12/12/18 Sigur Center Taiwan Conference Series | Taiwan-US Relations: Enhancing the Terms of Engagement in Media, Business and Trade

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Lindner Family Commons Suite 602
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052

RSVP HERE

About the Event:
Amidst concerns about the use of Chinese sharp power in the region, digital media literacy and disinformation in elections, and economic uncertainty from the unfolding US-China trade war, opportunities may arise for the US and Taiwan to enhance terms of cooperative engagement on issues that worry both sides. Please join the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Organization of Asian Studies for a conference with experts to discuss Taiwan-US Relations: Enhancing the Terms of Engagement in Media, Business and Trade. Lunch will be provided.
Agenda:
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM: Registration

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: 
Panel I: Media Literacy and Fake News: Countering China’s Sharp Power Impact
Topics of Discussion:
  • How Do I Know if That’s True? Dealing with Disinformation
    • Margaret Farley, Adjunct Professor, American University School of Communication
  • The Social Media Landscape in Taiwan
    • Jessica Drun, Fellow, Party Watch Initiative
Moderated by: Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies

12:30 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Panel II: Protecting Convergent Interests in Business and Trade
Topics of Discussion:
  • Strengthening the Taiwan-US Partnership
    • Riley Walters, Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Center
  • Taiwan-US Business Interactions and Digital Economic Issues: The Real Deal
    • Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President, US-Taiwan Business Council
Moderated by: Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies
 —
About the Speakers:
Maggie Farley is a former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent who is now exploring the intersection of journalism and technology, and recently returned from a four-week speaking tour in Asia about news and disinformation as part of the State Department’s International Speaker Program.
Farley was a professional fellow at American University from 2015-2017 focusing on engagement design for journalism, and is now an adjunct professor at AU in the School of Communication. She is a co-creator of the fake news game, Factitious, which tests players’ skill in telling real news from misinformation. (www.factitiousgame.com) Farley spent 14 years as an award-winning foreign correspondent for the LA Times. She was based in Hong Kong and Shanghai, covering Southeast Asia and then China before returning to New York to head the U.N. Bureau just in time to cover 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq.  Farley hopped to new media from old media in 2009, as a partner in Lucky G Media, creating digital educational content. Lucky Grasshopper, an animated app for learning Chinese characters, hit the App Store’s top ten in educational apps in 2010. Farley has designed digital education projects for Pearson Foundation, bgC3, and is the chair of the advisory board for the News Literacy Project.  She has a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from Harvard University.
Jessica Drun is a fellow with the Party Watch Initiative. She was previously a project associate at the National Bureau of Asian Research, where she managed and assisted with the organization’s Taiwan programming, as well as its annual People’s Liberation Army conference. Her research interests include cross-Strait relations, Taiwan domestic politics, U.S.-China relations, and U.S.-Taiwan relations. Ms. Drun has also held positions at the National Defense University, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Project 2049 Institute. Ms. Drun graduated with an MA in Asian Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2015 and an AB in International Affairs from the University of Georgia in 2011. She spent a year abroad in Taiwan as a 2014-15 Boren Fellow. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and conversational in Min Nan Chinese.
Rupert Hammond-Chambers began working for the US-Taiwan Business Council in October 1994. In March of 1998, he was promoted to Vice President of the Council with additional responsibilities for office management, oversight of the staff, financial bookkeeping and a clear mandate to build out the Council’s member/client base. Mr. Hammond-Chambers was elected President of the Council in November 2000. As the trade relationship between the United States, Taiwan and China continues to evolve, he has worked to develop the Council’s role as a strategic partner to its members, with the continuing goal of positioning the Council as a leader in empowering American companies in Asia through value and excellence. Mr. Hammond-Chambers is also the Managing Director, Taiwan for Bower Group Asia – a strategic consultancy focused on designing winning strategies for companies. He is also responsible for Bower Group Asia’s defense and security practice. He sits on the Board of the Project2049 Institute, and on the Advisory Boards of Redwood Partners International, The Sabatier Group, and the Pacific Star Fund. He is a Trustee of Fettes College and is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.
Riley Walters is policy analyst for Asia Economy and Technology in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. He specializes in Northeast Asian macroeconomic issues as well as foreign investment, emerging technologies, and cybersecurity. Riley previously lived in Japan, one year in Kumamoto prefecture and one year in Tokyo while attending Sophia University. He holds his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He also holds a minor degree in Japanese Studies. Before joining The Heritage Foundation he worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute as a research associate. Riley is a former Penn Kemble Fellow with the National Endowment for Democracy and George C. Marshall Fellow with The Heritage Foundation. Riley was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. He and his wife now live in Arlington, Virginia. He is fluent in Japanese.

Transcript

Alexandra Wong:
Good morning everyone. My name is Alexandra Wong. I’m the officer of Taiwan Affairs for the Organization of Asian Studies at the Elliott School. Thank you so much for all being here today. I’m just going to take a little time to introduce OAS, as we call it. OAS is a student led organization that tries to connect young professionals interested in Asia with professionals working in the field. We try to share cultural experiences, expand the academic experience, and try to connect DC Policy community with the classroom. In addition, I’d like to add that today we will be live streaming the event and I think there’s a few live streamers out there at this moment and I’m going to introduce the director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. His name is Professor Benjamin Hopkins and I would like everyone to welcome him. Thank you.

Benjamin Hopkins:
Thank you Lexi. Good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning for what is the final of our Taiwan Conferences slash Roundtables for 2018. We annually do four of these and I’m really happy to do today’s.

Benjamin Hopkins:
I’ll just get into today’s program which looks to be really fascinating and slightly different from some of our previous conferences. Today we’re here to talk about the Taiwan-US Relations: Enhancing the Terms of Engagement in Media, and Business, and Trade and I’ll be chairing this morning’s first panel which is about media’s literacy and fake news. We have two fantastic panelists with us today whose bios you can find in the program, which hopefully you all have a copy of.

Benjamin Hopkins:
Maggie Farley is a former LA Times correspondent, is currently an adjunct professor at AU. She was telling me, just before we sat down and started, about the game, which is referenced in her bio, Factitious, which she assures me is PG and is well used between nine and three which means it’s well used in schools it sounds like. I think we’ll have some interesting conversation about fake news and maybe how we can all check that out on, is it, factitiousgame.com.

Benjamin Hopkins:
Jessica Drun, who’s a fellow at the Policy Watch Institute and was previously an associate at The National Bureau of Asian Research. With that I’ll turn it over to our speakers who were going to each present for about 20 minutes or so after which we’ll open the floor for questions. To follow Jessica and then, Maggie.

Jessica Drun:
Thank you. I’d like to start by thanking Deepa and Richard for the opportunity to speak here today and to the Sigur Center for hosting. I’d like to note that these comments are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization that I’m affiliated with. I was asked to discuss Taiwan’s social media landscape and its vulnerabilities to outside actors, especially as it pertains to last month local elections. I want to start by setting the stage and quickly going over the current state of Cross-Strait relations. Since the current DPP president, Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016, China has terminated official contacts with Taipei and increased pressure on the Island, including by poaching its diplomatic allies, squeezing its international space and sending fighter jets near Taiwan. All this has happened in spite of continued reassurances from president Tsai, that she is committed to maintaining the status quo.

Jessica Drun:
This is not enough for Beijing, which has called for Tsai to affirm the 1992 consensus, a vague formulation centered around the notion of One-China, which was used by the previous KMT administration as a baseline for official contacts. At the same time, Beijing has pursued local avenues and in engaging with the Island. It has continued engagement with the KMT by rewarding KMT health districts with economic packages and exchanges with Chinese officials at the local level. Beijing’s aim has been to paint the DPP in a negative light, as unfit to govern while bolstering the KMT as a more capable alternative. Its apparent approach to social media interference falls in line with this objective, to undermine Tsai in the DPP.

Jessica Drun:
So just how widespread is social media usage in Taiwan? According to statistics in 2017, 80% of Taiwan’s internet users actively use social media. Facebook was the most popular platform with a 77% penetration rate. Mobile messaging app Line, similar to WhatsApp here in the States, came at 71%, Twitter at 21%. However, these platforms are used in different ways for political discussions. PTT, a bulletin board system, not dissimilar to Reddit is Taiwan’s most popular platform for discussing politics. As of March this year, PTT had 1.5 million registered users with 150,000 active users during peak hours. Facebook comes in second while Line is harder to measure given that discussions are private. Twitter is used more by politicians to engaged with audiences outside of Taiwan. Social media did not gain traction as a tool for political campaigns in Taiwan until the 2014 local elections. When Ko Wen-je the independent candidate for Taipei mayor, effectively used social media to rally support. The DPP social media strategy in 2016’s presidential legislative elections were also cited as a reason for the party’s victory against the KMT that year.

Jessica Drun:
These terms have been explored and assessed in China with state media citing the statistics I mentioned earlier, as well as the advantages social media has provided the DPP in the 2016 elections. Chinese universities, such as Xiamen University, have likewise conducted in depth studies of Taiwan social media usage. All in all, this reflects an acute understanding of the role social media plays in fostering political debate on the Island and in election strategy. There have been numerous instances with Chinese interference in Taiwan social media. Ahead of the 2016 election, Chinese internet users gained access to Facebook, which is normally blocked in China, and spammed Tsai Ing-wen’s official Facebook page with critical comments. Her page was again spammed in January 2016, as was the pages of popular Taiwanese media outlets that were reporting on the election.

Jessica Drun:
At this point in time, it was clear that the posts came from China. The comments on the Facebook pages all use simplified characters instead of traditional characters including line-by-line repetitions of Chinese government slogans and featured an unwarranted degree of animosity. Studies out of Taiwan, however, have seen efforts on the Chinese side to better blend in through a localization campaign. Social news include converting texts on account and messages from simplified Chinese to traditional and learning to imitate local ways to speech used in Taiwan. A Taiwanese scholar has also noticed a strategy focused on swing voters, targeting pro DPP pages to weaken perceptions of support and posting positive article about the KMT while adding Taiwanese friends on these platforms to come off as legitimate locals. A [foreign digital application] post was circulated that outline a quote battle plan in January 2016 that more or less substantiates these claims. The posts ask participants not to swear, to keep your emotions in check and to focus on promoting anti-independence materials.

