Written by Cheng-Chia Tung. COVID-19 has cost thousands of lives outside of its place of origin and has put 20% of the global population under lockdown. It is hard to envision it not having a long-lasting impact. Many influential commentators have focused on how it has exacerbated the decline of globalization and intensified political tension and strategic competition among great powers. While many may crave a “return to normalcy,” if we are to address the challenges created by the pandemic more holistically we need to do more than simply ask “whether we’re going back to where we were.”
Written by Qi Dongtao. It is well known that Taiwan, China and the US have been in complex triangular relations, which means any relations between the two cannot be well understood without involving the third country. Therefore — and apart from Beijing trying to increase its impact on Taiwan directly — Beijing has realised that the shortest route to Taipei is through Washington and has thus tried very hard to manage Washington’s influence on the island. Washington understands the importance of Taiwan to Beijing, and as a result, has carefully managed its relations with Taipei to serve its tactical relations with Beijing.
Written by Mark W. Lai. Without a doubt, from an American perspective, Taiwan is still — or potentially will be —part of China. One election in the future, another pro-China high school textbook, a charming KMT politician, or a more productive and better China, will alter Taiwan’s identity and its enthusiasm in allying with the US. America is no fool, and Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia cannot protect themselves without American help.
Written by Elizabeth Freund Larus. US President Donald Trump on March 26 signed into law the TAIPEI Act, strengthening US commitment to protecting Taiwan’s international standing. Passed earlier by both house of Congress with unanimous consent, the law is a response to China’s increasing pressure to shrink the island nation’s diplomatic space. The Act encourages countries to support Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition or to strengthen unofficial ties with the island, and to support Taiwan’s participation in international organisations. What form would these measures take, and what is the likelihood of their implementation?
Written by Joseph Bosco. To prevent the Communist Party of China from interfering in America’s November election the way it did with Taiwan in January, President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, should present a united front on U.S.-China policy.
Written by James Lin. While the TAIPEI Act affirms US support, it does not change the capitalist structure of the international political economy, nor the hard economic and political advantages Beijing holds over Taipei and, to a certain degree, Washington. The United States is no longer in a position to shape the United Nations, or the Bretton Woods system, as it did in the immediate post-World War II moment. Even if Taiwan regains some of its diplomatic allies, Taiwan’s international existence is precarious without formal membership in international organizations and formal diplomatic recognition from the majority of the world’s nations.
Written by Scott L. Kastner. As Tsai Ing-wen begins her second term in office, and as the United States prepares for its presidential election later this year, both countries face daunting challenges. Washington today faces a possible public health catastrophe alongside its most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression, even as the US-China relationship continues to deteriorate. Against this backdrop, China will almost certainly continue to apply considerable military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan.
Written by Yao-Hung Huang. The tragedy that is the spread of the COVID 19 virus has dominated headlines around the world. While in Taiwan it has been a cause of considerable consternation, it has at the same time incited controversy about Taiwan’s relationship with the Chinese mainland.
Written by Kai-yuan Cheng. Perhaps most fundamentally, Taiwan needs to make young Taiwanese believe that, despite our sad past and difficult present, going into global health as a Taiwanese is a promising career filled with opportunities and excitement. Building a global health-informed civil society will appeal to the new generation of governance bodies whose more flexible frameworks are ready to engage Taiwan, not necessarily because of the globalist ideal of leaving no one behind or the humanitarian concern for the Taiwanese population health, but because we have something to offer.
Written by Timothy S. Rich. Taiwan must find new strategies in order to strengthen formal and informal ties. However, it should not over rely on expanding unofficial relations with the US or overlook the inconsistencies of Trump’s foreign policy that could impact Taiwan. For example, the Trump Administration’s decision to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for two consecutive years provides a greater opportunity for Chinese influence in the region and greater pressure on Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic partners.
Written by Joseph Bosco. The question now is how Beijing will respond to the Taiwan election results. Will it finally accept the reality that the people of Taiwan are so committed to their own democratic identity that they are “permanently separated politically” from China, as Richard Nixon belatedly observed two decades after his fateful opening to China?
Written by Alan H. Yang and Ding-Liang Chen. Taiwan has lost several of its diplomatic allies in recent years. These setbacks have prompted Taiwan’s government to devise new approaches to improving its international presence and foreign relations strategy.