Lawrence Chung

Lawrence Chung

Lawrence is a contributor to Inkstone. He covers major news in Taiwan for the South China Morning Post.

Taiwan’s latest US weapons ‘boost its ability to fight off Chinese invasion’
Taiwan’s ability to strike back at a potential attack from mainland China has received a further boost after the US approved its second arms sale to the island in a week, to boost its coastal defenses. The Taiwanese defense minister said the deal would help the island achieve its goal of being able to destroy half of any invading force. In a statement on Monday, the US state department said it had notified Congress of its approval for the $2.4 billion package, which includes 400 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 100 launcher transporters, radar and support systems. The arms deal is the ninth approved since Donald Trump became president in 2017. According to the state department, Taiwan will be abl
US missiles give Taiwan ability to strike Chinese mainland
The United States has offered to supply Taiwan with weapons that can strike targets on the Chinese mainland as it helps the island increase its ability to counter any attack from Beijing. Military experts said the latest US arms sales, the first of their kind for more than four decades, were intended to enable Taipei to counter the increasingly modernized firepower of Beijing, which considers the self-ruled democracy to be part of its territory and has vowed to take the island – by force if necessary. The latest batch of proposed arms sales – the eighth to be approved during Donald Trump’s presidency – was welcomed by Taipei on Thursday in the face of growing military intimidation from Beiji
China tells US to stop developing its relationship with Taiwan
The Chinese government has asked the US to stop deepening its unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan, after Washington’s announcement of a new economic dialogue with the island. “We called on the US to ... stop official interaction with Taiwan in all forms,” said Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday. Hua described the US Taiwan Relations Act, which allows for de facto diplomatic relations, as “illegal” and “invalid,” adding that it broke the one-China principle – under which Beijing insists that any country with which it has diplomatic relations must sever official links with Taipei. On Monday, US assistant secretary of state David Stilwell said
US to send its top health official to Taiwan. Beijing won’t like it
The United States will send its health secretary to Taiwan in the highest-level official visit to the island since 1979, in an announcement that has drawn warnings from Beijing. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will lead a delegation “in the coming days,” according to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto US embassy in Taipei in the absence of formal diplomatic relations. Azar will be the first visiting cabinet member of the Trump administration and the highest-level US official to visit the island since Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.  In response to the US announcement, Beijing warned Washington not to “send the wrong s
Longing to travel? These Taiwan airlines offer to take you to nowhere
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to make travel abroad difficult, two Taiwanese airlines are offering those itching to fly a rare opportunity to take off – and return to where they come from. Next weekend, an EVA Air A330 will take off from Taoyuan International Airport, fly over the northeast cape, circle Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and head home again via Taiwan’s southeast coast. “There will not be a stopover in Japan,” a spokesperson said. The brief weekend getaway – the flight will last two hours and 45 minutes – is an example of airlines’ attempt to keep their business afloat as the virus has wiped out the majority of international flights. Globally, airlines could lose more than $345 bi
Taiwan opposition leader suffers another rebuff
The defeated candidate in this year’s Taiwanese presidential election has suffered another electoral rebuff after an unprecedented recall election. Han Kuo-yu was removed as mayor of the city of Kaohsiung on Saturday after more than 900,000 eligible voters backed his removal. Han was reported to have been Beijing’s favored candidate during the presidential campaign. Some analysts said his ouster was a reflection of the growing resentment on the self-ruled island toward Beijing. Han was the first Taiwanese official ever to be removed in this way. It marked a stunning reversal from his landslide election victory in Kaohsiung 18 months ago, as he rode a wave of popularity that took him to the
Coronavirus brings US and Taiwan closer together
As the relationship between Beijing and Washington has deteriorated during the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States has managed to use the crisis to shore up relations with Taiwan.  The tightening relationship has been met with strong disapproval from Beijing, and analysts said it would further strain cross-strait relations. The coronavirus pandemic has already strained the relationship between Taipei and Beijing, with the handling of the repatriation of Taiwanese people in the central mainland city of Wuhan being one of the most recent areas of contention. On Friday the de facto US embassy in Taiwan promised “more cooperation with Taiwan for years to come” in a move observers interpreted a
How playing up a ‘sense of crisis’ could keep Taiwan’s president in office
Chemistry student Chen Pin-yu will be voting for the first time when Taiwan heads to the polls in January, and she has already made her choice. “I’ll be giving my vote to Tsai Ing-wen because she is more capable of defending Taiwan than Han Kuo-yu or James Soong,” the 21-year-old, who studies at Tamkang University in Taipei, said. Chen was concerned about the self-ruled island’s fate if President Tsai lost to Han or Soong, whom the student said “would turn a blind eye to Beijing eroding our sovereignty.” Young voters like Chen will be crucial for the three presidential candidates on January 11, analysts say, in an election seen as a choice between protecting the island’s sovereignty and kee
Taiwan opens doors to students fleeing Hong Kong turmoil
University students fleeing campus turmoil in Hong Kong can attend lectures at colleges in Taiwan to continue their studies, the Taiwanese authorities said on Wednesday. Students would be allowed to sit in on courses without credits for the rest of the school term, which runs from early December until January 3. “Regardless of whether they are from Taiwan or not, university students in Hong Kong whose studies have been interrupted by the protests in Hong Kong are welcome to register with a number of our universities here if they want to continue their studies,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Education said. Students who want to qualify for a degree would have to apply through the ministry. The offer
Facebook vows to ‘protect’ Taiwan’s election from fake news
Facebook said on Tuesday that it would step up efforts to counter disinformation and state-backed influence operations ahead of the Taiwanese presidential election in January. While it does not control the self-ruled island, Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has sought its return to the mainland fold.  Taiwan’s authorities have reported an average of 30 million cross-border cyberattacks each month this year, with a sizeable number from the Chinese mainland suspected of trying to affect the result of the upcoming election. Facebook said its 35,000 worldwide staff will step up their efforts to check content and beef up security starting in mid-November, when the island’s presi