Jessica Drun:
As these efforts become more sophisticated, their effects began to take hold. The most prominent and ultimately tragic example is from September of this year during Typhoon Jebi in Japan, which knocked out a bridge and stranded thousands of travelers at the Osaka International Airport. Rumors began to circulate and were amplified by traditional media in Taiwan, that the Chinese consulate who managed to deploy a bus to the airport to assistance its citizens, but were refusing to aid Taiwanese at the airport unless they affirmed allegiance to Taiwan. A public outcry and ensued, criticizing Tsai, the DPP representative to Japan Frank Hsieh, and Taiwan’s de facto consulate in Osaka. During the fallout, the head of the consulate committed suicide. Afterward, Taiwanese internet users found that the original post came from an IP address in Beijing and Japanese officials refuted the claim asserting that the Chinese consulate did not have access to the airport.

Jessica Drun:
Again, all these posts are aimed at Tsai and painting her administration as unfit to govern and convincing social media users and Taiwan’s electorate that this is the case. There have been numerous other examples including false claims on her government’s approach to the sensitive topic of pension forms, as well as an incident when there was flooding in Tainan. Post began to circulate claiming that’s high was unsympathetic and refuse to step into floodwaters to check on victims despite though later emerging, disproving this. In the aftermath of last month’s elections, it’s worth stressing that any interference from China will be hard to source given things like IP spoofing. It is also difficult to weigh the impact against other factors that could have determined election outcomes. In spite of this, and ultimately in the end, Beijing got what it wanted. The KMT swept the elections and the candidates, but one, have called for greater engagement with China.

Jessica Drun:
The statements out of the Taiwan Affairs Office, likewise, call for local level exchanges under the 1992 consensus noting, and I quote, “With a correct understanding on the nature of Cross-Strait relations and the nature of exchanges between cities across the Strait, more countries and cities in Taiwan are welcomed to participate in such exchanges in cooperation. Moving forward to the new year more KMT health cities and counties will engage with China at the local election… local level while relations at the top remain frozen.” What I think is important to note, however, is an unwillingness to draw parallels between the election outcome and potential Chinese meddling in Taiwan public discourse. Taiwan’s government and the cyber from FireEye have both cited strong evidence that China was playing a role. Yet as the election results are unfolding, and even in the aftermath, there was little reference in Taiwan’s mainstream media of any effect Chinese influence may have had on the outcome.

Jessica Drun:
Part of the reason interference campaigns are successful is because the societal and political divides are already there. The hyperpartisanship is already there. We see this not just in Taiwan, but here as well. Authoritarian governments are able to localize their efforts and exacerbate existing tensions at relatively low cost to themselves. Perhaps the first step to addressing this issue is a bipartisan consensus through a working group or something similar that aims to work toward a solution. Any outside support should be disavowed, not encouraged, as undermining democratic institutions. Thank you.

Margaret Farley:
So I first came to Taiwan in 1996 when Taiwan was preparing for it’s first democratic presidential elections and China was shooting missiles, in its direction. And I got to land on the aircraft carrier of The Independence, which was flying straight to try to keep these… So these days Taiwan is still having democratic elections and China’s still shooting things Taiwan’s direction. But now it’s not missiles, it’s misinformation and disinformation. And that’s my game. I’ll just interrupt myself. It’s… The interface is based on Tinder so it has, whether you, you swipe right if you think it’s real and left if you think it’s not real. So I was developing and my husband looking at my phone, he was like, “Why do you have Tinder on your phone?”

Margaret Farley:
Okay, so back to disinformation. So what we call fake news now has been around for a long time. It just used to be known as something else. It’s been used to start wars. You remember the M-A-I-N? To erase people from history, to add people from history. Anyone from Taiwan in the crowd recognize these people? Anyway, former directors of the AIT were photo-shopped out and a controversial author was photo-shopped in, inside joke. So we talk about misinformation and disinformation, and the difference is, is misinformation is sort of mistakenly spreading news that’s not true. Information, that’s not true. And disinformation is deliberately deceiving or distorting information.

Margaret Farley:
And so this is what we see in our presidential elections or in the French elections, in the German elections trying to manipulate voter behavior. So this is an example done by the Russians targeting people on Facebook who were likely to vote for Hillary. And it says, “Don’t bother to vote. Just text your vote in”. Which, you don’t know how many people believed it, but it was fake. And… Hoaxers, the people who create this information, this information are very clever. They’d be great marketers because they get everybody to do their work for them. They want you to share it, and they know how to target you to make you want to share it. In fact, before our presidential election, more people shared false news on Facebook than real news. And that’s when we realized we really had a problem… because they know how to target your biases.

Margaret Farley:
You know, it’s not really our fault that we believe this stuff, it’s the way our brains are wired and there’s all sorts of biases in what we’ll go through, but, so today I want to talk first about why is this information so effective and why has it been so effective in Taiwan in particular? Why is it such a problem there? And what can we do to detect and combat it and what is Taiwan doing?

Margaret Farley:
So our brains love fake news. Oh my God, it’s so exciting. Can you believe that? Oh, I’m right. I knew I was right all along, I’m going to tell everybody. This is the effect that they want to create and they know that people are attracted to those kinds of stories and those are the kinds of things that are going to get shared. There’s also confirmation bias, which is even in the face of evidence, we’d like to cling to our beliefs. In fact, when we’re presented with facts that show that we’re wrong, sometimes people will double down and say, Oh, I’ve been raised that way all my life. I’m not going to change my mind you’re just trying to manipulate me.

Margaret Farley:
Technology has its own bias. It amplifies and accelerates all of these trends. You know about bots? Not actual robots, but they are computer programs designed to spread information much, much faster than a human can. And that plays into the algorithms which looks to see what are popular in the search sites or on Twitter what’s trending and it elevates what’s popular and not necessarily what’s correct. We’ve seen bots in lots of elections and in our elections, in the French elections and the German elections, helped Duterte become president in Philippines. And just this week they found that Russian bots are fanning the flames in France with the yellow vest movements.

Margaret Farley:
There’s also familiarity factor. The more we hear it, the more we are likely to believe it. And that is a product of the bots as well. And then misinformation, disinformation, it plays on our social bias because we like to be in a community, we like to create groups. But when we create a group, it also excludes people. It can create a wall to keep other people out. So, the disinformation likes to play on these tensions, whether it’s political or racial or religious, ethnic, or in Taiwan, the Cross-Straits tension. So I tell people this is a red flag. Anytime you get a piece of information that inflames that feeling of us versus them, whether it’s my football team is the best or my country is the best, be aware because what we believe will be less about the facts or the evidence than about our loyalty to a group. You know, the fact that I think that anybody should be able to carry an automatic riffle may say less about the facts that lots of school children are unnecessarily being killed than it marks me as a member of a tribe. Not my personal belief.

Margaret Farley:
The other thing that they know is that we trust news from friends more than from other sources. So guess what? They want to be your friend and they’ll pretend to be your friend. So you have to ask yourself, who are they and why are they telling you this? So this is an example from before the presidential election when a Russian group went to Facebook and said, “We want to target likely voters, supporters of Trump”. And this came across the Facebook feed and they said, “Press like to help Jesus beat the devil”. And so if you’re a conservative Christian, part of this group that they’re targeting, what are you going to do? Like! And then once you press like they know that you believe that they want you to believe, they send you a friend request and then suddenly this information is coming into your newsfeed as if it’s from your friend. It doesn’t say sponsored, it’s not labeled as a political ad, it’s just your friend sharing their interesting information.

Margaret Farley:
They even use this to help start organizing demonstrations. This is when “Down with Hillary! Come demonstrate in New York city. I’m going, are you?” So this information, you know, it seems innocuous, it’s just your, your newsfeed, whatever. But it actually has very profound effects on the society that’s based on a free market of information. It causes confusion and it doesn’t even have to be correct or incorrect as long as it muddies the truth. It’s very damaging because we make our decisions based on what we assume to be reliable information. It distorts the public debate, which is essential to a democracy and it leads people to make uninformed choices about their life, about their health, about their leaders.

Margaret Farley:
So Taiwan, you can see all of these elements playing out in the disinformation that affects Taiwan. But Taiwan has a few special ingredients that make it a different case from the United States. Well, like the United States, it has among… It’s one of the world’s highest users of social media. The internet penetration is almost total. Even the old people, especially the old people, elderly people are online and using social media. They mostly use LINE, which is like WhatsApp or kind of like Twitter. There’s a key existential issue, this tensious Cross-Straits tension. Should Taiwan be independent? Should it be autonomous? Should it be separate from China or should everybody be part of one big motherland?

Margaret Farley:
There is a lot of media. There are a lot of media in Taiwan, especially digital now… And they’re often influenced very much by the social media, just like you can see here too, but in Taiwan they call it journalism. Journalists are actually rewarded for the number of clicks they get and the number of stories they post, which doesn’t foster in-depth reporting, independent reporting or a thorough fact check. The other is China’s massive scale. Maybe you’ve heard of the 50 Cent Army, which is an arm of the military, the cyber troops who are supposedly paid 50 cents for every post they make and they’re rewarded if it makes it into the Taiwanese official media or off the social media into the regular media and they… Taiwanese officials say that they fend off 2,500 cyber probes attacks and bits of disinformation a day that they know about.

Margaret Farley:
There’s also the need for better media literacy. It’s starting to be taught in schools, and there are other tools that I’m going to show you, but in general, just like in the United States, a media literacy is a relatively new phenomenon. Some people in Taiwan have told me also that their educational system doesn’t foster critical thinking and that there are educational forms targeting that as well.

