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Chiang Must Fall? Why Lai Ching-te Won’t Topple Chiang Kai-shek

In the run up to the inauguration of Taiwan’s incoming President Lai Ching-te on May 20, several English-language media outlets have picked up on a decades-long debate about what to do with the many Chiang Kai-shek statues scattered across the island. The specific issue concerned a question raised by a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator about the implementation of statue removal recommendations by the now defunct Transitional Justice Commission (TJC).

Could China Be the Key to Palestinian Unity?

In April 2024, Beijing hosted reconciliation talks between two rival Palestinian factions, the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). Although the meeting brought no concrete results, the two sides seemingly showed willingness to continue working towards internal Palestinian unity and solidarity. This comes as China tries to establish a firm footing in the Middle East by aiding with the mediation of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, who have been at war since the October 7 massacre.

China Probes the Ground for Negotiations in the Russian-Ukrainian War

China has conducted a second round of shuttle diplomacy to “seek political settlement” to what it calls the “Ukrainian crisis.” Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui visited Russia, the EU headquarters in Brussels and also Poland, Ukraine, Germany, and France, trying to gauge the outlook of a negotiated settlement – one that would favor Russia.

Lithuania-Taiwan Relations: A Temperature Check

While Lithuania positioned itself as an early stalwart of closer ties between Europe and Taiwan, the sustainability of relations between Vilnius and Taipei remains in question. This is mainly due to domestic political competition, the Baltic country’s unfulfilled economic ambitions, and recent pressure on the Ingrida Šimonytė government to normalize relations with China. As we enter an election year, it is crucial to examine factors that could undermine the continued expansion of ties between Lithuania and Taiwan. 

China’s Position on the Gaza War: Missing the Nuances 

It has been over two months since the current conflict between Israel and Hamas started. Many have hoped that China will leverage its ‘friends to all’ position in the Middle East to facilitate a resolution of the conflict, including by participating in the release of hostages still held in Gaza. However, if Beijing’s success in brokering a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia earlier this year raised expectations of China’s greater diplomatic engagement in the region, then its reaction to the October 7 attack has managed to shatter them. 

Israel-Hamas War: Testing Beijing’s Regional Diplomacy

On October 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, resulting in more than a thousand deaths. As the world braces itself for a potential regional escalation in the face of Israel’s planned ground operation in Gaza, China’s attitude seems to be moving towards “pro-Palestinian neutrality.”