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Thread: China threatens U.S. Congress for crossing its ‘red line’ on Taiwan

  1. #226
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Missed this little bit of news from Nov. Taiwan held local elections and Tsai's party got a thrashing. So she resigned as chair of the party as is the custom but still remains Taiwan's president till the general elections there in 2020

    The warning from the ballot box | Taipei Times | Nov 27 2018

    In the past two years, the Tsai administration has made headway in areas of the economy, social issues and national defense. The trouble is, the pace and implementation of its reform agenda have been problematic, the government has not fully followed through on its campaign promises and it has made some questionable political appointees.

    It has fallen short of the public’s expectations. This has led to anger among the people hit by the reforms, such that they have taken to the streets, while at the same time leaving the party’s core supporters disappointed in its performance, making them feel disinclined to vote, in the same way that low morale among KMT voters kept them away from voting four years ago.

    It seems that the central government, with its legislative dominance, and DPP-held local governments, with their long-term hold on power, have allowed complacency to creep in, just as they have allowed themselves to become out of touch with the general public. The result is that people have turned away.

    From the results it seems clear that the Tsai administration has trod on a few too many toes over the past two years, creating an anti-DPP sentiment and dynamic — grievances that were expressed at the ballot box.
    It is important to emphasize that these elections were essentially about Taiwan’s internal matters and local governments, and yet there is general agreement within the international community that China directly interfered, using the Internet.

    For example, the New York Times wrote that China has been employing “a Russia-style influence campaign” to meddle, using a new arsenal of cyberweapons, including fake news.

    This is only going to get worse. Politicians on both sides of the aisle ignore this at the nation’s peril.
    That right there is the extent of the PRC's political interference. They can only take advantage of anti-incumbency and this in a mandarin speaking country.

    Can't throw anti-China elections yet : )
    Last edited by Double Edge; 04 Jan 19, at 22:10.

  2. #227
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    As a result of those elections, Xi might have felt confident pushing for the One china comment that got pushed back by Tsai's party. So the Taiwanese are looking to diversify elsewhere.

    Taiwan turns to India to shake off shackles of China dependence | FT | Jan 03 2018

    Xi Jinping’s sabre-rattling over unification prompts rethink on market exposure

    Edward White in Taipei JANUARY 3, 2019


    In baseball-mad Taiwan, the proud display of a cricket bat signed by Rohit Sharma, a star Indian player, looks out of place. But the Taiwan trade officials’ memento of Taiwan’s sponsorship of the Mumbai Indians, a professional cricket team, symbolises the government’s hopes for a sharp swing in the country’s economic focus — from China to India.

    The attempt comes as Taiwan urgently seeks to shrink its dependence on China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

    Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Wednesday reiterated Beijing’s threat of military force to achieve unification with Taiwan, in the latest ratcheting up of aggression towards the government in Taipei.

    Proximity to China, just 180km away across the Taiwan Strait, as a destination for exports and as a cheaper manufacturing base has helped power Taiwan’s economy.

    China accounts for around 40 per cent of Taiwan’s exports — and exports account for more than half of Taiwan’s GDP — while more than 100,000 Taiwanese businesses operate there, many as part of the high-tech electronics supply chain.


    Taiwan’s leaders are not only worried about overexposure to a single market, but also that economic reliance on China gives Beijing political leverage. Beijing encourages greater economic dependence as a key part of its strategy to achieve unification with Taiwan, experts said.

    Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, voted into office in 2016 after a wave of angst over the previous government’s closer economic and political ties with Beijing, promised to “bid farewell to our past over-reliance on a single market”.

    Ms Tsai’s signature New Southbound Policy also targets investment in south-east Asia. For officials tasked with weaning Taiwan off the giant next door, however, India has become the main goal.

    “India is the jewel in our external economic strategy,” said James Huang, chair of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council. “My feeling is that India is like what Taiwan was 30 or 40 years ago and what China was 20 years ago.”