Margaret Farley:
So this is just an example of how fake news has real consequences and it’s amplified on the Kansai incident that we just heard about from Jessica. So the story was that the only Chinese were being rescued from the flooded airport, and if you were Taiwanese, you had to pledge loyalty to say that you’re a Chinese citizen to get on the bus. So this started in Chinese social media and went to Chinese media. It, this is Chinese, it went to Taiwanese social media and then into the regular media, and it caused so many people to attack the Taiwanese official in Japan, that he ended up committing suicide, saying that he just couldn’t bear the agony, even though the story was wrong, the government tried to refute it, but the social media tidal wave of anger and attacks drove him to his death.

Margaret Farley:
So there’s something, a small, tiny, independent fact-checking organization that just started this year, the Taiwan Fact Check Center. And so they tried to trace this back. How did this whole story start? Where did it start? How did it get so much momentum? And it was traced back to a Chinese social media user. And then it got momentum on the mainland and then came through as I showed you, but they actually reported it out and they call the Kansai airport officials and they asked who sent the buses to rescue the passengers, where did they get to? And the answer was very clear and that wasn’t the way the story that had been reported in the media at all. But the Taiwanese official was not at fault. But then the Kansai airport officials asked, “Why are you the only one who’s called?” And they said that to that point, no one had really called and asked those questions. Here’s some examples of fake news that I’ve translated that have influenced the election. This was for the presidential election a couple of years ago. There was a report on social media that Taiwan was going to lease this little island in the Spratlys, which is as you know, contested territory to the United States to use as a naval base. So of course if you get a huge uproar between not only Taiwan and China, but the United States having to get involved as well and, and refute that.

Margaret Farley:
I think you talked about this as well. So during the floods in Tainan, there was this picture of Tsai Ing-wen who, when they said, “Oh, she didn’t even get in the water. She didn’t even meet the people. And look, she’s laughing at this man”. This was the social media post, she’s laughing at this guy like drudging through the water. But in fact, this is the real picture. And she was waving to this guy. So it’s just little things like this. There’s just a constant stream of messages that are seeking to undermine one candidate or another to inflame tensions.

Margaret Farley:
And you can’t prove that they all come from the mainland. There are plenty of political opponents just like here, it’s very hyper-partisan. But you can get the idea of the climate. Tsai Ing-wen and her, her Facebook page actually said, “Someone wants to suppress how long democracies. Someone wants Taiwanese to be afraid”. Then it was like, “We have to show with our boats that these efforts will be useless”. It’s pretty clear who that someone she’s referring to, to which, is it [inaudible 00:15:50] replied, Tsai Ing-wen is fake news”. But if everyone is saying that the news is fake, what is real? “If the truth isn’t true,” as Rudy Giuliani said, ” then what is the truth?”. It’s very confusing. It’s very subversive to democracy, to a real conversation, to even just making decisions in your daily life.

Margaret Farley:
So it leads to open questions, which we can talk about for the next half hour. What is the responsibility of the platforms to filter the news? Should there be more government regulation? And what about freedom of speech? How do you balance the need to protect people from this information and the need to protect people’s freedom of expression? Every government in the world right now is grappling with this and they’re all coming up with different answers. So does anybody know who this is? Yes. So this is Audrey Tang. She is a transgender, anarchist hacktivist who’s now the Digital Minister without portfolio in the DPP and she’s always the smartest person in the room. She’s amazing.

Margaret Farley:
She’s self-educated, dropped out of school, learned everything on the internet when Silicon Valley made a lot of money and now is in the government committed to radical transparency. Every decision is a consensus decision. She doesn’t do anything top down. I was hoping she’d be here today. Sometimes she beams in by hologram, which is really cool and that she shrink it down to kid size when she’s speaking at schools. Maybe here she’d be like really big.

Margaret Farley:
And she also espouses something which I think is a really unique strategy called troll hugging, which is she can see, she has a notification bot when people are talking about her on social media. And if they’re saying things that she wants to confront, she’ll pop up in the chat in a little video message and say, “Is there something that you’d like to discuss?” And it’s completely disarming and very effective because she can engage with people and actually say, why are you saying this? What are your beliefs? Why? And she says, “Sometimes people just want attention. They just need a hug” and so she calls it troll hugging. Anyway. She says, “When SARS came to Taiwan, you couldn’t negotiate with the virus. You can’t stop it at the border. All you can do is educate people on not to get the virus and to inoculate them”. And so her attitude is that’s what Taiwan needs to do, educate people. And that’s been shown to be very effective because there are technological tools, which I’ll show you, but it’s always a cat and mouse game. So the best thing is to sharpen people’s tools of critical thinking and we all get fooled. But at least you can get people to ask questions.

Margaret Farley:
So this is what is happening now in Taiwan to deal with this information. Actually tomorrow, there are amendments being considered. There are proposals to expand existing laws, but there has been a clamor by some politicians to make digital disinformation a criminal offense. And it’s sparked a big debate in Taiwan, but people were afraid that it would lead to a crackdown on freedom of speech. So it’s a slippery slope. And so the government has decided to expand existing laws for fraud, like will preventing social chaos, but not start anything new, not introduce any new legislation. Media literacy we talked about, they’re already started in the schools.

Margaret Farley:
A rapid response by government as an absence of good information is speculation. So the government is trying really hard to get responses to questions out, same day. And the last, Audrey Tang’s big thing, critical thinking and empathy to teach people to question their information, to evaluate it critically and also to expose themselves to different viewpoints so they can understand where people are coming from and what’s a reasonable claim. Not to mention the troll hugging. That’d be great if you could all do that. So there are these different fact checking centers that are popping up in Taiwan. One just started this year. It’s the government Real-Time News Clarification agency. It’s a really good effort. They are committed to answering questions on the same day so journalists can have it by deadline, but it’s really hard to find. You have to go to the executive one page and sort of go through, it’s only in Chinese and it’d be better if it were point to point, if they could find a rumor on Facebook and respond to that rumor right there where they found it on Facebook or online or on television. That would be more effective. There’s the Taiwan FactCheck Center. They are very diligent. It’s university based, but actually run out of a small apartment by a handful of people.

Margaret Farley:
And then this is called gov-dot-zero or g0v who’s created this bot and it’s a good bot as opposed to the evil bots. out there. And it was started by one of the developers who was tired of responding to his grandmother who was always posting, spreading conspiracy theories and rumors online, the LINE app, to all of her friends and all of our relatives several times a day. And because of the hierarchy of respect in Taiwan, he couldn’t keep saying, “Grandma, that’s ridiculous. It’s not true. Don’t spread it”. And so he and his friends developed a bot and said, “Just friend a bot and send the piece of information to the bot. And the bot will say, ‘this is true, this is not true”. And again, instant response and pretty much essentially the thought before you send it to your friends. And so if you friend the bot, it’s called Cofacts, they’re hoping to stop the spread right at the beginning.

Margaret Farley:
Here’s another tool that developed called News Helper and it’s a browser extension. It’s the same g0v. And you can download that and put it on your browser and he’ll pop up when you encounter a story, and give you a little warning… That it’s been disputed over, that it’s been proved to be a rumor. These are great ideas. They rely on volunteers right now and so, it’s hard to keep up with the flow. So, you know great in concept, could be better in execution. This is what it looks like online. You can actually go to the site and see what the latest rumors are. That’s the Taiwan Fact Center this is the executive ones, Real-Time Clarification page.

Margaret Farley:
But even Premier Lai saying that the government is not doing a good enough job… And he blames fake news for skewing the elections. Jessica also touched on this, they’re trying to teach people how to recognize the telltales that may lend disinformation. Things like looking out for the simplified characters that aren’t used Taiwan, making it clear that it came from someplace else. But the disinformation is becoming more and more sophisticated. It looks more like native content and now we’re dealing with things like deep fake. Does anybody seen the video of Obama whose mouth has been manipulated to say words that he would never say Jordan Peele in this great public service announcement. I sometimes have it, but it won’t play. You should look it up on YouTube. Just Google Obama deep fake and Jordan Peele is talking and saying, and the words are coming out of Obama’s mouth. It looks pretty convincing. And he says things that Obama would never say like, “Stay woke bitches”.

Margaret Farley:
That’s really effective. It shows what’s coming. It’s out there. It’s not widely used. It’s not completely sophisticated yet. But in five years I think we’re all going to be asking whether we can believe our eyes. So the big push right now is to teach people to ask questions. Who’s telling me this? What’s the purpose? Where does it come from? Do other sites have the story? Even little kids can ask, who says? How do you know that? It’s worth teaching people to ask. And we were also talking about how to be critical without becoming cynical and not believing anything. That if you stop and consider before you share where it’s coming from, why they might want you to believe that, who benefits from the spread of this information. It can go a long way to send me the flow of disinformation. So this is what I tell the students, like these are all great tools for you, but the best tool is your brain and your finger. So before you press the button to share, maybe just hand in your pockets, sit on your finger and think before you share.

Benjamin Hopkins:
All right. Thank you Maggie and Jessica. We’ve got plenty of time for questions and I’m sure we have a room full of questions to come. I’m going to use the prerogative of the chair and actually ask one to get the ball rolling. You both talked a little bit about the penetration of social media in Taiwanese society. I wonder, do you know anything about the demographics? So Maggie, for instance, you were talking about a grandmother that keeps spreading these fake news, are we seeing, for instance, younger people are less likely to be on Twitter and Facebook or that there are certain platforms that certain demographic groups are prone to?

Margaret Farley:
I think in terms of PDT, most of the users are college or university level graduate students and people that started using the platform when it first started, so young adults. Except for that one. I think there’s less older people on it.

