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Taiwan Risk and Advisory 04/24


Here is a brief review of developments in Taiwan with outline trajectory, risks and impact ahead.


Diplomacy & Trade


Taiwan desires United States to open its market to Taiwanese agricultural products, including mangoes, pineapples, sausages, and other processed meats, during recent trade talks between the two nations. The issue of forced labour was also a topic of discussion during the trade talks, with the US urging Taiwan to effectively stop such practices in its supply chains.


Military


Taiwan’s defense ministry detected 26 Chinese military aircraft and five Chinese naval vessels near the island between May 2 and May 3, including 17 Chinese military aircraft crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait. Some Chinese aircraft got as close as about 76 kilometers from Taiwan’s northern port city of Keelung.


Taiwanese authorities are tracking increased patrols carried out by the Chinese coast guard near Taiwan’s outlying island, Kinmen.


Gray Zone


China has initiated a series of influence campaigns against Taiwan ahead of the island’s inauguration of president-elect Lai Ching-te on May 20. Beijing increased the scale and frequency of military activities near Taiwan while partially relaxing travel and import restrictions.


Political Developments


President Elect Lai has appointed Taiwan’s current foreign minister Joseph Wu as the secretary general of the National Security Council while current head of the council, Wellington Koo, will be the new defense minister. On the foreign policy front, the current secretary general of Taiwan’s presidential office Lin Chia-lung will be the new foreign minister, and Chiu Chui-cheng, a former deputy political minister for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles cross-strait relations, will be the new head of the council.


Risk and Impact


China is expected to use new tactics in the joint combat readiness patrols near Taiwan, including staging night-time combat patrols and using landing ships and minesweepers. China is also expected to increase the patrols near the island of Kinmen.


Gray zone and military activity is expected to increase in the run up to inauguration of the President Lai Ching-te. These attacks could include phishing attempts to sophisticated malware intrusions. Website defacement attacks and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Disinformation campaigns are also expected. Taiwan in the meantime has undertaken extensive measures to boost up the cyber and information space.


The preemptive action taken by the President elect in nominated the ministers is expected to reduce the uncertainty post his inauguration.

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