China-Taiwan Weekly Update, February 8, 2024

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, February 8, 2024

Authors: Nils Peterson, Matthew Sperzel, and Daniel Shats of the Institute for the Study of War

Editors: Dan Blumenthal and Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute

Data Cutoff: February 6 at 5pm ET

The China–Taiwan Weekly Update focuses on the Chinese Communist Party’s paths to controlling Taiwan and relevant cross–Taiwan Strait developments.

Key Takeaways  

  • The Kuomintang (KMT) will present a series of policy proposals to the Legislative Yuan on February 20 that aim to expand legislative oversight over the presidency. The proposals presage what will likely be a contentious dynamic between the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party in the legislature.
  • The CCP denied allegations that it carried out cyberattacks against the United States, Japan, the Philippines, and the Netherlands.
  • The New York Times reported on February 4 that the rapid growth of the PRC’s nuclear arsenal under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping reflects a shift in the party’s thinking on nuclear deterrence.
  • The PRC is intensifying its information operations to support its claims in the South China Sea.
  • The loss of Compact of Free Association funding for Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands presents opportunities for the CCP to expand its influence in each country. The CCP may leverage revenue shortfalls in Palau and the Marshall Islands to incentivize them to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC.
  • CCP and Russian officials held collaboration talks on the military application of artificial intelligence (AI) in early February.
  • The People’s Liberation Army Navy is providing security escorts to PRC cargo ships near the Red Sea amid ongoing Houthi missile attacks on shipping in the region.


Cross-Strait Relations


The Kuomintang (KMT) will present a series of policy proposals to the Legislative Yuan (LY) when the new session begins on February 20. The proposals center around empowering the LY to confirm the appointment of cabinet ministers and the creation of an oversight mechanism in the LY to impose checks and balances on the executive branch. Strengthening the LY's confirmation power over political appointments risks opposition parties rejecting Lai's cabinet picks, which could degrade the Lai administration's ability to carry out policies. Using such political oversight to restrain the DPP’s power could also exacerbate polarization and erode public trust in the government.

The KMT’s proposals presage what will likely be a contentious dynamic between the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) during Lai Ching-te’s presidency. KMT caucus members have indicated that their party will aggressively attempt to restrain the DPP’s power. KMT caucus Secretary-General Lin Tzu-ming accused the DPP of corruption during the last eight years of Tsai’s presidency and emphasized the futility of bringing cases to the Ministry of Justice or the Control Yuan, which is the Taiwanese government’s supervisory branch. Lin referred to the future oversight mechanism as a “great weapon” that the Legislative Yuan must use to supervise the government.[1] KMT Legislator Wu Tsung-hsien also stressed the importance of LY confirmation for ministerial positions and other high-level posts, potentially posing a threat to Lai’s administration before his inauguration on May 20.[2]

DPP-led restorative justice initiatives are in part responsible for the fraught KMT-DPP relationship. The DPP, under President Tsai Ing-wen, focused on rectifying misconduct and crimes during Taiwan’s KMT-imposed authoritarian rule from 1945 to 1992. The DPP-majority legislature established the temporary Transitional Justice Commission to increase public access to political archives, redress judicial injustices, and dismantle symbols of authoritarianism.[3] The commission operated from 2018 to 2022. The KMT regarded the commission as a tool of political persecution and power expansion.[4] The KMT strengthened its criticism of the commission after revelations the then-vice chairman of the commission, a DPP member, sought to use its authority to eliminate officials who held positions of power during KMT authoritarian rule, such as then-New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-ih.[5] The scandal fueled KMT accusations that the DPP weaponized government institutions against political opponents, including the Central Election Commission and the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee.[6] The latter oversaw the confiscation of a large share of KMT assets since its inception in 2016.[7] KMT Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang stated that the proposed investigative task force would not discriminate between parties, indicating the KMT did not intend to exact retribution against the DPP.[8]