Jessica Drun:
Facebook has remarkably high penetration in Taiwan. Almost everybody’s on Facebook of all demographics, like in the United States, it’s, it’s skewed towards older people now as younger people drift towards newer and more visual things. But in Taiwan, in a lot of countries, Facebook is the internet. LINE also, I think it’s 80% penetration on Facebook. And about 60% of people get news from Facebook and 30% of people don’t believe all the news that they get on Facebook. And LINE has penetration that’s almost as high as Facebook. If you’re using Facebook, you’re also probably using LINE. And the thing that surprised me is how many older people are on LINE. It’s very easy to share, to make groups. And there are also closed groups like WhatsApp, if you know WhatsApp.

Jessica Drun:
And so it’s a little bit harder to penetrate and see where people are getting their information, where the information is coming from. The information is often divorced from context. So you don’t know the source, but packed in a way that is really exciting and easy to share.

Benjamin Hopkins:
So I open to the floor for questions. Yes. Right.

Question 1:
Leo Bosner retired government worker, federal employee. Thank you. Leo Bosner, retired federal employee. With regard to the Taiwan government trying to get out there quickly and refute some of these things. To what extent do the Taiwan government agencies and ministries have strong public information offices and have people in there who have, let’s say, journalism degrees or journalism backgrounds? Or are they simply civil servants trying to struggle with this thing?

Jessica Drun:
I think the government is very serious and trying to grapple with this. And the realtime clarification thing is, is admirable and, and I think that it has a lot of support behind it. They do have younger civil servants who are very adept at social media guiding it and getting things out. The problem is you have the official response, but can an average person find it and does the average person believe it? A lot of people just discount it saying, Oh, well that’s just the government propaganda, or that’s, that’s the government’s position.

Jessica Drun:
So that’s part of the problem. The other problem is that it’s just not widespread enough. It’s not easily find-able. I mean they’re always just playing catch up and by the time it comes to their attention, the rumor might’ve already have been, you know, a week old and spread to all of the social media outlets.

Question 2:
So hi, I think we just, in listening to your presentation. I was wondered if it’s like based basically like going back to the basics when it comes to understanding and handling media, you know, news, social media. I mean like I remember, you know since you were a kid were told if you studying reading, you read that all the editorial information because the way you learn about the author, the source, the leaning of the source to kind of be able to discern about the information. And I wonder how much of that do we do now because we get so much information at such a fast pace for so many sources.

Question 2:
So I mean what would be your take on that in terms of minimal standards of dealing with that, you know?

Jessica Drun:
Yeah, absolutely. What you’re saying is that this is really a matter of critical thinking. And in history classes, students are taught to read different viewpoints of history and to examine who wrote the history. Is it the history of the victors? Whose voices are we hearing? Whose voices are we not hearing? And those sorts of questions are questions we can bring to any bit of information. Whose voices are we hearing? Whose voices are we not hearing? Why are they telling this story? Why do they want us to believe it?

Jessica Drun:
I think that schools here can do a better job of teaching that critical thinking just across the board. But media literacy in particular, because media has extra challenges because you don’t know the source or it can be a grain of truth that’s manipulated or exaggerated. And so our traditional critical thinking skills sometimes are not enough when we’re dealing with these new forms of information that are coming so quickly and from all over the place.

Question 3:
Okay. My name is Dr. [Inaudible 00:06:19]. So you talked a lot about disinformation coming from China in real world it is a two way street. It’s going the other way as well. Now the bigger issue here is that the Chinese have the great firewall and getting information in as we, it’s very well widely known getting information in to the population general average population. It’s not as easy as it is for China to push information into Taiwan. So what are the obstacles faced by state bodies using this information and what types of dissipation occurs? I mean you must have evidence of that as well. Over to you.

Jessica Drun:
What I would really like to, I agree with you that the disinformation is a two way street but China has more government controls and we can talk all day about that as well. And I would like to know at the cybersecurity level what the Taiwanese government is able to do. I mean it’s something that they don’t talk about publicly, but I thought just that statistic that they’re fending off 2,500 attacks a day that they know about is significant. The disinformation can be anything from a cyber attack on a government computer network to this, more the softer cultural based muddying of the information waters. But now they’re calling it sharp power instead of soft power, right? Instead of cultural influence. I mean because it’s so micro-targeted.

Jessica Drun:
Tell me if I’m answering your question. I’m sorry.

Question 3:
All right. I wrote about this strategic communication a while back. We wrote an article about how you target specific groups of people, their demographics and you tailor your message, which is the same message. You’re telling according to the particular group that you needed to do that to. And my suspicion is that they utilize easy access into different types of social media in China. Not the general ones that they use maybe in Taiwan, but to get the information across. It’s just what the controls are in China, for example. [inaudible 00:08:58] I think a lot of people interested in that here anyways.

Jessica Drun:
How to circumvent the controls in China?

Question 3:
Right, it’s not that difficult, whenever I’m there I use a VPN. I can do anything I want.

Jessica Drun:
Right. Right.

Question 3:
They get shut down very quickly.

Jessica Drun:
That’s true. And as a foreign correspondent, I was based in China for several years. It was earlier in the technology was cruder, but VPNs were the easy way to get around. And you’re right, it was a constant cat and mouse game. You just, you’d identify a VPN, use it until it gets shut down. You identify another one. People use codes people use… I used to get invitations to coffee over electronic greeting cards that you have to type in a code to enter, from dissidents who didn’t want the information to be monitored.

Jessica Drun:
Anytime I tried to do use anything encrypted on my computer, our network would suddenly stop working. So there are all sorts of ways. I have a friend who has millions of followers on WeChat and found that the government was able to isolate groups of his followers. And so the message, something he would tweet or put on WeChat would go out to certain groups and not get delivered to other groups. So the controls are very sophisticated but so were the users and so it’s just a constant game of cat and mouse.

Gerrit van der Wees:
I am Gerrit van der Wees former editor of Taiwan communique. Thanks very much for the excellent presentations, both of you. Both of you touched on the issue of how to distinguish this information from real facts and that’s getting to be increasingly difficult. One example, case in point is the election of the mayor in Kaohsiung. Some people say that he was elected because the Chinese media hyped up his candidacy. Therefore he got more and more of a following. Others say, well, he’s a real populus. And he said, I’ll make Kaohsiung great again. And people believed him. So how do you move forward in that kind of situation?

Jessica Drun:
Maybe [inaudible 00:11:24] take this one.

Margaret Farley:
It’s hard to measure exactly the amount of influence this information had on a candidate election. Right. There’s just so many other factors in play, you know, given those a local election personality played a big role. Also just natural dynamics in a democratic system like Kaohsiung was held by the DPP for a significantly long time. So I think it’s hard to extract exactly how much of an impact these factors played in. But in the end it did result in his election and China got what it wanted. So it is important for the government and other democracies to look at how to minimize impact and how to counteract this information.

Jessica Drun:
Yeah, I think that’s a great answer. It’s clear that there were bread and butter issues and, and I think that it’s convenient sometimes for politicians to have fake news to point to. Hillary blames the Russians. And in Kaohsiung, they can say it’s because of the mainland. I mean even the Premier is saying our government isn’t good enough at stopping fake news. And that’s why it was part of a memo about why they lost the election. And so I’m pointing the finger there. But what’s clear is that the makers of disinformation are able to identify whether they’re internal actors or external actors, are able to identify tensions within the country and then use their tools to inflame those tensions and widen this.

Question 5:
Ah, thank you for the very interesting presentations. My name’s [inaudible 00:13:20], Fulbright visiting scholar, Sigur center and also originally, a journalism professor in Japan. How do you say, well, what’s your assessment though of the short term goals, Chinese cyber disinformation operation? Create hunger, create confusion of what’s next. So what’s your strategy from your assessment?

Margaret Farley:
Oh, I think in the particular case of the local elections, it was to help KMT candidates so that they have more opportunities to do, across level cost exchanges with China, and then give them the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to govern and help the KMT with the 2020 elections at the national level.

Jessica Drun:
Yeah, it’s been said that this was, the local elections were a trial run for the presidential elections, but the longterm goal is to, to undermine Taiwan’s aspirations to be autonomous, to have a well-working democracy, and to be sort of a demonstration or an example for the mainland. And the ultimate goal is reunification.

Question 6:
Hi, my name’s [inaudible 00:14:43] . I’m a senior studying Asian studies and Chinese here at GW. My question is, so there’s a large basket of issues such as the recognition or the pressures that China is putting on other countries to withdraw the recognition of Taiwan. They’re considered broadly as a course of action against Tsai Ing-wen. I guess my question, it might be a bit speculative. Do you see this sort of disinformation campaign as something that’s specific as a course of action against Tsai Ing-wen or a new normal that would continue under a KMT government at the national level of post 2020?

Jessica Drun:
I think that, I’m just saying Wen was elected on a platform of Taiwan autonomy. Even pro independence that she became a particular target and a KMT official who wanted to keep things status quo or even become closer to China would not become that sort of target. But if you’re looking at the longterm goals of ultimate reunification, then you could argue that any Taiwanese leader who doesn’t actively aim for that is also a target.

Margaret Farley:
I would say that social media wasn’t really on China’s radar until the 2014, 2016 elections. So we don’t have prior examples of them potentially using disinformation against KMT candidates. I think what will be interesting to see is if there’s factions in the KMT, if there’s any disinformation out, pitching, say the local factions, nurses, the more pro China factions. We saw this more in state media and not in fake news, but that China was supporting KMT members like [inaudible 00:16:39] who over people of the local faction, like the current chair of [inaudible 00:16:44].

Question 7:
Oh Henry Hector retired government. We have a Voice of America, I presumed as a radio Taiwan and I wonder about the quality of their broadcast as far as this information or some problem areas it may have detected.

Jessica Drun:
Does anybody here listen to The Voice of America?

Voice of America speaker:
We are not radio Taiwan. Voice of America is US government right.

Question 7:
There is a radio Taiwan, though?

Voice of America speaker:
Yeah, so yeah, he’s talking about radio Taiwan.