    India’s low-cost, highly skilled labour force, coupled with industrial subsidies, was well suited to Taiwanese electronics manufacturers, Mr Huang said, adding that the domestic market was also attractive given New Delhi’s target GDP growth of 8 per cent to 10 per cent. India’s population is also set to overtake China’s.

    Finding new offshore bases for its manufacturers is doubly critical for Taiwan, where energy and land shortages curb growth.

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    Taiwanese companies shifting production out of China and refocusing on markets like India could be a blow for Beijing’s plans for closer economic dependency, said Zhixing Zhang, a senior analyst at consultancy Stratfor.

    While such moves were also part of a broader trend of manufacturers seeking cheaper labour costs elsewhere in Asia, the risk of unemployment in China will worry the Chinese leadership, especially as the imposition of higher US tariffs threaten to quicken the pace of an exodus.

    “For Beijing one of the key imperatives is to maintain social stability . . . over the past two months we’ve seen that the Chinese leadership is trying to use tax rebates and offer direct subsidies to at least mitigate the emerging unemployment problem,” Ms Zhang said.

    The government in Taipei is now bracing for fresh efforts from Beijing to boost ties at municipal and lower levels in Taiwan after a group of mayors from the China-friendly opposition Kuomintang swept into power in local elections in November.

    “They are trying to divide Taiwan,” a senior Taiwanese official said of the Chinese strategy. “We have to be very careful.”

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    Taiwanese companies’ drive to find new markets and manufacturing bases intensified in 2018 as the US-China trade war escalated, raising fears that China-based exporters will be stung by higher tariffs and amid worries about the slowing Chinese economy.

    Still, Taiwan is starting from a low base as it targets India: as recently as 2016 fewer than 100 Taiwanese companies operated in India.

    The market, officials concede, is notoriously difficult. Several of Taiwan’s biggest companies, including smartphone manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron, have had factories in India for years.

    Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, employs about 31,000 people across the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. But the pace of development has not met expectations.

    Three years ago Foxconn founder Terry Gou announced plans to spend $5bn by 2020 in Maharashtra. The factories have not yet materialised and a Foxconn spokesperson said in December the company was now “not committed to specific timetables”.



    Karma Medical Products, a Taiwanese wheelchair manufacturer that has been exporting to India for more than 10 years, is set to start building local manufacturing facilities after five years of delays.

    Buying land was at times an “absurd” process and unreliable infrastructure meant the company has had to develop its own local logistics and storage operations across the country, marketing manager Paige Chen said. “You cannot get a box from your door to a store’s that easily.”

    Despite its difficulties, officials point to Karma as an example for Taiwan’s 1.4m small- to medium-sized enterprises to follow. The company has seen revenue growth of around 25-30 per cent each year it has been in the Indian market. In the same period its sales in China have stagnated.

    Momentum is building, according to Laisha Rajendran, Taipei-based manager for PwC, the consultancy, who advises Taiwanese clients on India. In the past year the number of Taiwanese companies operating in the Indian market has doubled to more than 200, Ms Rajendran said.

    She added that inquiries to PwC from Taiwanese firms about India increased by about 35 per cent over the second half of 2018 as the trade war between Washington and Beijing simmered.

    Beijing seeks to block trade with Taiwan

    Even as Taiwan seeks to break into new markets, like India, and expand its presence in south-east Asia, Beijing’s reach is felt.

    In addition to trying to stop Taiwan’s diplomatic allies recognising the country, Chinese diplomats have been working to isolate Taiwan by blocking its bids to secure bilateral deals and join regional trade pacts, officials said.

    “China’s efforts to cut Taiwan’s foreign engagement are constant,” said John Deng, Taiwan’s top trade negotiator and a cabinet minister.

    This is problematic in India too, where two of Taiwan’s key competitors, South Korea and Japan, inked trade deals with New Delhi in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

    Taiwan and India last month signed a new bilateral investment agreement, easing market access, but Taiwan’s exclusion from broader trade deals hampers the competitiveness of its businesses, officials said.

