said their four countries account for 99.8 percent of the migrant workforce in Taiwan.

The offices said cooperation in addressing the health and safety of migrant workers from the four Southeast Asia countries is important, recognizing that the vulnerability of those workers could affect the health and social welfare of the wider Taiwan population.
Read more
UN Warned of ‘Dire’ COVID Situation in Myanmar

July 30, 2021


The United Kingdom has warned the United Nations Security Council that half of coup-wracked Myanmar’s population of 54 million could become infected with COVID-19 within the next two weeks.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the military deposed an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, triggering widespread protests and fighting between the army and newly-formed civilian militias.
The United States, the UK and others have imposed sanctions on the generals for the coup and the repression of pro-democracy protests in which hundreds have been killed. The military’s sprawling businesses have also been targeted.
“The coup has resulted in a near-total collapse of the healthcare system, and healthcare workers are being attacked and arrested,” Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward told an informal Security Council discussion on Myanmar.
“The virus is spreading through the population, very fast indeed. By some estimates, in the next two weeks, half of the population of Myanmar could be infected with COVID,” she said.

Read more

Nikkei Asia
Philippines' Duterte Restores Key Troop Pact with US

July 30, 2021


President Rodrigo Duterte has restored a crucial pact governing the presence of U.S. troops in the Philippines, the two countries' defense ministers said on Friday, reversing a decision that had caused increasing concern in Washington and Manila.


The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provides rules for the rotation of thousands of U.S. troops in and out of the Philippines for war drills and exercises. It has assumed additional importance as the United States and its allies contend with an increasingly assertive China.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzna said he was unsure why Duterte had reversed himself but made the decision after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Manila on Thursday.
Harry Roque, Duterte's spokesperson, later said the president's decision was "based on upholding the Philippines' strategic core interest ... and clarity of U.S. position on its obligations and commitments under the MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty)."
Duterte's decision won't change much on the ground as the pact had not been terminated but it provides stability for both countries.
Pentagon Chief in Vietnam to Advance Ties but Rights Concerns Linger

July  29, 2021


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sought on Thursday to nudge forward security ties with Vietnam that have been slowly deepening as both countries watch China's activities in the South China Sea with growing alarm.

Despite closer military relations, more than four decades after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, President Joe Biden's administration has said there are limits to the relationship until Hanoi makes progress on human rights.
Vietnam has emerged as the most vocal opponent of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and has received U.S. military hardware, including coastguard cutters.
Before a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart in Hanoi, Austin said the United States did not ask Vietnam to choose between countries.
"One of our central goals is ensuring that our allies and partners have the freedom and the space to chart their own futures," Austin said.
He did not mention China but there is a perception in Asia that China is making countries chose between it and the United States, as tension rises between those two big powers.


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