Russell Hsiao
President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) delivered his much-awaited inauguration speech on May 20. As Washington, Beijing, and the international community listened with bated breath as the democratically-elected leader—the self-proclaimed “pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence”—took center stage in front of Taiwan’s presidential office to deliver his vision for the future of the island nation and its relationship with Beijing. In contrast to the reckless and dangerous assertion of Taiwanese independence that officials from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Chinese propagandists insist the speech represented, a careful reading of the inaugural speech of the 16th president of the Republic of China (ROC) presents a fairly nuanced and balanced formulation that is generally within the bounds set out by his predecessors, in terms of both Taiwan’s place in the world and the relationship between the ROC and the PRC.
Lai Inauguration Feature
James Baron
On May 14, an event was held in Sofia, Bulgaria that aimed at fostering dialogue and collaboration among Bulgaria, the European Union, and Taiwan. Organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Taipei Representative Office in Greece, and the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria (a Sofia-based nongovernmental organization), the event was titled “Bulgaria/EU – Taiwan Relations: Promoting Democratic Resilience.” One of the event’s several panels focused on “collaborative strategies” for “economic development” and another on “expanding institutional ties.”
econ feature
John Dotson
Jonathan Harman
On May 23, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched a two-day military exercise in the wake of Republic of China (ROC) President Lai Ching-te’s (賴清德) May 20th inauguration. The exercise was the largest PLA exercise in the vicinity of Taiwan since April 2023, and had several notable features. First, while it was smaller in size and scope as compared to the 2023 exercise, it covered a larger area than 2022 and was more focused on five key areas. Second, for the first time the drill included significant coast guard activity around Taiwan’s smaller island chains. Third, the PLA named the operation Joint Sword-2024A (聯合利劍-2024A)—the same designation it gave to the 2023 operation. However, the addition of the year and letter implies that this recent exercise will be part of a future series of exercises. While these developments do not indicate an imminent invasion or other military attack, they do imply that the PLA will likely engage in further blockading drills—and that, in the future, these could expand to include Taiwan’s outlying islands.
defense feature

Read our latest occasional report

The Global Taiwan Institute (GTI) is pleased to announce the publication of a new occasional report titled The Chinese Communist Party’s Political Warfare Directed Against Taiwan: Overview and Analysis. This report, written by GTI Deputy Director John Dotson, provides an overview of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) political warfare in seven areas—information manipulation, “lawfare,” gray zone operations, economic coercion, united front work, espionage, and cyber operations—as well as analysis of the implications of these subversive activities intended to undermine Taiwan’s democratic society. 

This report is the first of five planned reports in GTI’s Counter Ideological Work and Political Warfare research series. Subsequent papers in this series, forthcoming throughout the course of 2024, will delve into these seven aspects of CCP political warfare in further detail.


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