    “It is a big disadvantage. Even just a 5 per cent tariff is a huge difference,” said James Huang, chair of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
    Graph shows GDP per capita growth slowing for both India & China post 2020. Wonder why that is.

    That foxconn local factory i've been hearing for years is nowhere to be seen still.

    You get the feeling Taiwan is late to the party. The Koreans moved here in the 90s, then the Japanese followed and everybody these days swears by their products. I wonder if GOI didn't go as far as they could encouraging Taiwan because of an adverse reaction from China ? if it was then we must make up for lost time.

    Taiwan should be seen like Israel. Admired, sympathised, free and high tech.

    Taiwan is where Israel was two decades ago.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 04 Jan 19, at 22:08.

  3. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    As a result of those elections, Xi might have felt confident pushing for the One china comment that got pushed back by Tsai's party. So the Taiwanese are looking to diversify elsewhere.

    Taiwan turns to India to shake off shackles of China dependence | FT | Jan 03 2018



    Graph shows GDP per capita growth slowing for both India & China post 2020. Wonder why that is.

    That foxconn local factory i've been hearing for years is nowhere to be seen still.

    You get the feeling Taiwan is late to the party. The Koreans moved here in the 90s, then the Japanese followed and everybody these days swears by their products. I wonder if GOI didn't go as far as they could encouraging Taiwan because of an adverse reaction from China ? if it was then we must make up for lost time.

    Taiwan should be seen like Israel. Admired, sympathised, free and high tech.

    Taiwan is where Israel was two decades ago.
    No one is going to put their necks out on the line for a country with the Democratic Socialist of America's defense budget and the Heritage Foundation's defense strategy, and are too lazy for universal conscription.

  4. #229
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    About that military service. This is no Singapore that's for sure.

    For Taiwan youth, military service is a hard sell despite China tension | Reuters | Oct 29 2018

    Taiwan Air Force Staff Sergeant Jiang Pin-shiuan’s pitch to freshmen at Taipei’s Tamkang University seemed compelling: join the island’s armed forces and get a state-sponsored degree, 110 days of leave each year and annual savings of T$312,500 ($10,200).

    But many listening students showed little interest, arguing national service was a “waste of time” and prospects of the self-ruled island standing up economically or militarily to an increasingly aggressive China were slim.

    “China could simply crush Taiwan with its economic power. There’s no need for a war, which wastes money,” said 18-year-old Chen Fang-yi, an engineering major. “I do not have much confidence and expectation for the national army.”
    Huh ??

    Taiwan vowed in 2011 to phase out conscription to cut costs and boost the professionalism of its forces as it tries to better deter the Chinese threat through enhanced cyber warfare capabilities and other high-tech weapons.

    The island’s defense ministry said it will be able to reach a target of enlisting 81 percent of the estimated 188,000 volunteer troops needed to defend against any attack by Beijing by year-end. It hopes to raise that to 90 percent by 2020.
    They want to phase out conscription. Too expensive.

    But military experts and government auditors say recruitment is proving challenging and the growth in voluntary recruitment isn’t fast enough to catch up with a worsening military imbalance across the strait.

    In a report from December, three government auditors warned the growth of voluntary recruits had been slow, raising concerns about Taiwan’s combat power.

    “The government needs to think whether it’s necessary to bring conscription back if they think national security matters,” said Lin Yu-fang, a convener for the Taipei-based National Policy Foundation and former head of Taiwan’s congressional defense and foreign committee.

    “We will pay a heavy price for the move...We won’t be able to find enough soldiers.”

    The island’s defense ministry told Reuters it will continue to raise the quantity and quality of its armed forces and has made all necessary plans for possible military actions from China. It also urged the public to give “support and encouragement” to the
    So if the numbers are inadequate they could re-introduce conscription. If temperatures rise that will be a given. But it's not that easy.