Jessica Drun:
Yeah, no, she’s, she’s just distinguishing between radio Taiwan and Voice of America, which is under the BBG. But you’re asking whether Voice of America is viewed as disinformation in Taiwan or whether how it counters disinformation?

Question 7:
I wondered what your feelings are on radio Taiwan as far as the information that they’re supplying.

Jessica Drun:
I can’t speak to that because I don’t live in Taiwan and I don’t hear it

Margaret Farley:
I can’t speak to it.

Jessica Drun:
Good. Can anybody in the room? Yeah.

DPP speaker:
Unlike [inaudible 00:18:02] I work for the DPP here in Washington. You can go onto the website RTI, and check it out. I think they probably presume, and I, when I read it, it’s like AP or something. It’s pretty straight forward. I don’t think it’s propaganda in the same sense of disinformation is my, my opinion. But you could go check it out.

Benjamin Hopkins:
All right. I’m cognizant that we have a short break for lunch where we’ll be reconvened for our second panel at one o’clock so I’ll go ahead and wrap this up. I would just reflect as a historian in the 19th century. The irony of the CCP putting the arms of the people’s Republic of China in support of the KMT in local elections must have Mao turning in his grave.

Deepa Ollapally:
All right, well everybody welcome back. I’m Deepa Ollapally, the associate director of the Sigur Center. And I think, gotten off to a rousing start with the first panel. And hopefully you’re fueled up even more after the lunch. And I know some of you have not finished, but please go ahead and carry on while we start the panel here. This morning, we heard about a emerging topic, the new social media and some of the things that we really don’t understand. So, I learned a lot. I’m speaking for myself on that. Now I’m very happy to turn to our second panel, which is looking at the economic and business and trade relations between Taiwan and the United States. It’s really how to strengthen that relationship. It’s slightly older topic, but an enduring one and a very important one. Particularly with the Trump administration where the onus I think often falls on some of the other countries to prove why they’re such economically attractive to The United States.

Deepa Ollapally:
So, and Taiwan is one of these countries that like everyone else has to do with that. We’ve got two terrific panelists to lead us through this discussions. And I’ll just introduce both of them and then turn it over to them. We’ll start with Riley Walters, who comes to us from the Heritage Foundation and he’s a policy analyst there. He focuses on Northeast Asia and political economy and as we were talking that, most analysts in Washington focus on the security of military aspects of the region. So, it’s wonderful to have someone here who actually knows a deeper element of economics, which I think we don’t do enough of. He has been writing quite a bit. Recently on this specific topic. Which is why I really wanted to have him here. Before joining the Heritage Foundation, he was a Penn Kemble Fellow with the National Endowment for Democracy. He’s also held the George C. Marshall fellowship with the Heritage Foundation.

Deepa Ollapally:
And he’ll start us off. And joining him is Rupert Hammond-Chambers. Who probably doesn’t need too much introduction to this group. We’re welcoming him back for an event here. He is the President of the Taiwan-US Business Council. And he has been in that position as president since 2000. I guess there’s no term limit as long as he’s doing such an outstanding job, right?

Speaker 2:
It’s a good job.

Deepa Ollapally:
He’s also the Managing Director on Taiwan for the Bower Group Asia. And he has been focused on really designing ways in which companies can strategize to do more business in Taiwan-US interactions. And so with that, I will turn it over to Riley to start us off and then we’ll turn to Rupert after that. Thank you.

Riley Waters:
Thank you. Thank you for the introduction. There we go. Yeah. Thank you for the introduction. All right, so when we look at the US-Asia economic relationship these days, this week, last week, there are a lot of moving pieces. And so things tend to be sort of lost in the noise. Obviously when we’re talking about US-Asia economic relations, the biggest piece of this, is the ongoing US-China trade dispute. It seems like almost every month there’s some new speculation over what the Trump administration’s strategy is for sort of reconfiguring the US-China relationship. Whether there’s some new sort of grand strategy that is an amalgamation of trade and security. People are unsure of the restrictions that might be placed on bilateral trade and investment. To what degree and for how long. And we see a lot of this uncertainty in the markets and currency volatility over the past several months.

Riley Waters:
Right now, the US and China have entered the early stages of this 90 day period for negotiations toward ending the trade dispute. And by the end of which will have some sort of deal. A deal to remove some of the bilateral tariffs on both sides. And to sort of come to an agreement to amend what the Trump administration has seen as years of unfair trade and just unfair practices mostly on the China side obviously. It’s unrealistic to expect though that with now less than 80 days, that anything of significance, something that will completely revolutionize the Chinese economy away from this state driven economy, is possible. But, as USTR [inaudible 00:05:36] has alluded to on Sunday, one thing that they will accept to a certain degree is even just a promise to reform. So, there is steps in the right direction in the US-China relationship. But it’s unrealistic for the US to continue to pursue unilateral trade action against China and expect as robust reform of China, as it could achieve without our international partners.

Riley Waters:
Obviously, the US shouldn’t be solely focused on reforming China and China’s economy and the role its government has in its economy. The Indo-Pacific strategy of the Trump administration is more than just… It’s not necessarily a China containment initiative. Trade and economics is a huge part of this free Indo-Pacific strategy. And this is where partners like Taiwan are in the relationship. With Taiwan playing an important role. Like most countries in the region though, Taiwan has become more economically dependent on China, trade with China investment in China. Arguably more than some in fact. Almost 25% of China’s total trade is with China. And it doesn’t help that Taiwan, again like most other developed countries, is starved for growth. Looking for something more than just 2%+ GDP growth next year. The relationship that Taiwan has with China obviously isn’t the same that the US has with China, that the US has with other countries like Japan or China has with Japan.

Riley Waters:
Slowly but surely, Beijing has… I’m sure they’ve talked about this in previous panels and as most of you know, Beijing has aspirations of bringing sort of Taiwan back under its arm. And slowly but surely Beijing is trying to make it harder for Taiwanese to actually engage in economic activity with third parties. While at the same time, attempting to win the hearts and minds of Taiwanese businesses and individuals. So, over the last couple of years we’ve seen the effects of China’s economic leverage, both of private companies and countries alike. I don’t think anything stands out more though than the effect that it has had on intergovernmental relations. Taiwan has been left out of some significant trade deals, at least, to a large degree in the Asia Pacific and all signs tend to point to China on this. The TPP or new TPP, Comprehensive Progressive Agreement [with the 00:08:24] Trans-Pacific Partnership [inaudible 00:08:25], will go into effect by the end of this month.

Riley Waters:
Taiwan, while it wants to be a part of it, is not a part of it. The RCEP or Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which our set partners want to agree to by the end of next year. Again, Taiwan wants to be a part of, but it’s not necessarily. For TPP, it’s countries don’t want to promote Taiwan’s ascension and anger Beijing. Meanwhile, Beijing though it’s a significant member of our set, isn’t necessarily backing Taiwan’s ascension into [inaudible 00:08:59] and into the RCEP. Bilaterally, Taiwan and China do have a trade agreement. However, rightly questioning Beijing’s true intent when this deal was signed, almost eight years ago, concerns about the sustainability, transparency and of course a breakdown in contact between the two sides, meant that this deal never went into full effect.

Riley Waters:
Instead, Beijing has shifted over the past several years. Not just with Taiwan obviously, with other countries. We can go into that maybe more in the QA. But, Beijing itself and provincial governments too are now pursuing new initiatives to sort of incentivize Taiwanese people and investment in businesses in Mainland China to sort of spread this bilateral leverage growth and leverage.

Riley Waters:
Not too long ago, the Taiwan Affairs office of China State council, initiated a program commonly referred to as the 31 Initiatives. On the surface, these measures range from encouraging economic cooperation, social cohesion, measures to increase investment and give benefits to families who wish to work in China. For example, Taiwan funded enterprises are granted land use in the same way as Mainland enterprises. Taiwanese citizens are also eligible for various cultural awards. And many of the local provinces have also, initiated similar initiatives, measures similar to what the state has directed. Fujian province, Jiangxi, Shandong, they all have similar measures to incentivize Taiwanese investment in those specific areas. Some of them are a little bit more expensive. The Taiwan Affairs office is 31 measures, Fujian is 60 measures. But they’re all similar to a degree. Given Taiwan’s place as a leading manufacturer such as in the production of semiconductors, many of the measures… Specifically at the beginning itself of these measures, the main focus has been Made in China 2025.

Riley Waters:
Despite, the news that you might’ve read this morning or tweets that you might believe in whether China will continue to pursue its Made in China 2025 initiative, I still believe that Beijing wants to become the world’s leader in developing advanced manufacturing technologies. And again, it’s why Beijing’s… These 31 measures continue to have Made in China 2025 as a top… The top of the lesson in that regard comes to sort of incentivizing Taiwanese investment. Maybe we’ll see next year if China reforms its Made in China 2025, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll necessarily have ripple effects down to these other measures which already do take China 2025 into the mix. So, that’s sort of the Taiwan-China economic relationship.

Riley Waters:
But what about the US Taiwan relationship? If you’re not familiar, Heritage has been very supportive of the US-Taiwan relationship. And hopefully, I can continue this today as we have for the past 30 years. In 2017, Taiwan was our largest trading partner. 87 billion worth of cross border trade in services and goods, over a billion in cross border investment. In 2016, US companies made over 4.5 billion in IP Revenue Licensing in Taiwan. According to some numbers, Taiwan investment makes up more than 322,000 American jobs. And that’s just, if we’re looking at exports. This doesn’t include the jobs that are supported through imports.

Riley Waters:
And when we look at economic relationships, one thing that the Heritage Foundation has always been advocating for, is economic freedom. Countries that tend to have greater economic freedom, tend to have greater economic prosperity. Taiwan is actually more economically free than the United States by our measures. If we rank the countries, zero being not free, I think North Korea is the lowest at five. And we rank 100 as the most free. No country is most free at 100%. I think the highest is Hong Kong. Taiwan ranks 13th with a 76.6. The United States rate ranks 18th with a 75.7. The aggregate numbers, the 75 and the 76, while those are short, it’s still enough that several countries can squeeze in between. We can go into this a little bit more in QA as well, but I encourage you to go on our website. We cover Index of Economic Freedom. So I wanted to plug that there.

