On September 4, 2019, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that she will officially withdraw the extradition bill which caused much anguish and anxiety in Hong Kong. Protestors did not accept Lam’s withdrawal of the bill as it came too little, too late.
The ability to mobilize several thousand misinformed youths to paralyze airport operations showed the mastery of the radicals to use modern media platforms to spread false or fake news to rally the crowd.
Polls in Taiwan on the issue of independence and unification indicate that most residents support keeping the status quo. Does that mean supporting independence? It does if one believes Taiwan is already independent. Otherwise it doesn’t.
The general strike called by Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill netizens on August 5, 2019 wreaked havoc in the city. The general strike reflected both the strengths and weaknesses of the anti-extradition movement and offered some clues on how to resolve the impasse.
There are some thorny issues facing the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, namely the sales of weapon systems by the US, the calls for independence by DPP hardliners, the tendency of Beijing to “contain” Taiwan, and the need to exercise wisdom in running Hong Kong.
China released a white paper titled China’s National Defense in the New Era and named Taiwan separatists and their activities as the “gravest immediate threat” to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the “biggest barrier” to the peaceful reunification of the country.
Recently, Japan imposed protectionist measures as a retaliation against South Korean court rulings. Japan’s new trade protectionism measures seemed to threaten South Korea’s chip making industry and this had evoked strong reactions.
A proposed extradition law that is supposed to address the legal loopholes allowing fugitives to hide in Hong Kong boomeranged and triggered the worst political crisis in the city since the 1997 handover.
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu won decisively in the Taiwan Kuomintang presidential primary, with a strong possibility of claiming the presidency for KMT in the 2020 elections. His win may also be redefining Taiwan politics.
The visit by a senior Japanese official to Colombo, Sir Lanka marks the gradual expansion of new security cooperation in the increasingly important Indian Ocean region. This engagement is expected to gain greater momentum this year.