    Convincing more young people to join the armed forces is made more difficult by Taiwan’s past as a military dictatorship. The death of a young conscript in 2013 after being punished for misconduct, which triggered large protests, also dealt a blow to the army.

    The service is so unpopular that more than 1,000 reservists were charged in the last three years for dodging mandatory retraining.

    “It raises a very difficult question about national morale. If there ever is a conflict, what are people going to do?” said William Stanton, professor at National Taiwan University and former head of the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei.
    Voluntary is best

    Taiwan last year spent nearly 47 percent of its defense budget of T$319.3 billion on manpower-related costs. Military experts said that squeezed the budget for weapon acquisitions.

    The island’s goal to move to an all volunteer force by 2019 will be “costlier than anticipated”, diverting funds from defense acquisition and readiness, the U.S. Defense Department said in a report to Congress in May.

    Taiwan has shortened its mandatory service to a four-month training, from three years, a move analysts said was made to placate young voters who prioritize personal liberty over civil obligations.

    But for some, even the reduced training is seen as an exercise in futility.

    “We won’t win a war with China anyway,” said 20-year-old graduate Hsu Kai-wen, a reluctant conscript who was recently assigned a four-month service in the navy after drawing lots. “Why do I need to waste my time in the army?”
    This cuts a very different picture from that article by Tanner Greer i read earlier that Taiwan could win a war with China.

    There is a generation gap. The older see Taiwan as independent but not the young ?
    Last edited by Double Edge; 06 Jan 19, at 21:29.

  5. #230
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    The problem with a voluntary military is that if you want the troops there to be good, that's going to be very expensive (not just pay, but also education and training. So each uniformed service member should have an annual training, benefits, salary and education expense of about 200-250% that of GDP per capita).

    But the entire ROC armed forces needs to be at least 160,000 strong (get any lower and issues will crop up when that force gets attritioned by PLA airstrikes and bombardment). So that would be roughly 1.5% of GDP total, and to get that volunteer force proficient, you'd need to spend roughly twice that amount on operations and maintenance. And then there's procurement and R&D...


    The other, cheaper way to go about the manpower issue would be to conscript everyone for a period of two years. But there's obviously no stomach for that.

  6. #231
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    If North Koreans like Southern soap operas then Taiwanese must have their Japanese soaps. Definitely a generation gap and what we read is what the older people want not necessarily the younger.

    Taiwan will be defended Bullet by Bullet or not at all | Scholars Stage | Aug 18 2018

    What a demoralising read : (

    Taiwan is also deeply demoralized. Successive governments have all but given up on the idea of national defense, the conscription term has been cut to almost nothing. What was originally a national rite-of-passage - universal male conscription - is now basically a joke. The military is a pension farm, and thoroughly compromised by Chinese intelligence. Taiwanese industry is very dependent on Chinese markets and labor, and the business elite of Taiwan have all named their price. Similarly, Mandarin Taiwanese pop culture is integrated with China, and must toe the line. At the university level, administrations are dependent on Mainland Chinese students, who, by and large, are more disciplined, more focused, and more ambitious than the native Taiwanese student.

    Even as Taiwanese culture grows (partially by DPP policy) more defiantly differentiated from China, the actual capability to resist Chinese coercion, either economically or militarily, continues to wane. The CCP doesn't need to do anything, except keep their mouths shut and allow current trends to continue. The Taiwanese attitude towards China appears to be an exercise in denial and wishful thinking. And that takes a toll on the national psyche. The younger generations may have Netflix and sub-titled Japanese TV shows, eating at gourmet restaurants and taking trips to Sapporo, Singapore, and Sydney. They may laugh at the gawking Chinese that are too poor to visit Europe, and visit Sun Moon Lake instead, but these bumpkin Chinese have what they don't have - a comprehensive vision of the future, and a deep belief that they are standing on the solid rock of history, and that they aren't going anywhere. Whereas for Taiwan and the Taiwanese, everything is contingent.

    So take another trip to the wine countries of France, forget about having kids, and try to enjoy the moment.

