A tense week in cross-Strait relations closed with news that China appears to have blocked Taiwan’s access to an important international air safety meeting.

Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has refused to invite Taiwan to attend its upcoming triennial assembly, despite the U.S. and other countries lobbying on Taiwan’s behalf. Taipei has protested the decision. Taipei also revealed this week that two of its officials was excluded from a United Nations conference on the global fishing industry, ostensibly due to pressure from China.

Despite official communication channels between Taipei and Beijing being frozen, senior representatives from eight Taiwan municipalities controlled by opposition Kuomintang (KMT) have visited China for talks with Chinese officials and to promote tourism and agricultural produce.

The talks were covered by state television in China and the eight representatives stated they recognize the “1992 consensus,” which Beijing has set as a precondition for cross-Strait exchanges.

In response to the visit, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) reiterated the government’s stance that no political conditions should be attached to exchanges between the two sides.

During the week it emerged that Taiwanese athletes at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics were forced to change the emblem on their uniforms after pressure from China.

The head of the Chinese Taipei Paralympic Committee said Chinese authorities protested against the emblem on Taiwan’s uniform and requested it be changed to the version used by Taiwan’s Beijing-friendly KMT. The national emblem on the athletes' uniforms was subsequently covered with stickers using the KMT version.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has denied claims that Taiwan is scrapping efforts to develop a medium-range surface-to-surface missile capable of hitting Beijing and Shanghai.

A report in the Chinese-language China Times – suggesting the program would be stopped as a “goodwill gesture to China” – prompted MND to say the report was “pure speculation.” The ministry did not comment further.

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