The KMT’s apparent inclination to impose checks on the DPP aligns with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) desire to foment disarray during Lai’s presidency and undermine the DPP. Constraints on Lai and the DPP will curb the government’s efficiency and degrade the DPP’s ability to implement its policy agenda, which centers around resisting PRC efforts to undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je announced that he will sue DPP spokesperson Justin Wu Cheng for spreading misinformation about his proposed TPP-DPP collusion in the election of the LY speaker. Wu circulated claims on February 2 that Ko contacted a DPP affiliate the night before the election to negotiate with Lai Ching-te. He said that Ko sought the DPP’s support for TPP LY speaker candidate Vivian Huang, in exchange for the TPP’s support for the DPP’s deputy speaker candidate.[9] The TPP nominated Huang in a surprise move earlier that day, which ultimately enabled KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu to secure victory in the second round of voting for the LY speaker. Independence activist and former DPP politician Chen Yung-hsing published an open letter after Wu’s statements revealing that he received the call from Ko, which confirms that the DPP convened to discuss the proposal but ultimately rejected it.[10] Ko has persisted in his accusations of misinformation against Wu.[11]

Acrimony between the TPP and DPP risks cooperation between the TPP and KMT in the Legislative Yuan. The TPP caucus announced a series of priority bills on February 5 that similarly proposed to strengthen the LY’s oversight authority, indicating the TPP will back KMT legislation to establish a task force.[12] The TPP’s eight seats in the LY position the party to be the crucial swing vote and could further complicate the passage of DPP policies. The TPP’s eight seats will make its votes the deciding factor for some legislation. TPP-KMT cooperation against the DPP in the LY aligns with the CCP’s interest in a weaker DPP.

DPP legislators are rushing to secure influence over the Legislative Yuan’s international engagement activities by signing up for diplomatic “friendship associations.” There were 73 friendship associations during the previous LY session that conducted parliamentary relations between Taiwan and other countries.[13] Some of the associations focus on specific issues of interest between Taiwan and foreign legislators and engage with international organizations.[14] The LY dissolves the associations at the end of each legislative session and forms new ones at the start of each session. The legislators that set up the new associations develop charters, invite members to join, and hold the founding meetings before officially establishing the associations can officially be established. The legislators that first accomplish these tasks can officially conduct relations with target foreign legislators on behalf of the LY.[15]

DPP legislator Chiu Chih-wei stated that the DPP is worried by Han’s embrace of the 1992 Consensus, and the legislature must work to uphold Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy.[16] This reflects the DPP’s fears that LY Speaker Han Kuo-yu’s preference for warmer relations with the PRC will undermine Taiwan’s progress in deepening ties with foreign countries.


The United States, Japan, and the Netherlands said that the CCP targeted them in separate cyberattacks. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said on January 31 that a court-ordered operation dismantled a botnet of hundreds of US-based small office/home office (SOHO) routers hijacked by PRC state-sponsored hackers. The DOJ said the hackers had used the routers to conceal the PRC origin of additional hacking activities that targeted critical infrastructure in the United States and elsewhere. FBI Director Christopher Wray said PRC hackers were targeting US critical infrastructure to “pre-position” so they could cause harm to US citizens in the event of a conflict.[17] Japanese media citing unspecified government sources reported on February 5 that a PRC cyberattack on Japan’s foreign ministry in 2020 resulted in the leak of classified diplomatic documents.[18] The Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service said on February 6 that it uncovered a CCP-backed attempt to use “sophisticated” malware to spy on a computer network that’s used by the country’s armed forces. The malware was found on a standalone computer used for unclassified research and development and did not result in damage to the defense network.[19]

The Philippines also claimed it had been the target of hacking from within the PRC but did not attribute the cyberattack to the CCP. The Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on February 5 that hackers operating in the PRC failed to break into several official systems in January. The systems included its email systems, the website of the National Coast Watch, and the personal website of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. DICT did not attribute the attacks to any state but asked the PRC to help prevent further attacks.[20]

The CCP denied allegations that it carried out cyberattacks against the United States, Japan, the Philippines, and the Netherlands. Officials from the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) denied the allegations as “smears” and claimed that the PRC opposes and cracks down on all cyberattacks. MFA Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the United States jumped to conclusions without valid evidence to smear the PRC. He called the United States the “origin and biggest perpetrator of cyberattacks” and accused the US Government of sponsoring long-running cyberattacks against the PRC’s critical infrastructure.[21] He did not make counter-allegations against the Japanese, Philippine, and Dutch governments but reiterated that the PRC opposes cyberattacks and groundless accusations against it.[22] The PRC embassy in Manila decried “groundless” and “irresponsible” speculation by some Philippine politicians and media that the thwarted hacking attempts were sponsored by the PRC government or related to ongoing PRC-Philippine maritime disputes.[23]

