Taiwan’s Former President Makes Historic China Visit

Welcome to today’s Morning Brief.

Welcome to today’s Morning Brief.

Starting April 3, we’re launching FP World Brief, a daily newsletter that will replace Morning Brief. It will run Monday through Friday and will hit inboxes at 7 p.m. Eastern.

But today, we’re looking at a former Taiwanese leader’s historic visit to China, a deadly fire at a migrant detention center, and Germany sending tanks to Ukraine.

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Taiwanese Ex-President Visits China

In a first, Taiwan’s former leader made a historic visit to China. Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou visited China, a trip that was criticized by Taiwan’s current ruling party. Ma is the first current or former president of Taiwan to visit China since 1949, when the precursor of today’s China defeated the Republic of China.

According to Reuters, Ma said, “People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese people, and are both descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperors.”

Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, has been treated by China as a separatist, though she has offered talks with China.

Ma said, “We sincerely hope that the two sides will work together to pursue peace, avoid war, and strive to revitalize China.”

Meanwhile, Tsai is expected to stop in the United States on the way to and from Central America. U.S. officials have stressed that these stopovers fall within preexisting norms and should not be used by Beijing as a pretext for aggressive behavior toward Taiwan. Tsai will arrive in New York on Wednesday. How China and the United States finesse the next several days are expected to determine the extent to which U.S.-China relations deteriorate in the near future.

Despite U.S. efforts, though, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters this week, “The reported trip is not so much a ‘transit,’ but an attempt to seek breakthroughs and propagate ‘Taiwan independence.’”

What We’re Following Today 

Fire at migrant detention center. A fire at a migrant detention center on the U.S.-Mexico border has killed at least 38 people. The center—the National Migration Institute—is in Ciudad Juárez in northern Mexico, across from El Paso, Texas. The center was holding 68 men from Central and South America. More than 20 injured in the fire were taken for emergency care. Guatemala’s Institute of Migration confirmed 28 Guatemalan nationals were dead.

“This had to do with a protest that they started after, we assume, they found out that they were going to be deported, and as a protest, they put mattresses from the shelter at the door of the shelter, and they set fire to them and they did not imagine that this was going to cause this terrible accident,” said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who added, “It is very sad that this is happening.”

Germany sends tanks to Ukraine. Germany’s defense minister said his country has sent the first batch of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The tanks could “make a decisive contribution,” said Boris Pistorius, the relatively new German defense chief. Challenger 2 tanks from the United Kingdom have also reportedly arrived. Leopards are generally regarded as Europe’s best battle tanks, and Germany was reluctant to send them to Ukraine before finally agreeing to do so earlier this year. Germany was also originally hesitant to permit other countries to send their German-made tanks to Ukraine (German law says that the export of Leopard 2s from other countries must be approved) before eventually relenting.

North Korea claims evidence of first tactical nuke, calls for more nuclear material. North Korea revealed small nuclear warheads that could be used for short-range missiles. Whether or not this is true will not be known until North Korea conducts another test. Relatedly, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for an increase in the production of weapons-grade material. Officials say the coming weeks could see what the Associated Press described as “provocative displays” of its military nuclear program.

Keep an Eye On

Hundreds of thousands continue to strike, protest in France. Protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s deeply unpopular pension reform plan continued in France. Thousands marched, the Eiffel Tower closed, and 13,000 troops, almost half of whom were in Paris, were deployed. The Louvre was also closed due to strikes on Monday. Tuesday marked the 10th time since January of this year that unions have called for their workers to walk out.

Two dead, several injured in stabbing at Muslim center in Portugal. A man with a large knife killed two and injured several others at a Muslim center in Lisbon on Tuesday. Police said they were investigating a possible terror attack. The attacker, according to authorities, was a refugee from Afghanistan. Local community representatives said that the attacker was known to have psychological problems.

Some Rules of Global Politics Matter More Than Others by Stephen M. Walt

America’s Zero-Sum Economics Doesn’t Add Up by Adam Posen

The U.S. Should Get Over Its Short War Obsession by Raphael S. Cohen and Gian Gentile

Just like a prayer. Colombia’s chief of police said that prayer, as well as exorcism, is used to fight crime in Colombia. Gen. Henry Sanabria said that religious practices have helped police over the past five decades.

That’s it for today.

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