Published daily by the Lowy Institute

J. Michael Cole

J. Michael Cole holds a Master’s Degree in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. He is a Taipei-based senior fellow with the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute (CPI), an associate researcher at the French Center for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) in Taipei, and chief editor of the Taiwan Sentinel. He is a former intelligence officer at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and a former deputy news editor at the Taipei Times. He is a regular columnist for The Diplomat and The National Interest. His areas of focus are the Taiwan Strait, the People’s Liberation Army, civil society and democratic institutions in Taiwan and the geopolitics of Northeast Asia. 

Articles by J. Cole (10)

  • China ramps up information warfare operations abroad

    China’s participation in and sponsorship of international conferences, closed-door trilateral meetings and other forms of academic exchanges has exploded in recent years. From the near absence of Chinese participants a decade ago, the conference circuit is now swarming with panelists, observers and journalists from China who increasingly set the tone during the panel sessions and Q&A periods.
  • Taiwan's election: Change is a good thing

    Politics is a bit like sailing through rough seas without proper navigational instruments: there's a general idea as to the destination, but how to get there is very much an exercise of trial and error, triangulation, improvisation and adjustments. The benefits of adjustments – their indispensability, in fact – are often underappreciated, as the human tendency is to favor the status-quo and predictability.
  • China needs to learn that the Taiwanese people can't be bought

    After nearly eight years of rapprochement between Beijing and Taipei under the custodianship of President Ma Ying-jeou, a process that has given Chinese people an unprecedented opportunity to better understand Taiwan, many academics, journalists and officials in China persist in their belief that economics is the key to 'peaceful unification,' and that a better distribution of the wealth created by closer ties is all it will take to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese. But that line of arg
  • Why Taiwanese leaders should skip the Victory Day parade in Beijing

    Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday announced that sluggish recruitment figures were once again forcing it to delay its plans to end military conscription next year, one of the major goals of the Ma Ying-jeou Administration. Convincing enough qualified young men and women to forsake the comforts of civilian life and enlist in the armed forces will always be a great challenge, one that has been made more formidable by recent controversies such as the July 2013 death of Army con
  • 'Blood and genes': China's alarming new military recruitment campaign

    The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) last week released a new recruitment video that is unlikely to assuage growing fears in the region over an increasingly nationalistic and expansionist China. The slick 4 minute 16 second video opens with the header 'Our Dream.' Accompanied by a surprisingly restrained soundtrack, this section appeals to China's youth. We see young Chinese graduating from university and engaging in various sports, including snowboarding.
  • Taiwan-China relations (part 2): Beijing is the determining factor

    As was laid out in part 1 of this two-part series, barring major unforeseen developments between now and voting day on January 16, 2016, it is likely that Tsai Ing-wen will become Taiwan's first female president. China stated in its recent defense white paper that 'the root cause of instability (in the Taiwan Strait) has not yet been removed, and the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and their activities are still the biggest threat to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.'