The New York Times reported on February 4 that the rapid growth of the PRC’s nuclear arsenal under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping reflects a shift in the party’s thinking on nuclear deterrence. The article assessed that “anxiety and ambition” motivated the PRC’s rapid nuclear arsenal expansion under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping based on internal Xi speeches, internal CCP documents, and scholarly writings. Xi asserted to generals of the Second Artillery Corps shortly after he took power in late 2012 that a first-rate nuclear force was a symbol of the PRC’s “great power” status and that the nuclear force should be prepared to counter a “powerful enemy.” Xi reorganized the Second Artillery Corps into the PLA Rocket Force in 2015 and said its mission was to enhance “a credible and reliable nuclear deterrent and nuclear counterstrike capability.” The CCP also fears “nuclear blackmail” by the United States, based on official party accounts of the Korean War and crises over Taiwan during the 1950s.

The CCP may use its nuclear arsenal to deter US intervention in a war over Taiwan. The expanding PRC arsenal of nuclear missiles, submarines, and bombers also confer more nuclear strike options to the CCP. PRC nuclear weapons threaten US cities as well as military bases in the Pacific region.[24]

A Bulletin of Atomic Scientists report on January 15 estimated that the PRC’s nuclear arsenal had doubled to 500 warheads since Xi Jinping took power. The US Department of Defense’s 2021 and 2022 China Military Power Reports predicted that the PRC could reach 1,000 warheads by 2030 and 1,500 warheads by 2035.[25]

Northeast Asia


The Japan Coast Guard found a PRC buoy floating upside down in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), roughly 170 kilometers northwest of the disputed Senkaku Islands. Japan controls the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, but the PRC and Taiwan also claim the islands, calling them Diaoyu in Chinese. Japanese media reported that the chain holding the buoy in place likely broke, causing it to drift.[26] Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Hiroyuki Namazu called on the PRC to remove all of its buoys from Japan’s exclusive economic zone.[27] PRC MFA spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed this buoy was originally placed in waters near the Yangtze River estuary but drifted on its own due to “technical failure.” Wang used the occasion to add that the Diaoyu (Senkaku) islands are PRC territory and that the PRC does not recognize Japan’s exclusive economic zone, however.[28] The PRC has not complied with Japan’s request to remove the buoy.

Japan previously discovered another PRC buoy in its EEZ about 80 kilometers northwest of the Senkaku Islands in July 2023 and demanded its removal. It judged that the earlier buoy was likely placed by a PRC research vessel operating in the nearby waters.[29] The Japan Coast Guard believes that the PRC uses such buoys to monitor ocean conditions to aid PRC Coast Guard vessels in patrolling waters around the Senkaku Islands. The PRC has not complied with Japan’s requests to remove the buoy.[30]

PRC Coast Guard vessels have sailed within the Senkaku islands’ territorial waters nearly every day since 2013, the year that the PRC declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea that overlaps with Japan’s ADIZ.[31] The PRC sends scientific, commercial, law enforcement, and other non-military vessels and personnel to assert PRC territorial claims in the East and South China Seas while controlling the risk of military confrontation with rival claimants. Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on January 28 that the PRC also has at least three warships deployed at all times on the borders of its claimed ADIZ, which includes the Senkaku Islands. It cited unnamed Japanese government sources, who said that the PRC is enforcing a perimeter that could be used to deny access to US and Japanese naval vessels in the event of a Taiwan contingency.[32]

Southeast Asia


The PRC Coast Guard claimed that it allowed another Philippine shipment of supplies to the Second Thomas Shoal but drove away Philippine vessels approaching Scarborough Shoal. The Second Thomas Shoal and Scarborough Shoal are maritime features in the South China Sea that the Philippines, the PRC, and Taiwan separately claim. The PRC has controlled the Scarborough Shoal since 2012,[33] while the Philippines retains control over the Second Thomas Shoal using a derelict grounded warship as a base. The CCG claimed that it “monitored” a Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal on February 3.[34] The Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) previously claimed that it had made “temporary special arrangements” to allow a similar resupply mission on January 21, though the Philippines denied that it needed outside permission to deliver supplies to its troops.[35] Institute of Maritime Strategy Studies of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) Deputy Director Yang Xiao claimed that the PRC was exercising restraint and showing “humanitarian spirit” in allowing the Philippines to deliver subsistence supplies to its troops on Second Thomas Shoal. Yang said the Philippines must inform Beijing in advance and cannot ship construction materials, however.[36] CICIR is a research institute operated by the PRC Ministry of State Security.

