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Taiwan

In The News

Gorbachev Dies, Taiwan Tensions, Queen Stays In Scotland

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the world pays tribute to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who died at 91, the Taiwan Strait sees renewed tension and the Queen breaks with tradition. Meanwhile, Cynthia Martens unpacks the unraveling of Moscow's intellectual property standards in the wake of international companies leaving Russia.

[*Danish]

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All Eyes On Southern Ukraine, Baghdad Clashes, Pumpkin Ride

👋 Da'anzho!*


Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine launches a counteroffensive to retake Kherson in the south of the country, deadly clashes rock Iraq after cleric al-Sadr resigns, and the world record for pumpkin paddling (you read that right) gets broken. We also turn to Ukraine’s news platform Livy Bereg to see how Russian propaganda plays out across European countries.



[*Eastern Apache]

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Far Out, Far East: Meet North Korea's Biggest Booster In Taiwan

"Taiwanese would laugh at the leader worship of the North Koreans, but wasn't that what we did in the days of Chiang Kai-shek?"

TAIPEI — On the evening of April 15, a crowd of nearly 100 people eagerly swarmed inside an ordinary building in Taipei's Ximending neighborhood. The occasion? The "Sun Festival", which commemorates the birthday of the first leader of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, and one of the most important holidays each year.

The venue was decorated in a North Korean style, with DPRK flags and photos of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il visible all around, while the tables displayed North Korean-made noodles, biscuits, tins, soaps, cigarettes and toy rifles.

Most attendees were in their 20s and 30s, with males outnumbering females by about 2-to-1. There were couples, friends and even a family with children. Everyone who attended received a small North Korean flag, two slices of Korean fried green bean cake on a paper plate and a portion of Korean seaweed rice rolls.

In addition to the "North Korean Lifestyle Exhibition" as a selling point, the event also featured a speaker recounting his travels to the country. And just before the talk began, the speaker invited all participants to stand up, played the North Korean national anthem and then led them in a bow to the statue of Kim Il Sung.

Hung Hao, the organizer for this event, is also the manager of the Facebook page "DPRK Business News." The page now has more than 33,000 followers, but Hung's business is more than that: on his bilingual business cards, he details the other services that include investment opportunities in the DPRK, business missions and contacts, business information and consultation, the import and export of DPRK goods from Taiwan.

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Asian Cults And Castes, Where New Religions Meet Power Politics

Emerging religions and cults in Asia are deeply intertwined with politics: in China, religions need political approval, while in Japan religious groups use political platforms to assert themselves. Not even the killing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, carried out by a member of the Unification Church, has prompted a closer look at exactly what role religion plays in society.

On July 8, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead while giving a speech in Nara.

The suspect confessed that he killed Abe because of his close relationship with the Unification Church, which his mother adhered to and went bankrupt for. The Unification Church was founded by Korean Messiah Claimant Sun Myung Moon in 1954, and entered Japan in 1956. At its peak, it had 4.7 million followers, but declined after the 1990s due to scandals related to donations and brainwashing.

Meanwhile, in an interview on July 4, the new Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, John Lee Ka-chiu, mentioned that he had been practising qigong for more than 25 years.

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ From Kabul To Taipei, History Returns And Refracts

August 6-7

  • Turkey’s NATO leverage on Sweden and Finland
  • Chinese tattoo ban and a patriotic twist
  • Wearable pet fans
  • … and much more. 👉 Note to readers: Our newsletter team will be taking a brief summer break. Worldcrunch Today will resume Aug 16. In the meantime, we invite you to follow our continuing regular coverage at the Worldcrunch website.
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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Taiwan Air Space, Azov Battalion Protest, Chorizo Space Gag

👋 ⴰⵣⵓⵍ!*

Welcome to Friday, where China’s military drills in the Taiwan Strait force airlines to cancel flights, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi and a French scientist tricks Twitter with a slice of… chorizo. Meanwhile, French daily Les Echos looks at the phenomenon of “revenge travel” and how it may bring on lasting changes for tourism.

[*Azul - Tamazight, North Africa]

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Geopolitics
Lin Zi-li

Pelosi In Taiwan: Bold Diplomacy, Perfect Timing

"She's now the leader of the Western movement recognizing the existence of a democratic Taiwan, aiming to break Beijing's "one-China principle..." A Taiwanese political scientist argues the 19-hour visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have real lasting impact.

-Analysis-

TAIPEI — As many have noted, Nancy Pelosi’s recent 19-hour trip to Taiwan was the first visit to the island by a U.S. House Speaker since 1997. In the intervening 25 years, some things have changed, and others haven't.

While China is now a major world economic and military power, cross-Strait relations are similarly marked by high levels of hostility and mistrust.China still wants reunification, Taiwan still supports the status quo, and there is no room for compromise.

The question of why Pelosi insisted on visiting Taiwan despite warnings from China begins to show what drives her, and what's at stake.

Her trip was a critique of China's growing ability to shape the international order. During a much earlier visit to Beijing, in 1991, Pelosi, already a member of the U.S. Congress, was temporarily arrested by the Chinese police and expelled from the country after pulling a black banner in Tiananmen Square "dedicated to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of democracy in China."

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Prison Blast, Kentucky Floods, Vettel’s Green Retirement

👋 নমস্কাৰ!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia blames Ukraine for the deadly prison blast in Donetsk, the death toll rises in Kentucky historic floods, and Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel announces his final lap. We also look at recent NATO member Finland and its latest (bold) move to block tourists from neighboring Russia.

[*Nomoskar - Assamese, India]

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Geopolitics
Dan Wu

What The Shinzo Abe Assassination Could Mean For The China Question

The death of the former Japanese Prime Minister has provoked different reactions between mainland China and Taiwan, but also between government officials and the public in the People's Republic. Looking ahead, will Japan's pro-Taiwan stance stick for the long haul?

-Analysis-

The assassination of Shinzo Abe has shocked the world, and East Asia in particular. The longest-serving Japanese prime minister was admired for his personal charisma and stern decisiveness, but was also among the most conservative and nationalistic leaders in the region's post-War history.

Even if he is credited with stabilizing Japan's economy, his two stints in office are notable for coinciding with the rise of China as a global economic and military power.

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Geopolitics
Dominique Moïsi

Why China Is Still Watching Ukraine So Closely

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed the rules of diplomacy. As Russia and China show budding unity, the world's diplomats must look at the effects of Eastern Europe on East Asia — and Taiwan specifically.

-Analysis-

PARIS — A few days ago in Tokyo, during the “Quad” summit (the security group of Japan, Australia, India and the U.S.), President Joe Biden promised to use force if China ever attacked Taiwan. Shortly after, the White House made it clear that nothing had changed in the doctrine of "strategic ambiguity" which was (and remains?) U.S. policy on the question of Taiwan.

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Taiwan
Shi Qingye

The War In Ukraine Should Force China To Rethink Its Taiwan Narrative

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has put China's stance on Taiwan back in the spotlight. But despite shared narratives of national unity, there are key differences in how Beijing and Moscow approach territories they consider their own.

–Analysis–

Ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there have been comparisons between the Russian-Ukrainian war and China's standoff with Taiwan, with divergent views on whether the same scene would be repeated.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The situations have similarities: Both Moscow and Beijing use the notion of “national unity” and Putin's war narrative also reflects China's theoretical dilemma on the issue of "anti-secession".

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Geopolitics
Farid Kahhat

The Ukraine-Taiwan Analogy: Real Fears And False Correlations

The United States has no treaty obligation to send troops to protect Taiwan against China, but it has a "fairly clear" commitment to aid its defense, unlike in Ukraine. The economic stakes are also a source for worry.

-Analysis-

Days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the flight of Chinese jets near Taiwan provoked jitters around the world. The worries were unnecessary as Taiwan's air defense identification zone, where the jets had flown, is effectively bigger than its airspace.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Also, the incursions were not unusual, having occurred 900 times since the air zone was created. Any comparison between the cases of Taiwan and Ukraine overlooks the fact that — beyond the current context — Taiwan is actually more important to the United States than Ukraine.

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