Taiwan is developing missiles in response to Beijing's military build-up
Taiwan is developing missiles in response to Beijing's military build-up
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Taiwan Unveils Its First Statue Honoring 'Comfort Women'
A statue honoring âcomfort womenâ was erected in the Taiwanese city of Tainan this week, marking Taiwanâs first public monument to women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during WWII.
According to the Japan Times, the monument was unveiled in a ceremony on August 14, which was timed to coincide with the inaugural âMemorial Day for Japanese Forcesâ Comfort Women Victimsâ recently instituted by South Korea. The statue depicts a girl with her arms raised âto show her resistanceâ and stands in the cityâs commercial district, writes Hideshi Nishimoto of the Asahi Shimbun.
The new monument was erected by a non-profit group called the Tainan Association for Comfort Womenâs Rig hts, and the Taiwanese government was not involved in plans for the statue. Former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou did attend the ceremony, however, and called on Japan to issue an apology and provide reparations for its wartime actions.
Taiwan already has a museum dedicated to the women used as sex slaves by Japanâs military, known euphemistically as âcomfort women." But the new public memorial has nevertheless sparked tensions between Japan and Taiwan. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the monument âextremely disappointingâ during a news conference, prompting Taiwanâs Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to emphasize its support for comfort women.
âThe government has always paid close attention to the issue of comfort women,â MOFA spokesperson Andrew Lee said in a statement, according to Stacy Hsu of the Taipei Times. âOur stance on the matter, as well as our policy to fight for their dignity, rema ins unchanged.â
This is not the first time that Japan has pushed back against efforts to commemorate the plight of comfort women. Last fall, the city of Osaka threatened to cut ties with San Francisco, its sister city, after a monument honoring comfort women was erected in San Franciscoâs downtown square. In the wake of that incident, Jun Yamada, the Japanese consul general in San Francisco, said that while Japan takes the issue of comfort women seriously, it opposes memorials that frame history in a âone-sidedâ manner, âwithout presenting credible evidence.â
According to a United Nations report, Japan first began using military brothels, or âcomfort stations,â in 1932, but the practice became widespread as Japanese soldiers spread to various parts of East Asia during WWII. These military brothels âseem to have been found wherever the Japanese army was based,â the report states, and are known to have existed in âChina, Taiwan, Borneo, the Philippines, many of the Pacific Islands, Singapore, Malaya, Burma and Indonesia.â To procure enough women to meet the demands of the army, recruiters resorted to âdeception â¦ violence and outright coercion,â according to the report.
It is not clear how many women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army; estimates range from 20,000 to 200,000. Many victims of the brutal system were South Korean, but the Taipei Womenâs Rescue Foundation has estimated that around 2,000 Taiwanese women were forced to work in the brothels, reports Hsu of the Taipei Times. Only two of these women are known to be alive today.
In 1993, Japan formally acknowledged its use of comfort women. In 1995, the government established the Asian Womenâs Fund, which offered compensation of 2 million yen (now worth around $18,000) and a letter of apology from then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama to victims from South Korea, Taiwan and other countries.
But according to Ami Lynch, professor of women's studies at George Washington University, activists opposed the gesture because the compensation money came from private citizens, not the government. Hsu reports that some former Taiwanese comfort women ârefused to accept the money as they felt it did not show that the Japanese government was taking responsibility for [its] actions.â The fund stopped for Taiwanese victims in 2002.
On August 14, the same day that the Tainan statue was unveiled, a number of commemorative activities took place in South Korea, which has been at the forefront of efforts to gain acknowledgement and compensation for former comfort women.
âThe comfort women issue is not just a historical problem between South Korea and Japan,â South Korean President Moon Jae-in said during a ceremony at a national cemetery in Cheonan, according to the Japan Times. âBut it is an issue of sex ual abuse upon women during wartime and at the same time an issue of womenâs rights.âSource: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan
Chinese military steps up strike strength against US targets and Taiwan, says Pentagon
This story is being published by POLITICO as part of a content partnership with the South China Morning Post. It originally appeared on scmp.com on Aug. 17, 2018.
Chinaâs military is better equipped for strikes against the U.S. and the self-ruled island of Taiwan, according to a Pentagon repor t released on Friday.
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In its annual report to the Congress on Chinaâs military developments, the Pentagon said the Peopleâs Liberation Army (PLA) had undergone a sweeping overhaul, expanding the capacity of its bombers to âstrike U.S. and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including [the U.S. island territory of] Guam."
