ISSUE 135                                                                                   March 31, 2022
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week

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Taiwan Proposes Mutual Recognition of Sovereignty
Minister Chiu Tsai-san of the Mainland Affairs Council stated that former President Ma Ying-jeou's formula of mutual non-recognition of sovereignty, mutual non-denial of governing authority, is no longer adequate for cross-strait relations. According to Chiu, the two sides should recognize each other's sovereignty.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Featured News

Mutual Recognition Violates the Constitution

United Daily News, March 25, 2022


Minister Chiu Tai-san of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) sent signals related to the cross-strait negotiation the day before yesterday that if "upholding the sovereignty of the Republic of China" does not count as Taiwan independence, it would be a better condition for negotiation with mainland China. He further explained yesterday that his proposition was not the same as that of the former administration. During the previous administration, former President Ma Ying-jeou would assert that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would not recognize each other's sovereignty but would not deny each other’s governing jurisdiction. According to Chiu, this is no longer sufficient. Both sides should recognize each other's sovereignty.

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Featured Opinion
According to a commentator, Minister Chiu's narrative of mutually recognizing sovereignty in cross-strait relations is similar to the incorporation of sensitive political issues into Ukraine's Constitution, making people wary about whether Taiwan may be following the path of Ukraine.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Is the Tsai Administration Preparing for War?

By Chao Chien-min

United Daily News, March 26, 2022


With the concern over “Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow” ascending, the Ministry of National Defense began to review extending the current military training service. But at this crucial time, the minister of the Mainland Affairs Council responded in the Legislative Yuan that both sides of the Taiwan Strait should recognize each other’s sovereignty. His words are exactly the same as the proposed incorporation of Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into the Ukrainian Constitution, a sensitive move bound to provoke Russian nerves. What is making the Taiwan government so reckless in forging ahead?

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Featured Editorial
According to media commentary, Taiwan's active aid to Ukraine may not necessarily make Ukraine friendly to Taiwan. It is awkward how the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen is deliberately concealing the reality of Ukraine's good relations with mainland China.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Taiwan Supports Ukraine, But Ukraine Sells Arms to China

United Daily News Editorial, March 24, 2022


In the video conference with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Tsai Ing-wen told Mr. Abe that Taiwan has joined the economic sanctions against Russia and started humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, and Taiwan would firmly stand with Ukraine.


In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was planning to call Chinese President Xi Jinping and ask him to play a major role in ending the war between Russia and Ukraine. Despite the spokesperson of the mainland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs mumbling about it, Mr. Zelenskyy’s spokesperson confirmed that the phone call was expected to happen soon.

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Featured News
According to a scholar, government funding for cyber-warriors is like a "democracy virus" because it upsets the relationship between the people and its government. Pictured above is William Lai, now vice president, who alleged during his primary campaign that President Tsai targeted Internet attacks on him.
(Photo from: China Times)

Government Should Not Maintain a Cyber-Army to Attack the People

The Storm Media, March 27, 2022


Although Premier Su Tseng-chang stated that the government is not keeping a cyber army, previously, William Lai, now vice president, called upon President Tsai Ing-wen during his presidential primary campaign to ask her cyber army to stop attacking him in the presidential primary election of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which raised the seriousness of the relationship between the public sector and the cyber army to the public. Associate Professor Liao Yuan-hao of the Department of Law at National Chengchi University described at a forum on March 26, that if the government pays to support a cyber army, it will become a “virus to democracy” because it twists the relationship between the citizens and the government. Originally, the voices of the people should be the decision maker. If the government is using the taxpayer money to, in turn, attack the people, then it would be spending public funds, to sway public opinion, and control the real owners of the government, the citizens.