The CCG actions and statements aimed to assert PRC sovereignty over the Second Thomas Shoal, which the PRC calls Ren’ai Reef or Ren’ai Jiao. The CCG did not allow Philippine vessels to reach Scarborough Shoal, however. It claimed that it drove away four Philippine nationals who tried to “illegally intrude” into Scarborough Shoal on January 28 as well as a Philippine Coast Guard ship on February 5. CCG spokesperson Gan Yu claimed the PRC had “indisputable sovereignty” over Scarborough Shoal, which Beijing calls Huangyan Island, and would always conduct law enforcement and safeguard its rights and interests in waters under PRC jurisdiction.[37]

The Second Thomas Shoal was the site of confrontations between the Philippines and PRC in recent months. The two countries held bilateral maritime consultations on January 17 to de-escalate tensions. The PRC’s choice not to block the January 21 and February 3 resupply missions may indicate the PRC’s willingness to de-escalate tensions in the near term.[38] The PRC is determined to seize control of the Second Thomas Shoal and other disputed territories but is willing to be patient until an appropriate opportunity arises. As long as the CCG continues to block the Philippines from delivering construction equipment to the shoal, Manila will be unable to construct a more permanent outpost there or maintain the crumbling warship as a viable base for its troops.[39]

The PRC is intensifying its information operations to support its claims in the South China Sea. The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that the PRC has significantly increased its use of Mandarin pinyin names in English-language references to its claimed maritime features. It noted PRC government officials and state media have dramatically increased their use of terms such as “Ren’ai Jiao” for Second Thomas Shoal or “Nansha Qundao” for the Spratly Islands in 2023. It previously called these features Ren’ai Reef and Nansha Islands. The change is likely a way for the CCP to assert PRC sovereignty over the territories in English-language discourse.

The PRC has promoted its own legal arguments to reject the Philippines’ claims over disputed territories in the South China Sea. PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on February 2 that the Philippines’ territory was defined by a series of international treaties in 1898, 1900, and 1930, which did not include Scarborough Shoal within the Philippines’ legally defined boundaries. Wang also re-iterated the PRC’s rejection of the 2016 South China Sea arbitration that dismissed the PRC’s “Nine Dash Line” territorial claims over the South China Sea. Wang called the arbitration a “political manipulation” by the Philippines to gain “illegal interests.”[40] The PRC uses such legal arguments in tandem with more forceful or coercive tactics as a way to promote acceptance of PRC territorial claims in international discourse.


Compacts of Free Association

The loss of Compact of Free Association (COFA) funding for Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands presents opportunities for the CCP to exert influence over strategically important states in the United States security architecture in East Asia. These COFAs govern the United States’ relationship with Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands while granting the United States extensive military access throughout their territories. The United States renewed COFAs with Palau and Micronesia in May.[41] It then did so with the Marshall Islands in October.[42] Congress previously funded the COFAs for a twenty-year period in 2003.[43] That funding has now expired. The newly re-signed COFA agreements are now before Congress for funding consideration. The total cost for all three of the twenty-year agreements would be roughly $7 billion spread over the period 2024 to 2043, according to the Congressional Research Service.[44]

The COFA states are important to the United States’ strategic interests because they control key sea lanes that provide a secure route connecting American allies and partners, such as the Philippines and Taiwan, to the US territory of Guam and the state of Hawaii.


The loss of COFA funding would present the CCP with the opportunity to pressure Palau and the Marshall Islands to switch diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC as part of an ongoing campaign to buttress the narrative that Taiwan is a province of the PRC. Palau and the Marshall Islands are also 2 of the 12 countries that maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.[45] The maintenance of official diplomatic recognition is a key means for Taiwan to demonstrate its international sovereignty separate from the People’s Republic of China. COFA funding accounts for $36.9 million of Palau’s annual $124.2 million revenue as of fiscal year 2023 and $35.2 million of the Marshall Islands’ annual $173.9 million revenue as of fiscal year 2023.[46],[47] Micronesian President Wesley Simina also stated in late November that his country would be at a “fiscal cliff” without US Congressional approval of COFA funding. This would mean that “we [Micronesia] will have to find different sources of funding… and that’s not out there available immediately.”[48] The Presidents of Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands sent a letter to the leaders of the United States Senate on February 6 stating that they “cannot overstate the importance to all of our nations of final approval [of COFA funding] by the U.S. Congress” and that its delay “has resulted in undesirable opportunities for economic exploitation by competitive political actors active in the Pacific.”[49]