    In an alternate universe, Taiwan would be like Israel or South Korea - ferociously devoted to defense, fiercely determined to resist coercion. Or, for a more realistic example, to be at least as devoted as our ethnic cousins in Singapore. But perhaps that is only possible with the iron-fisted rule of a LKW for four decades. It would take herculean effort to shake Taiwan out of it's current complacent stupor.
    Call the Chinese bumpkins all you want but if they aren't training to fight them then what is the use !?!?

    As things stand its only a matter of time before these people give up their way of life and follow China.

    Guess we can't look at Taiwan like we do Israel then.

    Why is SK so defense minded ? All thanks to Kim.

    Singapore had Lee Kuan Yew

    I am more optimistic about the military situation. In terms of military culture, J is absolutely correct. Taiwan does not have one. I blame this situation largely on the ROC military itself. One could write a series of essays on the public relations and human resources mistakes the ROC military has made over the last two decades. Their mismanagement of the conscription system—which under normal circumstances would be the ideal vehicle for instilling such a culture—is criminal. The whining rhetoric that emanates from the Ministry of National Defense is also unhelpful. Taiwanese military figures do not shy from emphasizing the weakness of Taiwan's position, presumably in an attempt to get Washington to care more about their plight. However, by highlighting Taiwanese weakness all they (and their American supporters who make similar arguments) are doing is reinforcing the narrative spun by the PLA: Taiwan is doomed, too weak to be worth fighting for.

    The shame in all this is that it is hardly true. This topic deserves its own post, so I won't delve deeply into it here. I'll simply share this thought: the same technological trends which make it so difficult for the United States Navy and Air Force to operate near Chinese waters make it equally difficult for the PLA to operate on the wrong side of the strait. The same cost ratios are at play as well. A long range SSM costs far less than any ship it might hit in a U.S. Carrier Strike Group. But the same is true for missiles launched from Taiwan (or, for that matter, Vietnam or the Philippines). We are quickly moving into a weapons regime that strongly favors the defender. Add this to the incredible difficulties inherit in organizing the largest amphibious invasion of human history, the unique hurdles posed by the geography and weather of Taiwan, and the general lack of training and experience on the part of the PLA forces that will be doing the invading. The potential for failure is high in the best of circumstances. With minimal military investment the Taiwanese can ensure it would be the worst of circumstances.
    If push comes to shove at least there's that.

    At the end of the day, the freedom of Taiwan depends on two things only:

    Are there men and women willing to die to keep Taiwan free?

    Do the Chinese understand how committed they are?

    That is it. What matters is who can get their man to stand on the scene with a gun.

    U.S. military support is a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition for Taiwanese autonomy. Much depends on the Taiwanese themselves. The United States will not stop Taiwan from seeking reunification, if that is what Taiwanese voters ask for. But more importantly, the American military is tethered to the American public, and if that public has lost faith in Taiwan, they will not be willing to see American soldiers die for it. The whole structure rests on the Taiwanese people. If they are willing to sacrifice what must be sacrificed to maintain a credible deterrent, then their autonomy will be preserved. If they are not, no number of American fleets can save them.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 06 Jan 19, at 23:16.

  7. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    If North Koreans like Southern soap operas then Taiwanese must have their Japanese soaps. Definitely a generation gap and what we read is what the older people want not necessarily the younger.
    The shame in all this is that it is hardly true. This topic deserves its own post, so I won't delve deeply into it here. I'll simply share this thought: the same technological trends which make it so difficult for the United States Navy and Air Force to operate near Chinese waters make it equally difficult for the PLA to operate on the wrong side of the strait. The same cost ratios are at play as well. A long range SSM costs far less than any ship it might hit in a U.S. Carrier Strike Group. But the same is true for missiles launched from Taiwan (or, for that matter, Vietnam or the Philippines). We are quickly moving into a weapons regime that strongly favors the defender. Add this to the incredible difficulties inherit in organizing the largest amphibious invasion of human history, the unique hurdles posed by the geography and weather of Taiwan, and the general lack of training and experience on the part of the PLA forces that will be doing the invading. The potential for failure is high in the best of circumstances. With minimal military investment the Taiwanese can ensure it would be the worst of circumstances.
    Another problem facing Taiwan is that it assumes that in order to wage war, China must send an invasion force across the Straits.