Riley Waters:
When it comes to deals that the United States and Taiwan has, we do have a trade deal of sorts. It’s our trade and investment framework agreement that we had with Taiwan that we’ve had for over 15 years now. But we haven’t had a meeting of this in the past two years. Not since October 2016. And we’re probably not going to happen before the end of this year. This is worrisome, especially for people who look at the broader US-Taiwan relationship going forward. Certainly, there are a lot of outstanding issues that folks from the USTR like to bring up regarding beef and pork imports.

Riley Waters:
This has been a common thing though for many number of years. So one thing that we would like to pursue or at least what the Heritage Foundation has been talking about doing is, advocating for something a little bit more with the US-Taiwan relationship. What we would like to see, is a high level economic dialogue with Taiwan. This is similar to what the US and Japan have had. Talking about, sectoral reform, trade investment is an aspect of that. Certainly talking about the beef and pork import restrictions, but also the US tariffs on steel and aluminum. These are things that could be focused on the onset. But really it should be more about cooperation going forward. Areas for cooperation, areas for development, digital economy in Southeast Asia is a part of Taiwan’s Southbound policy, new Southbound policy. And of course within the Indo-Pacific strategy framework.

Riley Waters:
These are areas for benefit. What it would look like is co-led by USTR in commerce. The added benefit of this of course is the high level that it would bring to the US-Taiwan relationship at a secretarial level. Which would be historical to say the least. Obviously, there are some hurdles with this. I say obviously but, folks within the USTR do you have this sort of institutional barrier to, as I mentioned to continue with the TIFA talks or the Trade Investment Framework Agreements [inaudible 00:16:45], TIFA. As well as expanding anything beyond that. You also have a US Trade Representative, who again, at least for the next 80 days and definitely more, is going to be busy negotiating new trade deals with a Congress, a specifically a house that is no longer necessarily aligned with the party of the president. So Robert Lighthizer is going to have a very busy next year. And adding more to this makes it difficult. But that doesn’t make it any less important than the least. Secretary of Commerce can have a role in this bilateral or co-lead agreement.

Riley Waters:
So, going forward, I think it’s important that both the United States and Taiwan continue to pursue economic freedom as this, we like to grade it. These are rule of law, government size, monetary freedom, fiscal freedom, trade freedoms, things like that. It doesn’t always necessarily have to be on a bilateral basis. We both move in agreements. Though we would like to see free trade agreements with Taiwan. This is something that’s 30 years overdue. But unilateral action too can sort of help diverge some of the threats that we see growing from China, china’s economic leverage. Even though I think there will be some trade offs in the near future between the leverage it has and the weakening of its economy, but also that other economies, other governments will want to play a role in sort of integrating both US and Taiwan sort of economic development in the region. And with that, I want to stop.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
I would like to, excuse me, echo Riley’s shameless plug for the index for economic freedom. It’s an extraordinary publication is really unique and if you haven’t seen it, I would really recommend… You’re here so you’d have an active interest in the subject matter. You should check it out. It’s a really unique piece of work and it’s extremely useful. I use my copies all the time. It’s great in the moment as well as having back copies used as a resource. Anyway, I would concur with that but thank you Deepa, Richard, The Sigur Center, for your willingness to host today’s event. I wonder what Gaston Sigur would make of all of what’s going on with China at the moment. He would certainly be well equipped in my view to offer counsel to any president sitting in the white house at this juncture given his expertise and the strength of the team that he worked with.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Jim Lilley and David Lotz and Wolfowitz and Armitage others who made up the core of George Schultz Asia team. I believe that Gaston Sigur would certainly be a leader in promoting the interests of the United States in this present situation, if he were alive today. I would like to just indulge for a second here. Over the past weekend we lost a really great thinker and leader in U.S. Taiwan or in Taiwan’s economic past, John Pingal or PK John, was a instrumental in the 1980s and nineties in Taiwan’s economic miracles, 6% plus growth year on year. PK to those of us who had the privilege of knowing him was an economic central planner. Not in the Trotsky sense of it, but he played an extraordinary role in leadership along with people like [inaudible 00:02:01] and and of course Vincent Chow over that period in charting Taiwan’s economic miracle over 20 years and his passing was a great loss. He did a tremendous job for his country and he was very good friend of the United States. So rest in peace PK.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
You know, we’ve touched on… I’m going to try and fold into some of the activities of the U.S. business community, participate in and respect to some of the things that Riley has mentioned and deep pointed to as well. Trade. U.S. Taiwan trade policies is honestly like being Bill Murray in Groundhog day. It just seems like we’ve been stuck in the same day for years. We have been stuck in the same day for years. It is incredibly frustrating that we have failed today to elevate the relationship out of parochial differences and looked at it more through the prism of the strategic interests of both countries, which by the way are embedded in the Taiwan Relations Act. Our USTR’s focus on agricultural issues even if we accept them, the face of it, that they stand on solid ground, it’s the position of the U.S. Taiwan business council that they are now pursuing a failed strategy that we’d been at this for a decade and that their approach has manifestly failed.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
So how do you satisfy the requirement to change the agricultural policies of Taiwan that allow for U.S. produce based on science to flow into the Taiwan market? Solve that issue and as a consequence then broaden out the potential for a far broader and robust conversation. For our membership, we want to see that happen in the worst way. Well, our membership is a broad cross section of the U.S. economy and U.S. economic engagement. Our membership is heavily vested in the supply chain so a lot of tech, both principals systems integrators as well as supply chain companies. And those companies want to see Taiwan grow, they want to see the supply chain operate smoothly and they also want to ensure that they can operate within the Taiwan market, which as a market unto itself is also significant. Right? Taiwan is one of the world’s largest economies, it’s a top 20 economy. It’s a top 10 trading partner with the United States and that belies its significance in the supply chain.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Access to the Taiwan market is essential and these parochial matters are getting in the way of opening up sectors like financial services where I believe U.S. companies could thrive. You know the key players on either side on the Taiwan side, the trade and economic leadership team, with trade as the sort of leader here. It’s president Tsai herself. She is of course a trade negotiator first and foremost. Minister foot with our portfolio, John Dung, some of you know him, I’m looking around the room, know John personally. Vice Minister for economic affairs, Wang Mei-hua and then underneath a Mei-hua is of course the DG for the Bureau of foreign trade, Jenny Young. Those full people make up the core of Taiwan’s economic team and frankly they are well class trade negotiators.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
I’m not just saying that because I’m found of them personally. They are expert at what they do. But it’s a bit like having the… To use a sport’s metaphor, it’s a bit like the Boston Lennar Olympics and having the U.S. well cup team there with Michael Jordan and Charles Bhakti and all those guys and not letting them play. Right? What’s the point in having them if you don’t let them play? Taiwan could be a significant player in global bilateral, multilateral trade engagement if it were given an opportunity to do. It could be a leader if countries were prepared to see the opportunity inherent in engaging Taiwan and trade liberalization and of course separate of the challenge that Taiwan faces in engaging, look what Taiwan’s doing anyway. They are a leader. Think what they could do if they were given an opportunity to lead in some of these economic opportunities.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
On the U.S. side, excuse me, the U.S. side, the trade relationship has almost zero senior leadership instead of this driven primarily by working level officials at USDA state and AIT, good people all, ogre people. However, in the absence of senior political capital to invest in the relationship, they don’t have the opportunity to argue on the strategic level. Well to make a case for more and frankly it’s not their job to argue the strategic importance of the economic engagement. That is the job of people further up the decision making chain. So we’re stuck here until in my view, we get leadership.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
I do believe it’s possible with Mr. Trump and his colleagues, we really have a unique opportunity. Mr. Bolton, Mr. Pompeo to name but two outside of the traditional defense and potentially still well when he finally gets in at an EAP. These personalities could play an important role in moving us beyond this position that we have and they will have robust support from the organization that I represent and I don’t want to put words in Bill Foreman and Am Champ Taipei’s. Bill and his colleagues who do excellent work, they too have been outspoken in their interest in seeing a free slash fair trade agreement.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
On the private sector side, the tech supply chain is driving the relationship. Our main technology companies continue to rely heavily on Taiwan with Taiwan companies doing much of the system’s integration in China. You all know that. I’m looking around. You guys are aware of what’s happening within the supply chain and the critical role that companies like Hanai play in integrating Apple project products in China. Integrating right? There Hanai doesn’t make all those products, right? They integrate all the different pieces that go into our phones and iPads and all the goodies that we buy at Christmas and Hanukkah, those sorts of times. But nevertheless, Taiwan is a key player in that. That of course is the shift in the supply chain as we see it right now, is accelerating. It started prior to Mr. Trump, frankly with the rising costs on the Eastern side of China and along the Eastern Sea borders.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Cost started to rise. Companies started to move, started to move inland more in China, and you also started to see a stronger break towards Southeast Asia. Vietnam is an excellent example here, but the geo strategic tensions that have arisen since president Trump responded in my view, I absolutely reject the notion that this is Trump’s trade war. That’s nonsense in my view. It’s not Trump’s trade war. We have been attacked in my view. The predatory practices of the PRC required our response and if Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump had won, well Mrs. Clinton won, I still believe at some level we would be dealing at this moment with that predatory behavior. So we have a government at the moment here in the United States that is attempting to address that.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
I worry about Riley’s comment to a wee bit, that he thinks that things will be sorted out in 90 days. I hope not because I don’t believe that will mean…. If we accept what China puts forward in 90 days, I think we’re going to end up with a very poor deal because I do agree with Riley when he says that the structural issues that we’re dealing with in China aren’t going to be fixed in 90 days. This is far more systemic than that and frankly I’m highly suspicious of banner Chinese headlines about how much of this they’re going to buy and what they’re going to do over here. And two or three years later we find its pennies in the dollar.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
So I think this is… I think we’re in it for the long haul here and I actually believe that that Mr. Trump’s colleagues recognize that. That this is a heavy left and we’re going to be at it for a while because the most important thing for the national security interests of the United States that is inclusive of its economy and the companies within that economy, many of whom are members of the U.S. Taiwan business council, is it their intellectual property, their trade secrets, their ability to operate in the supply chain and have the critical technologies protected is essential. And so it represents an existential threat to their very existence.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
So I think we sort of worked through a bit. So we are seeing some shift in the supply chain. I’m not going to do your homework for you if you are, so please don’t ask me what the data is on, to give you all the specifics. You can see it right here in MOEA’s release data report and the ministry of economic affairs release data every month. But what we’ve seen basically is a shift in about 30 cents of every dollar away from China into Southeast Asia over the last two years for tracked investment. Taiwan tracked investment and in essence the analysis study that we have in house is it, what’s happening is you’ve got about 35 to 40 cents in the dollar still going into China. And what we attribute that to is constructed concrete facilities that are over that require new equipment, maybe a new building or two, but that it’s already established boots on the ground.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
The next 30 to 35 that was used to be flowing into China is now shifting away. That money might normally be expected to go further West or to some new facility. Now it’s going out of China. Now these Taiwan supply chain companies that are looking at Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, that’s where these guys are going. That part of the money is now shifting. So overall, you’ve got a shift where the majority of the money was flowing into China, let’s say 65 to 70 cents in the dollar. Now it’s 65 to 70 cents to the dollar flowing to somewhere else, right? And 35 to 40 cents of the dollar or 30 bath, let’s say a third of a dollar still flowing into China, so a significant change.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Again, I want to be clear, attributing it to two things. One, the rising cost for manufacturing in China is a function the fact that… Do you know what I mean?It’s getting more expensive to make things there, and two the geo strategic risk and the direction that the overall relationship between the U.S. and China and indeed the rest of the world and China is heading and the and the interest on the part of supply chain companies to shift and to balance that risk out a wee bit more than it has been.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Can I speak for a couple more minutes? Is that all right?

