Thursday, October 15, 2009

Taiwan Inaugurates Think Tank

Defense News

October 15, 2009

Taiwan Inaugurates Think Tank

By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI - Taiwan and U.S. government officials participated in an Oct. 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new MacArthur Center for Security Studies (MCSS) at the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University.

During the ceremony, Liu Fu-kuo, executive director of the MCSS, said the think tank will focus on Taiwan security studies and the establishment of a "peace mechanism" across the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.

"In the next three years, the project will approach the subject from a cross-strait perspective, establish a dialogue platform for related experts and researchers, and further propel a cross-strait peace framework," he said.

The think tank is a result of a three-year, $555,000 grant from the U.S.-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

"On a larger scale, MCSS hopes that its research can be integrated into MacArthur Foundation's 'Asia Security Initiative,'" Liu said.

The MacArthur Foundation has invested $68 million over seven years into the new Asia Security Initiative. The effort is designed to strengthen Asian policy research institutions in their capacity to work with their counterparts around the world.

Three other regional research institutions also have received grant money under the initiative, including Peking University's Center for International and Strategic Studies; South Korea's East Asia Institute; and Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

In Taiwan, Liu said, MCSS would be responsible for four academic programs, including national security, defense, nontraditional security and cross-strait peace.

"As China's influence in the world increases, traditional confrontation policies need to be revised in order to adapt effectively to a new global and regional landscape," he said. "This program focuses on studying new ways of creating peaceful co-existence in the region."

The ceremony included a roundtable titled "Taiwan Security and Implication of Cross-Strait Progress for Regional Security." Speakers included Lin Bih-jaw, vice president, National Chengchi University; Cheng Tuan-yao, director, Institute of International Relations; Lin Cheng-yi, research fellow, Academia Sinica; Peter Enav, Taipei bureau chief, The Associated Press; and J. Michael Cole, editor, Taipei Times.

Cole spoke on expanded opportunities for Chinese espionage in Taiwan due to increased interaction across the Taiwan Strait. Lin gave a presentation on Taiwan's national defense and cross-strait relations; Cheng discussed the security role of the United States in cross-strait relations; and Enav addressed the role of foreign media on cross-strait relations and national security.