What you need to know
An overview of key developments in relations between Taiwan and China this week.
Despite efforts by Taiwanese diplomats to ensure the return of 25 Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects from Cambodia, Phnom Penh authorities forced them onto a plane bound for China on June 24. TNLI’s coverage here.
On June 2, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) responded to remarks by Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) saying that Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy was “destined to fail” if it was meant to go against cross-strait ties. Lin said the Taiwanese government was happy to improve business ties with China on its current basis, but that ties with third countries were not mutually exclusive to cross-strait relations, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported.
The new southbound policy has been presented as a major part of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) agenda, centered around improving trade ties between Taiwan and Southeast Asian and South Asian countries, which many see as an attempt to decrease Taiwan’s economic dependence on China.
On June 17, recently elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte responded positively to the southbound policy during an interview with the Central News Agency. He said the Philippines had great potential for development and was suitable for investment by the Taiwanese agricultural or industrial sectors.
At home, the new policy will require attention from the DPP government. On June 20, a survey conducted by a Taiwanese job-searching site found that more than 40% of Taiwanese firms did not understand the new southbound policy, UDN reported. More than 22% of respondents saw the new policy unfavorably, against 18% who regarded it favorably.
TAO Minister Zhang Zhijun met with a delegation of Kuomintang (KMT) Young Workers’ Union (國民黨青工會) in Beijing on June 20. Zhang told the delegation that youth was the future of cross-strait relations and hoped that youth on both sides of the Taiwan Strait would have greater interactions in future, CNA reported. During the visit, the Union also met the Chinese Communist Youth Corps (中國共產主義青年團) and the Chinese National Youth Association (中華全國青年聯合會).
First Editor: J. Michael Cole
Second Editor: Olivia Yang