The CCP may use these revenue shortfalls to incentivize Palau and the Marshall Islands to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC. The party has already taken this approach to Nauru, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands. The PRC offered incentives, such as a commercial aircraft, to Kiribati and USD 8.5 million to the Solomon Islands in 2019.[50] The CCP also offered Nauru USD 100 million per year in 2024 to switch recognition from the PRC to the ROC, according to a Reuters report that cited an unspecified senior Taiwanese official.[51] All three of these countries switched their diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC.

The uptick in flights from the PRC to Palau and the CCP encouraging PRC nationals to vacation in the country suggests that the party seeks economic influence over Palau to coerce it into switching diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC. The number of flights from the PRC to Palau increased from one to eight per month last year to almost daily as of this month.[52],[53] This change is a reversal in the CCP policy that cut tourism to Palau over the last decade to nearly zero as punishment for maintaining full diplomatic relations with Taiwan.[54]



*This graphic does not include Micronesia as fiscal year 2023 data for the country was unavailable.


Tuvalu is considering reviewing its diplomatic ties with Taiwan after electing its new prime minister.[56] The sixteen representatives elected on January 26, 2024, who comprise the Parliament of Tuvalu, were aiming to choose a prime minister the week of February 5. Bad weather prevented an unspecified number of legislators from reaching the capital Funafuti, which delayed voting for the prime minister.[57]

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is considering internal security assistance from the People’s Republic of China. Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko stated the week of January 29 that the offer is still under consideration. Tkachenko did not elaborate on the specifics of the PRC’s offer, which it initially proposed in September 2023.[58] PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Wang Wenbin neither confirmed nor denied the ongoing talks on January 29.[59] US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma urged the PNG to reject the offer via a Sydney Morning Harald article published on February 5.[60]



Unspecified CCP and Russian officials held collaboration talks on the military application of artificial intelligence (AI) in early February. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the officials “discussed doctrinal guidelines and initiatives of Russia and China related to the application of AI technologies for military purposes.”[61] The South China Morning Post reported that the People’s Republic of China's statement did not refer to the military use of AI, but acknowledged the meeting focused on “outer space security, biosecurity and artificial intelligence.”[62] ISW cannot independently verify the PRC statement. The PRC has portrayed itself as a leader in responsible AI regulation since launching the Global AI Governance Initiative in October 2023.[63] The PRC omitting that it is collaborating with Russia on the military applications of AI aims to avoid undercutting its image as a responsible AI stakeholder via this initiative.

This meeting occurred in the aftermath of the January 31 meeting about military-to-military cooperation between PRC Defense Minister Dong Jun and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.[64] The timing of the early February meeting indicates that it aimed at implementing the defense minister’s intentions about military-to-military cooperation. All of these meetings fit into a trend of concerted Sino-Russian technological collaboration since at least 2019.[65]

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is using AI to achieve its “intelligentization” force modernization goal, which aims to complexify and enhance the speed of warfare.[66] It also conceptualizes AI as an important tool for achieving decision dominance in the battlespace.[67] Sino-Russian AI cooperation supports this goal.

Middle East

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is providing security escorts to PRC cargo ships near the Red Sea amid ongoing Houthi missile attacks on shipping in the region.[68] The PRC Ministry of National Defense confirmed on February 5 that the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Urumqi from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) 45th escort task force had escorted a PRC ship through the Gulf of Aden.[69] The PLAN escort task force consists of the Urumqi, Type 054A guided missile frigate Linyi, and Type 903A replenishment ship Dongpinghu.[70] Commercial PRC-affiliated ships continue to signal their affiliation to avoid Houthi missile attacks.[71] PRC-owned ships are also receiving discounted shipping insurance when transiting through the Red Sea.[72] 

These escorts enable the CCP to buttress the narrative that the PRC provides regional security in comparison to the allegedly provocative United States. The CCP continues to stress that US-led counter strikes on the Houthis and not the Houthi’s attacks on maritime shipping risk a wider regional escalation. PRC Ambassador to the European Union Fu Cong stated in a late January interview with Bloomberg that the US-led strikes against the Houthis “can only escalate tension and it’ll not guarantee or maintain the safe passage of the commercial vessels.”[73] The PLAN 45th escort task force providing safe passage to PRC ships demonstrates the contrast with the United States, from the CCP perspective, that Fu’s comments aim to portray: the PRC military presence does not lead to escalated regional tensions in implicit contrast to the United States.


