Taiwan Gathers to Repel China’s ‘Hard Power in Soft Power Glove’

Taiwanese officials and regional academics put forth responses to Chinese ‘sharp power,’ cyberattacks and ‘fake news.’

The News Lens
Date: 2018/10/10
By: Nick Aspinwall

Credit: Reuters / TPG

Taiwan is ploughing an uneasy passage between the Scylla and Charybdis of foreign interference and the danger of lurching back towards authoritarianism as it comes to terms with its role as ground zero for Chinese cybersecurity and sharp power threats.

This was the takeaway from the inaugural Defense Forum on Regional Security, hosted Oct. 8-9 by the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), a think tank founded in May 2018. The conference addressed regional cybersecurity, the threat of disinformation, and Chinese “sharp power”: a newly fashionable term described at the forum by Chung Chien-peng (鍾健平), Professor of Politics at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, as “hard power in a soft power glove.”

Scholars and public officials ruminated on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s aggressive policy speechon China last week, a Bloomberg story on an alleged Chinese hardware hack, and the disappearance and resignation of Interpol President Meng Hongwei, who has been accused by China of taking bribes.

In assessing this shifting security environment, the upshot was that Taiwan has much to clarify about its strategy of inter-departmental and external collaboration in confronting, and coexisting with, China. At the conference, academics from East, Southeast, and South Asia shared analyses and proposed policy responses with an audience of Taiwanese officials, foreign representatives, and journalists.    [FULL  STORY]

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