China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) on June 25 confirmed communications channels with Taiwan were suspended. An Fengshan (安峰山), spokesperson for the office, said the suspension was due to the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration’s failure to recognize the "1992 consensus."

The "1992 consensus" refers to an alleged understanding made by representatives of Taiwan and China on a "one-China" principle, but with each side free to have its own interpretation of what it stands for. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) disputes the existence of such a consensus.

On June 27, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Katharine Chang (張小月) said the previous attitude of “finding common ground and accepting differences” had created a solid basis for cross-strait relations in the past two decades, the Central News Agency reported.

Tsai responded to the news during her visit in Paraguay. The Liberty Times quoted her saying, “We will continue to have dialogue with China, even if the mechanism is suspended, there are other options for communication.” (The News Lens International's take on the matter.)

On June 27, Taiwanese military officers confirmed plans to test-fire a U.S.-built Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in early July. According to the source, the test will be conducted on U.S. soil to prevent China from collecting sensitive information but also due to space restrictions in Taiwan, AFP reports.

According to the Taiwanese defense ministry, more than 1,500 Chinese missiles are aimed at Taiwan. The Diplomat says that although the PAC-3 could blunt some Chinese missiles, China could still overwhelm Taiwanese defenses through “sheer saturation.”

Many observers have claimed the move is likely to irritate Beijing. (The News Lens International’s take here.)

On July 1, a Taiwanese Hsiung Feng 3 (HF-3) anti-ship missile was accidently fired in Keelung. The missile landed near the outlying islands of Penghu, killing one fisherman. The missile was fired from a Ching Chiang-class 580-ton guided missile patrol ship. Dubbed Taiwan’s “carrier killer,” the missile has an operational range of 150-200 km.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole