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LIBERTY TIMES (Taiwan)

TAICHUNG - Is Jeremy Lin Taiwanese or American? This dumb question, as some put it, appeared on a recent test at a Taiwanese junior high school.

Half of the students answered "Taiwanese." Wrong! But the apparently light exam topic about an NBA basketball player has set off hot debate in Taiwan, where geopolitics, nationality and identity are often a source of confusion and consternation, reports the Liberty Times daily.

Some parents of students who were marked wrong brought this "injustice" to local city council arbitration. Both the mayor and the director of Taichung's education department say they believe both answers should be credited, in a politically correct manner.

Jason Hu the Mayor said "Legally speaking he's an American, whereas considering him as a Taiwanese is an emotional issue".

Earlier this year, with the arrival of the global phenomenon known as Linsanity, the national origin of the New York Knicks guard set off a sort of standoff among America, Taiwan and China. A visiting U.S. Congressman even corrected Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou, who had referred to Lin as a "Taiwanese." Mainland China also likes to claim him as one of their own.

So in a country where even the president considers himself to be "a Taiwanese as well a Chinese," and the notions of nationality and diaspora can be so raw, putting a sports star on a junior high exam is not such a light question after all.

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Geopolitics

Minsk Never More: Lessons For The West About Negotiating With Putin

The longer the war in Ukraine continues, the louder calls will grow for a ceasefire . Stockholm-based analysts explain how the West can reach a viable deal on this: primarily by avoiding strategic mistakes from last time following the annexation of Crimea.

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-Analysis-

Each new day the Russian assault on Ukraine continues, the wider and deeper is the global impact. And so with each day, there is more and more talk of a ceasefire. But just how and under what conditions such an agreement might be reached are wide open questions.

What is already clear, however, is that a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine must not repeat mistakes made since the open conflict between the two countries began more than eight years ago.

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

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Contrary to widespread opinion, the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreements of 2014-2015 were not meant as a definitive solution. And as we now know, they would not offer a path to peace. Instead, the accord negotiated in the Belarusian capital would indeed become part of the problem, as it fueled the aggressive Russian strategies that led to the escalation in 2022.

In early September 2014, the Ukrainian army suffered a crushing defeat at Ilovaisk against unmarked regular Russian ground forces. Fearing further losses, Kyiv agreed to negotiations with Moscow.

The Minsk Protocol (“Minsk I”) – followed shortly thereafter by a clarifying memorandum – baldly served Russian interests. For example, it envisaged a “decentralization” – i.e. Balkanization – of Ukraine. An uneasy truce came about; but the conflict was in no way resolved.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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