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This Week in Taiwan
Ruling and opposition party legislators unanimously passed a constitutional amendment bill to lower the voting age from 20 to 18 years old. The amendment will not take effect until confirmation by popular referendum at least half a year later.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
March 21: The University of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted a Varieties of Democracy project, revealing that the top three countries in the world most seriously affected by external disinformation are Taiwan, Latvia, and Palestine, and Taiwan has ranked first for nine consecutive years since 2013. Wang Yi-ting, an associate professor of political science at National Cheng Kung University who participated in the project, urges the public and the media to increase vigilance. 
March 22: The Sino-Japanese Parliamentary Group held its annual meeting in Tokyo. President Tsai Ing-wen was invited to have a video conference with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to exchange perspectives on Taiwan's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the situation in Ukraine, and the state of affairs in the region. President Tsai stated that Taiwan supports and stands on the same side of Ukraine, which is struggling for freedom and democracy. The parliamentary group also reiterated its resolution to support Taiwan's accession to the CPTPP. 
March 23: The war between Russia and Ukraine has lasted for a month, drawing Taiwanese people's attention to cross-strait relations. According to the latest poll by TVBS Poll Center, 57 percent of Taiwanese are not worried about mainland China taking the opportunity to invade Taiwan, whereas 37 percent expressed concern. In the event that Beijing invades Taiwan, 62 percent would be willing to take up arms to defend Taiwan, while 26 percent would be unwilling. Additionally, some 55 percent do not believe that the United States will send troops to defend Taiwan, significantly more than the 30 percent who believe otherwise. 
The ratio of Taiwanese who believe that the United States would send troops to defend Taiwan is nearly 30 percent lower than it was a decade ago. This may be related to the fact that the United States did not send troops to aid Ukraine. 
March 23: Regarding whether compulsory conscription should be extended to a year, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng stated at the Legislative Yuan that the current military training service of four months is inadequate and unable to help defense operations, so conscription will be extended in the future. A draft research report will be released this year. In principle, the goal is to not amend the law and implement an extended conscription one year after public announcement.
March 23: In its report to the Legislative Yuan, the Ministry of National Defense indicated that Communist China has gradually increased the scale, frequency, and intensity of targeted real-world combat drills against Taiwan. Last year, about 900 sorties intruded Taiwan's southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Recently, civil aviation aircraft has intruded outer islets like Matsu and other gray areas, and cognitive warfare continues to test Taiwan's military response capabilities and pressure air defense, posing serious challenges to national security. 
March 24: An earthquake of magnitude 6.6 on the Richter scale occurred off the cost of Hualien at 1:41 AM on March 23, the largest earthquake in the Hualien region in 49 years. Aftershocks continued. As of 8 AM on March 24, there were 79 earthquakes off the east cost of Hualien and Taitung. Thirty-two (32) pre-stressed beams of the Yuxing Bridge under construction in Yuli Township, Hualien, were either overturned or broken and need to be redone. But the old bridge structure is not damaged and has been restored to traffic. The incident is expected to delay the project for five months. 
March 24: The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a draft amendment to the amount of health insurance coverage. The maximum insured monthly salary of NT$182,000 (about US$6,329) is to be raised to NT$219,500 (about US$7,634). It is estimated that the monthly burden of 130,000 people will increase by between NT$116 (about US$4) and NT$1,939 (about US$67.40), injecting an additional NT$1.7 billion (about US$59.1 million), to be implemented as soon as May. In addition, the suspension and reinstatement mechanism for overseas expatriates will be abolished. 
March 25: The Legislative Yuan passed a constitutional amendment with a unanimous 109 votes of all legislators present to lower the voting age to 18. To take effect, the constitutional amendment still needs to be confirmed by referendum. The referendum threshold is more than half the number of total voters, about 9.65 million votes. The government prefers to hold the referendum alongside the November 26 local elections at the end of the year.
Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation and Association of Foreign Relations which provides coverage and perspectives on the latest developments in Taiwan.

The conclusions and recommendations of any Taiwan Weekly article are solely those of its author(s) and do not reflect the views of the institutions that publish the newsletter.

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