Speaker 2:
Yeah, go ahead.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
The IC industry of course dominates Taiwan’s geopolitical and economic leadership. Taiwan semiconductor is a monster and it will continue to be. It is run as well as any company in the world. I’ll never tire of saying that. Maurice Jong did an essential service to the fortunes and future of Taiwan. Political fortunes and future by building that company because it makes it an essential partner to the United States, given our reliance on IC production out of Taiwan for our own critical industries here in the United States.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
TSMC is right at the heart of that. A very good book that was actually written by a guy who worked for the semiconductor equipment manufacturing association called Silicon Shield. It came out about 25 years ago. I actually just reordered a copy since my walk about, but it stands the test of time and what it really gets to at its heart, is America’s reliance in Taiwan. Taiwan is a semiconductor manufacturer of critical chips for American products. Makes it an essential strategic partner. It’s not fully understood regrettably. We’re starting to try and wrap our arms around it. It would be a tragedy if we had a blockade or some sort of a military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait and the supply chain got cut and we really came to understand how quickly our supply chain, our manufacturing lines would come to a Holt if Taiwan was cut off from the supply chain.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Look at how quickly ZTE came crashing down when it couldn’t get hold of its chips. It was days, days. That’s how well these inventories are managed. And ZTE’s obviously a Chinese example, but these things work both ways as I’m sure you’re all aware. Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Cuoco, Micron, Corning, all these U.S. Tech companies as a matter of public record are hugely vested in Taiwan from a research and development and an entrepreneurial standpoint. Apple oversees a product, branded product you can buy, and then…But you’ve also got critical suppliers like Corning, they make the glass, Corning makes this glass, it’s called gorilla glass, right? Absolute leader, right? A lot of money to be made. They’re all there, they’re doing their work in cooperation with Taiwan.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
So let’s pivot a wee bit and just touch on what Deepa had asked. Taiwan’s digital future, what is Taiwan trying to do on the digital side?

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Taiwan’s digital nation and innovation economic development program. Say that five times fast. Running from 2017 to 2025 is well underway. To site, DPP government initiative it’s rather… it’s a bit more usefully known as Digi plus. So use that, I do. It’s designed to capitalize Taiwan’s evolution into a network nation with all of the commercial and personal transformation that, that implies. The goal for digi plus is to bring Taiwan economic activity in the digital economy to 200 billion plus by 2025 while increasing the broadband penetration to over 80% for digital lifestyle services and increasing speeds beyond two gigabytes. So over 90% of the country. So it’s ambitious. It certainly is ambitious. How’s it going to get there? Well, it’s going to require a dual headed approach. Obviously legislation from the Levi UN, and we saw some proactive movement and positive proactive movement in this past year from the LY with the financial technology development and innovation experimentation act again, say that five times fast. And the act for the recruitment and employment of young foreign professionals.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
One, FinTech. Taiwan could do an excellent job in FinTech and two, it’s critical but highly politicize this [inaudible 00:17:10] of managed immigration, right? To positively impact the pool of employees that Taiwan has time. Taiwan has… frankly, it’s an existential threat, Its demographic situation. The growth in people is just not significant enough. Immigration could be an important part of that if it’s appropriately managed and of course immigration has an important impact. It’s quantifiable on entrepreneurial-ism. The construction of new businesses. Again, if you get those policies right, you can create to Google, you can create other, obviously Google’s a massive example, but I think you get point that I’m making. In immigration… Again, managed immigration is an important positive role player in a country’s present and future economic environment.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
AIT, the American Institute of Taiwan and the National Development Council have been doing an excellent job too in cooperating on the digital economy. The U.S. global cities team challenge has also had an impact on Taiwan’s digital landscape by pushing to create a single platform for entrepreneurs, for technology firms and local governments to develop smart city solutions for tougher municipal problems. Taipei and Tai Jiang have already signed up. I don’t doubt that [inaudible 00:18:33] and the others will follow in time. It’s not, it doesn’t cost anything as far as I know, but I think importantly it creates a unified platform for these cities and municipal areas to assist entrepreneurs in constructing solutions for domestic local peoples.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
And then finally, the Asian Silicon Valley initiative, which many of you might know is part of Tsai Ing-wen’s five plus two and that’s really focused on innovation R and D, creating a robust startup ecosystem with entrepreneurs with access to funds, qualified employees and modern facilities. We haven’t heard as much about that of late, but nevertheless, it remains an important government policy.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
One concern I have and then I’m going to stop. The one concern I have relates to Taiwan’s connectivity with the rest of the world. Taiwan only has, as far as I’m aware of one undersea cable that connects it. One, it does some of its broadband through satellite, but that is an issue because the Chinese could do this very easily in a confrontation situation and Taiwan would be cut off from its principal broadband connection. From my understanding, CHT Jawan Telecom, whose responsibility it would be to lay another of these cables believes that it’s too expensive to lay more, but to me, this is a national security, and it should be elevated out of the parochial interests of the company into a broader debate on how to ensure that Taiwan in any situation, in all situations can retain connectivity and bandwidth it needs for peaceful evolution and God forbid anything that comes in underneath that. Thank you all very much.

Deepa Ollapally:
Both of you have laid out very clearly some of the attractiveness of Taiwan for the United States. Why the U.S. Should be deepen engagement economically with Taiwan. But if I were to, if you were to distill your several pieces of argumentation, what would be the best way for Taiwan to make case that United States at this point it should pay particular attention to Taiwan? Why it’s so attractive because this different distribution, I think it’s all about what is X country going to do for me? For the United States?

Riley Walters:
Yeah. I think, you know, it plays back into this Indo-Pacific strategy that the Trump administration is pursuing, right? It’s again, as I said earlier, it’s not just about competing with China. It’s about also assuring your alliances, making new trade partners in the Indo-Pacific region. And I think as Rupert very eloquently laid out, Taiwan is a big part of a U.S. Economic interests. If I could just, sort of in addition followup to something he said, I knew he was going to bring up capital flow, so I did bring some of those [crosstalk 00:01:18] bilateral investment across the streets had been decreasing. It’s probably fallen by about 50% at least Taiwan, again, investment in China over the last 10 years. But even if we look at just last year, so MOEA has the numbers for January through December this year. And if you compare it to the just 2017, so the whole year last year, FDI in Latin America is down almost 50%. FDI in Australia is down 90%. FDI in the United States doubled. So they’ve already invested over a 1.51 point 6 billion in the U.S. Compared to just last year alone. So, you know, I think some, it was Rupert who was alluding to, you know, there are companies and they’re already strategically realigning their supply chains because of some of the risks that China presents.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
[inaudible 00:02:10] If I were in charge, I would, these are going to be somewhat over political things, but I would say you buy as much U.S. Energy as I possibly could. Taiwan is building new LNG terminals. I would expedite that process Taiwan about how does energy problems anyway that we need to know a whole other panel and another hour to deal with that, but so I would certainly be buying as much U.S. Energy is as time would possibly could. And then the other thing I would point to is it an issue that we followed closely and it’s related to the IC industry, the United States trusted Foundry program. For those of you who don’t know what that is, trusted Foundry program is the program the United States uses for the procurement of classified chips for classified programs. We have some foundries here in the United States. They’re mostly low tech, low end.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Honeywell owns most of them, but there is a significant need for high-end investment at at least the 300 millimeter, 12 inch level here in the U.S. To partner with the Department of Defense and other agencies in the production of classified chips. Taiwan would be a perfect strategic partner here in the U.S. to handle that. Taiwan has a Foundry in the Pacific Northwest, but I, my counsel would be something more ambitious, maybe the purchase of the global foundries Foundry that’s for sale in the Albany area of New York, and or a completely new build by a Taiwan business. So a couple of thoughts.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. Memo to the U.S. Let me open it up for Q&A and if you don’t mind before you ask the question, just identify yourself.