The report also said the overhaul had improved the PLAâs ability to mount air and naval attacks on Taiwan, aiming to deter the island from pursuing independence and eroding Taiwanâs historical advantages in the Taiwan Strait.
The changes are part of Chinese President Xi Jinpingâs plan to modernize the military and turn it into a world-class fighting force by 2050, backed by a $190 billion official military budget last year.
âPLA services and support forces continue to improve training and acquire new capabilities for a Tai wan contingency,â the report said.
âChinaâs official defense budget has grown to roughly 15 times that of Taiwan, with much of it focused on developing the capability to unify Taiwan with the mainland by force.
âThese improvements pose major challenges to Taiwanâs security.â
Although Beijing says it prefers peaceful reunification of Taiwan with the mainland, the PLA has continued to focus on developing a âcredible threat of forceâ against the island and ways to counter potential third-party intervention from the United States, which has a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan.
The Pentagon report also outlined the military options Beijing could take against Taiwan, ranging from an air and maritime blockade, to force the island to capitulate to air strikes and missile attacks; to a full-scale amphibious invasion of Taiwan and its offshore islands.
But it said there were no signs the PLA was âsignificantly expanding its landing ship for ceâ, which would be necessary for an amphibious attack on Taiwan.
While the PLA streamlined its operations in the overhaul, it also added attack submarines and naval aircraft, and created new air-assault brigades to allow for land, sea and air attack options for an invasion.
However, Chang Ching, a military specialist from the Taipei-based Society for Strategic Studies think tank, said the figures from the Pentagon document may be misleading since the force size and capacity in peacetime may not reflect those in wartime.
âAny invasion operations towards Taiwan will be executed by a task force with an order of battle and force formation very different from forces during peacetime,â Chang said.
Taiwan had also prepared for asymmetric warfare â" where one side has a much greater military force than the other â" but its efforts âonly partially address Taiwanâs declining defensive advantages,â the report said.
âThe United States contribu tes to peace, security and stability in the Taiwan Strait by providing defense articles and services to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,â it said.
Beijing has never renounced the use of force to reclaim Taiwan, saying the concept of Taiwanese independence crosses its âred line,â but analysts and observers say a military conflict remains unlikely.
However, cross-strait relations under Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen have come to a standstill, ostensibly over her refusal to acknowledge the â1992 consensusâ that there is âone China."
In recent months, Beijing has ramped up military drills around the island, increased diplomatic pressure to limit Taiwanâs space in the international arena, and offered economic sweeteners to win support.
But the escalated coercion has not shifted domestic sentiment in Taiwan in its favor, with wariness of Beijing in part responsible for catapulting Tsai and her independence-lea ning Democratic Peopleâs Party to power in 2016.
The U.S. maintains a ârobust unofficialâ relationship with the island, including over $15 billion in announced arms sales to Taiwan since 2010.
On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes provisions to improve Taiwanâs defensive capabilities, drawing Beijingâs ire.Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan
Taiwan President Arrives in Belize to Reaffirm Alliance
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE â"
Taiwanâs President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in Belize Thursday as she seeks to shore up dwindling alliances in the face of pressure from China to stamp out the islandâs international recognition.
Belize is one of 18 countries that recognize Taiwan, with Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic shifting diplomatic ties to China earlier this year.
The Caribbean countryâs decision to ditch Taiwan came after Panama, which turned from Taiwan to Beijing in June 2017.
Order of Belize
Tsai arrived in Belize for her first state visit to the tiny Central American country after a stop in the United States and Paraguay. She met privately with Belizeâs foreign minister and other government officials.
Later she was expected to receive the âOrder of Belize,â an honor awarded to foreigners, before speaking Friday to Belizeâs House of Representatives.
In a statement issued before Tsaiâs visit, the Taiwanese embassy emphasized that the trip would reaffirm the strength of the islandâs relationship with Belize, with which it has maintained diplomatic ties since October 1989.
Belize âremained Taiwanâs staunch ally in its bid for participation in U.N. agencies,â the statement said, adding: âTaiwan is Belizeâs loyal and trustworthy ally.â
Belizeâs Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington told Reuters this month that he was âvery content with the relationship we have with Taiwan.â
Taiwan offers Belize financial aid in the hundreds of millions of Belize dollars, ranging from scholarships to agricultural aid and health care, Elrington said.
Taipei has struggled internationally to maintain diplomatic relations with an increasingly assertive China, despite efforts in recent years to strengthen ties with generous aid packages.