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Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Dear readers,

Jeremy is on vacation until Wednesday, June 5, and I’ll be editing our daily newsletter for the next five issues. Stories about U.S.-China relations and overseas June 4 anniversaries (and corresponding coerced silence wherever Beijing holds control) will undoubtedly dominate the news, and I will include regular roundups on those topics. To get these full roundups and other China-related stories worth paying attention to all sent to your inbox, sign up for SupChina Access.

—Lucas Niewenhuis, Associate Editor

Taiwan and U.S. national security chiefs meet in Washington

A little over a year before he was appointed by Trump to be his national security adviser, John Bolton penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (paywall) that urged America to “Revisit the ‘One-China Policy.’” That op-ed went so far as to call for an increased U.S. military relationship with Taiwan, including stationing troops on the island, and to “see how an increasingly belligerent China responds.”

  • Bolton hasn’t gone that far — yet. But he could be on his way there: Earlier this month, Taiwan News reports, National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維 Lǐ Dàwéi) visited Washington and met officials including his American counterpart Bolton.
  • It was the first contact since 1979 between U.S. and Taiwanese officials at such a high level.
  • Taiwan also changed the name of its unofficial embassy in Washington, from the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA) to the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs (TCUSA), according to Focus Taiwan.
  • This follows Trump’s signing of a bill in March 2018 that encouraged lawmakers and high-level officials in Washington to establish ties with their Taiwanese equivalents.
  • Also, on May 7, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to support security in Taiwan.

China “slammed Washington for engaging with Taipei and ordered the Trump administration to cease diplomatic engagements with the island,” CNN reports. At the same time, CNN notes, Taiwan was holding “its annual Han Kuang Exercise,” which comprises “military drills…aimed at ensuring the island's readiness for an invasion.”

See also this tweet and short video by Taipei-based Telegraph correspondent Nicola Smith:

Normal life comes to a standstill in #Taiwan during an annual air raid drill. Phones buzz with a "missile warning" and sirens fill the air. A sad reminder that while life goes on, the fear of a future Chinese invasion is never far from people's minds

—Lucas Niewenhuis

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