Speaker 4:
Okay. I’m going to go here.

Speaker 5:
Thank you very much. My name is [inaudible] was trying to reveal news agency of Hong Kong. My question is for Mr. Rupert. What means being off the impact off the U.S. and China trade talks. All the U.S. Sales to Taiwan. I still remember it in October. You said it is possible there will be another round of on sale to Taiwan by the end of this year. But right now, we have 90 days negotiation between U.S. And China. What do any of these kinds of opportunities? The opportunity.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Thank you. You [inaudible 00:04:30] what I hope will be the only on sale question. But I don’t think there’s any thing to see. I don’t think there’s any impact at all. It is my view that we are now back to regular order for on sales. If the sale is a sale and if there isn’t, there isn’t, it’s not going to be impacted by U.S.-China economic tensions. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be either.

Speaker 7:
Leo [inaudible 00:04:58] a retired federal employee. Question for Mr. Walters on the U.S. political support for Taiwan. It seems to be a start to the Republican parties with the stronger supporter of Taiwan at least for the last maybe 20, 30 years or so. With the Democrats now controlling the house, what do you see as yet from the Democrat side? Will there be any changes do you think with the stuff going on in China they’ll be equally supportive in a bipartisan way, or what?

Riley Walters:
Yeah, that’s, you know, it’s difficult, especially since you know, the new Congress hasn’t even started yet. So you know, there’s, you know feeling or feeling around in the dark a little bit on you know, the future. I think as you alluded to, I think Congress is still very supportive of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. I mean last Congress, they were very vocal about their civil war, both sides. And I think that can continue onto next year, the U.S.-China relationship, this might be a little bit more difficult. You know, certainly Democrats have their own critiques of the U.S.-China relationship and I think is where Democrats and Republicans are either going to butt heads or weren’t together some issues. They might, you know, some issues they might agree upon, some issues they might disagree upon, so.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
This side?

Speaker 5:
Go for it [inaudible]. So I want to kick it up a step and ask question more related to the geopolitical aspects. The U S Taiwan relationship is generally seen within the prism of what they would in China. Helps mend the relationships in today’s Sino-U.S. relations. Now I believe you probably would like a separation of that. What is the possibility of a separate relationship with Taiwan as a nation and recognize about the will. I mean realistically speaking, given the trajectory of China in the forthcoming future as well, is it actually possible or is the U.S.-Taiwan relationship also always going to be subset to the sign-up of PLC U.S. relationship? Both coming future…longterm?

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Yes. [inaudible] say yes. I’m going to say yes is my answer. There it’s golly, what a huge question. I subscribed to the notion that Taiwan is, the Republic of China is always already as a functioning state, right, is already a functioning state and as a practical matter, we already treat it as a country. Of course, there is nomenclature and an illegal apparatus that we wrap around that that makes different. Treating Taiwan as a subset of China is a choice and you can actually start to see within the U.S. Government some shifts in that because it has served the U.S. Poorly in doing so because quite reasonably, those people who are responsible for China to eat China as the preeminent issue in any question they take. And if they’re responsible for Taiwan, they will always defer to China. One of the things I hope we will see more of, and it’s happened in one department, I know it’s happening in another, we’ll see Taiwan be broken out of that dynamic within the U.S. government so that when Taiwan is considered as an issue or an issue impacting U.S.-Taiwan relations, it’s considered the person making that consideration at the assistant secretary level, is not responsible for China.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
That person is, excuse me, the deputy assistant secretary level is not responsible for China. They’re responsible for Taiwan and Southeast Asia- or Taiwan, Japan and Korea as opposed to Taiwan and China. It’s a small onset . Do I foresee a few, did you say a future?

Speaker 8:
When immediate media, intermediate, long term, given the way the China’s is moving forward and rising and given their increasing power.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Well yeah, but that doesn’t-

Speaker 8:
The relationship with U.S., is it going to change? And if it goes to work, the challenges is.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
I think, well I feel as if what you’re inferring is that the only people that only, the only entity getting stronger is China, right? The U.S. Is getting stronger, Taiwan is getting stronger. It doesn’t, it’s not just China getting stronger and get stronger and stronger and stronger and all of that and the rest of us falling further and further behind. So I think, I think the ability of the United States to continue to project its interests as they relate to Taiwan is that and will remain. And I also think the reason for continuing to back Taiwan in the relationship actually is shifting away from a legacy parochial issue. As this gentleman pointed out in respect to the relationship with the Republican party, more towards what are the realities within the region at the moment?

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
What would it mean to have Taiwan as part of the people’s Republic of China? From a strategic standpoint, from a military standpoint, what message would we be sending to the rest of the region if we said we’re going to let Taiwan go, the rest of you, don’t worry. That’s not your fate. I think that would be a strategic disaster for the United States and its interests in the region. So it’s a hard question to ask. Yeah. We can maybe have a whiskey or a bearer ready. Really talk into it cause I, I don’t know. Anyway, please. Ready? Go ahead.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Question.

Speaker 9:
Hang on. Just, mic’s coming.

Deepa Ollapally:
Challenging with United, Jamie’s group, Taiwan. So some U.S. Officials and lawmakers claim that Huawei is a threat, to U.S. National security and as many Taiwanese people and companies use Huawei products, would Taiwan be a concern for the U S and if that’s the case, should Taiwan government banned the use of Huawei products? Thank you.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Okay [inaudible 00:10:43] who takes the easy question.

Riley Walters:
What did we just trade off? Actually, I believe the government of Taiwan just recently banned the procurement of Huawei and ZTE as well. I think in its government procurements. I mean, yeah, the United States has long seen Huawei and ZTE as a national security threats. I mean, the complaints alleging to Miss Mung’s the CFO of Huawei’s arrest over the couple of weekends ago. I mean, those were issues from, you know, at least a decade ago continuing, I think it was like 2009 to 2013. And the implications that they had, obviously those were for different national security reasons, but national security reasons nonetheless. You know, while you putting the Iranian sanction issues aside, there are still both espionage and cybersecurity concerns out there that, you know, not just the United States government of course has issues with, but other governments as well. And so as we’ve seen over the past couple months, and I think as we’re going to see moving forward, you know there’s going to be more of this hesitance and certainly restrictions on who can buy at least from the government point of view, who can buy these types of technologies.

Deepa Ollapally:
Any other thoughts or [inaudible 00:11:59]?

Russell:
All right, so what’s the shell with the global Taiwan Institute rubric? You left off with a very interesting idea, especially on the submarine cables and I wanted to give you an opportunity to sort of fill it off on that a little bit more. I think you, you pointed out that, you know, there was one case, a submarine cable that was sort of.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
That’s my understanding Russell, yeah.

Russell:
I believe there’s 11 cables that are actually connecting to Taiwan submarine cables connecting to four cables connecting to four cable manning stations in Taiwan. But you may be referencing the specific type of submarine cable. But you know, I certainly think that there isn’t ample room for cooperation between the United States and Taiwan and maintaining these critical, critical, I think critical infrastructure. Actually, if we get global internet because it just how much financial flows as well as information that traverses through these submarine cables and given Taiwan’s a strategic position in the mid-point of the first island chain and in the mid-Western Pacific, I think people don’t actually sort of appreciate that sort of geographic and position in Taiwan.

Russell:
And so I wonder, and most of this is all privately managed. So there’s certainly a part where Taiwan can play a very important one. I think it should be doing more [inaudible 00:13:10]. Maybe you can address the part where you see it. There are other opportunities where the United States and Taiwan can, or closer together with regards to the maintenance of these cables because they often do get disrupted. Where there’s, you know, a lot of fishing trawlers at inadvertently, but it can also be sabotaged too, as well. And that would not only be disruptive for Taiwan, but it’d be disruptive for regional conductivity, as well, so.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
I think Russell, in this question that you’re raising and we’ll get down into, you know, what cables do was, but there the one bits of this I’d like to point out and this relates to the trusted Foundry program issue as well is I would like to see, and perhaps it’s taking place, I’m fully willing to have some U.S. Government officials say, well [inaudible 00:14:00] and say no, we’re already talking about it. I don’t think so, though. That issues like this, all the trusted Foundry program could be elevated maybe into Riley’s, you know, high level economic engagement talks, whether there is a more significant push into looking at issues that transcend just parochial economic matters, but have strategic interests for both countries as well, where they sort of dovetail nicely with one another. This is obviously one of them, right?

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
Connectivity to the outside world. What kind of plan is the Chinese have? Is it going to, from a commercial standpoint, is it enough? What needs to be done? Is it enough just to leave CHD to be in charge of it or is this something that the president’s office should be dealing with itself? And then CHD should be directing or and or some other company to, to, to address these issues? I would welcome seeing an issue like that all the trusted Foundry program elevated into, into the higher level so that United States can potentially partner with Taiwan in these areas.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally:
We’re awful. We’ve got like one minute, but you did have your hand up very soundly. I’m sorry about that. Please keep it short.

Speaker 10:
Okay. [inaudible 00:15:17] with Voiceover America, China branch. Just want one question about Canada. We’re seeing reports showing interest in who have investment protection. [inaudible 00:15:27] with Taiwan, can you just talk about it? Is this something new, or this is just been under the radar for a while?

Riley Walters:
I heard about it, but I’m not too familiar with it. Sorry.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers:
I honestly, do you know, I only what I read and probably you wrote [inaudible 00:15:48] , so I listen. I know what you’re talking about. I saw it. I saw it in my Taiwan papers as well, but I hadn’t heard anything about that before this week. And candidly, I’m thrilled. Hopefully the Chinese won’t get to the Canadians in time so that something can be consummated and that the Canadians can have the courage of their convictions to follow through on it. I would hope for that, but beyond that, I’m afraid I have no insight.

Deepa Ollapally:
Well it’s always good to end on an unanswered question because it keeps it open for further discussion. But I think we’ve had two excellent speakers, great tag team, so please join me in thanking them for that.

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