    With technology to extend artillery ranges (i.e. ramjet shells, improved propellants, vertical guns, cheaper guided long range rockets), that assumption is looking very question in the years to come.

  8. #233
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post

    You get the feeling Taiwan is late to the party. The Koreans moved here in the 90s, then the Japanese followed and everybody these days swears by their products. I wonder if GOI didn't go as far as they could encouraging Taiwan because of an adverse reaction from China ? if it was then we must make up for lost time.

    Taiwan should be seen like Israel. Admired, sympathised, free and high tech.

    Taiwan is where Israel was two decades ago.
    Taiwan companies own about 20% of China's exports. They were not as early investing as Hong Kong companies (35-40% of total PRC exports), because "trading with the enemy" was treason through much of the 1980s.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

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    The problem with a voluntary military is that if you want the troops there to be good, that's going to be very expensive (not just pay, but also education and training. So each uniformed service member should have an annual training, benefits, salary and education expense of about 200-250% that of GDP per capita).

    But the entire ROC armed forces needs to be at least 160,000 strong (get any lower and issues will crop up when that force gets attritioned by PLA airstrikes and bombardment). So that would be roughly 1.5% of GDP total, and to get that volunteer force proficient, you'd need to spend roughly twice that amount on operations and maintenance. And then there's procurement and R&D...


    The other, cheaper way to go about the manpower issue would be to conscript everyone for a period of two years. But there's obviously no stomach for that.
    essentially Taiwan SHOULD be spending about 5%+ of GDP on defense. Israel spends about 5.5% and that's against enemies who couldn't find their arse with two hands.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  10. #235
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Taiwan companies own about 20% of China's exports. They were not as early investing as Hong Kong companies (35-40% of total PRC exports), because "trading with the enemy" was treason through much of the 1980s.
    Now they have $280bn invested in China.

    My question was rather why was Taiwan so late investing in India.

  11. #236
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    Another problem facing Taiwan is that it assumes that in order to wage war, China must send an invasion force across the Straits.

    With technology to extend artillery ranges (i.e. ramjet shells, improved propellants, vertical guns, cheaper guided long range rockets), that assumption is looking very question in the years to come.
    Something simpler and cheaper.

    China waits some more and when the time is right a Taiwan pol decides to hold a referendum.

    At what point would the demographics In Taiwan make a join china vote feasible ?

    I'd think the older people right now would want out maybe not the younger later on.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    I have a question about history that is puzzling me.

    Weren't the KMT the ones who fought Mao. Why then is the nationalist relatively pro china compared to progressives like DPP

    You'd think the KMT would be the ones getting into hot water with China not DPP

    At what point did this flip.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 07 Jan 19, at 20:39.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    essentially Taiwan SHOULD be spending about 5%+ of GDP on defense. Israel spends about 5.5% and that's against enemies who couldn't find their arse with two hands.
    And Israel does multi year universal conscription. If that was introduced in Taiwan, support for instant reunification would become near unanimous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    I have a question about history that is puzzling me.

    Weren't the KMT the ones who fought Mao. Why then is the nationalist relatively pro china compared to progressives like DPP

    You'd think the KMT would be the ones getting into hot water with China not DPP

    At what point did this flip.
    The KMT is fundamentally a Chinese nationalist party. A good deal of the DPP believes that the whole island should be completely de Sinicized, whatever that is.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Ships AHOY!

    US warships sail through the closely watched Taiwan Strait, turning up the pressure on Beijing | SCMP | jan 24 2018

    It is the fourth time the Navy has publicly admitted to sending surface combatants through the strait since the US restarted the practice last summer

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