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Links- Taiwan’s South Korean insecurity and the region’s China insecurity

Earlier this week, a South Korean student studying in Taiwan wrote about the “dark” aspects of his country, triggering some discussion in Taiwan. Taiwan seems to have 2 enemies- one is the big giant across the straits, and the other is South Korea. They are rivals in economics, sports, and even historical heritage, due to Taiwan’s Chinese-based culture. Yet it also brings up Taiwan’s insecurities, in always comparing themselves to S. Korea and seemingly looking up at them, which on the flip side also results in a lot of surprising resentment and even hatred towards South Korea (I’ve literally heard several Taiwanese friends casually say they don’t like or hate Korea). I do wonder whether South Korea even regards Taiwan as a rival, given that in many areas, such as with baseball or with Samsung and smartphones, it has surpassed Taiwan. The student tried to describe how much damage that Korea’s success has caused, in terms of social pressures and extreme nationalism. I do think that Koreans are probably more passionate, loud, and nationalistic than Taiwanese, or Chinese too; but I don’t think it’s as dire as the student claims. Not because I know about Korea, I’ve never been there, but because several of the problems he discusses are prevalent in Taiwan too, just not as severe.

Meanwhile this Asia Times piece does a good job in describing why the furor is unfounded over China’s recent move regarding giving its coast guard in Hainan province the right to board and seize ships in its waters. Firstly, because other nations like Japan and the Philippines also enacted such measures before, and secondly, because this right to arrest is only for the marine area around Hainan and China’s coasts, not the hotly contested South China sea. Several supposedly respectable and reliable outlets reported wrongly that China was giving its coast guard the right to board and search vessels in the contested South China, causing alarm and confusion. 

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