PRC Ambassador to Iraq Cui Wei met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani on February 5 to discuss the Strategic Development Road Project.[74] Iraq launched the project in May 2023 to connect the still incomplete Grand Faw Port to Turkey for commercial benefit.[75] Iraq joined the Belt and Road Initiative in September 2019, which resulted in agreements with PRC companies in October 2019 to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure in exchange for oil.[76] PRC discussions around the Strategic Development Road Project, either regarding its construction or financing, would align with the CCP's geopolitical objective to further the logistical infrastructure necessary for the Belt and Road Initiative.


Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Commander Shamran Irani announced on February 4 that Iran, Russia, and China will conduct joint naval exercises before the end of the Iranian year on March 19.[77] The exercises will be the continuation of a trend in the annual trilateral Marine Security Belt exercises, which have taken place since 2019. Several countries—such as Brazil, Pakistan, Oman, India, and South Africa, will participate as observers.[78] The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has not yet issued a statement confirming its attendance.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged four PRC nationals for exporting US-origin electronic components to Iran and Iranian-backed militias through PRC-based front companies. The four individuals are Baoxia Liu (Emily Liu), You Wa Yung (Stephen Yung), Yongxin Li (Emma Lee), and Yanlai Zhong (Sydney Chung). The DOJ stated that the four individuals “unlawfully exported and smuggled U.S. export-controlled items through China and Hong Kong ultimately for the benefit of entities affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), which supervises Iran’s development and production of missiles, weapons, and military aerial equipment to include Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).”[79]


The CCP expressed support for funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The US State Department temporarily paused funding to UNRWA on January 26 following evidence that its staff were involved in the October 7 attack.[80] PRC MFA Spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the international community should continue funding UNRWA to avoid furthering the “collective punishment” of Gazans. He also stated that the PRC supports an investigation into claims of UNRWA employees involved in the October 7 attack.[81]

The PRC is currently pursuing a diplomatic line of effort that aims to supplant US influence with Arab states by proposing what it claims to be a more inclusive and cooperative regional security framework.[82] This involves portraying Washington as a self-interested and destabilizing influence in the region while simultaneously positioning Beijing as an altruistic and unbiased actor.[83] Wang’s comments support this effort by insinuating countries that cut off aid to UNRWA, such as the United States, are responsible for the “collective punishment” of Gazans.

Latin America


Guatemala is considering trade relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) while attempting to maintain formal diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan).[84] Guatemala Foreign Minister Carlos Ramiro Martínez stated on February 6 that “this is not an ambush against Taiwan or the United States.”[85] PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Wang Wenbin then stated on February 6 then state that Guatemala would need to recognize the one-China principle to “conduct cooperation” between the two countries.[86] The one-China principle is the People’s Republic of China’s position that it is the sole legitimate representative of China and that Taiwan is a part of China. Guatemala accepting the PRC’s one-China principle would mean breaking its relations with the Republic of China (ROC).


Guatemala and Belize are the only countries in Central America that recognize the Republic of China. The other five Central American countries broke relations with the Republic of China between 2007 and 2023. Guatemala and Belize are also 2 of the 12 countries, including Vatican City, that recognize the ROC.

The CCP’s efforts to diplomatically isolate the ROC are part of a campaign to degrade the ROC’s legitimacy on the international stage. The loss of full diplomatic relations for the ROC supports the CCP’s attempts to increase pressure on Taiwan to unify with the PRC without prompting an international backlash. Undermining international recognition of the ROC buttresses the CCP’s argument that the ROC is not a state, but rather a province of the PRC.


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https://shafaq dot com/ar/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A9/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D8%B0%D9%83%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%85%D8%B3-%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%88%D9%89-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%89-%D8%B2%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AD%D8%B1%D8%A8-%D8%BA%D8%B2%D8%A9


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[77] https://www.iribnews dot ir/fa/news/4144103/




[81] https://www.fmprc dot






[86] https://www.fmprc dot




[90] https://www.el19digital dot com/articulos/ver/titulo:123654-nicaragua-reconoce-a-larepublica-popular-china-como-unico-gobierno-legitimo