Written by Jinpeng Ma. Since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the US has exerted considerable influence on bilateral relations between Taipei and Beijing. A result of this is that the Taiwan issue (and in particular recognition of the One China Principle) has become a prominent dimension of the Beijing-Washington relationship. Looking back at the evolution of the relationship over the past three decades, it is clear that the Beijing-Washington relationship is entering into a new stage. From 1949 to 1971, the US’s commitment to protect the regime of the Republic Of China (ROC) in Taiwan became a source of hostility in its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). However, this was mitigated by the impact of a radical geopolitical shift.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Recent international developments have prompted some to speculate that we are in the midst of a critical juncture for Taiwan’s bid for admission to the United Nations (UN). On the plus side, Taiwan has received considerable international recognition for its successful policy responses toward the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is arguable that this in itself will increase the odds for its campaign to join the UN.
Written by Joshua Bernard B. Espeña and Chelsea Anne A. Uy Bomping. The 1992 Consensus has framed the status quo of the Cross-Strait relationship for decades. However, more recently, rising nationalisms and geopolitical developments have expedited the erosion of the consensus. Moreover, the United States’ (US) commitment to Taiwan is ambiguous, despite the Trump administration adopting a more hardline stance against China. These factors complicate Taiwan’s quest for membership in the United Nations (UN), and add to doubts as to whether the consensus is still a source of stability in the Cross-Strait relationship.
Written by Bill Sharp. The Trump administration has signed into law a number of pieces of legislation that reduce the traditional strategic ambiguity colouring the US commitment to the defence of Taiwan.
Written by Najee Woods. In early April, President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the nation would donate 10 million masks to nations in need, particularly to the United States and European countries. These countries being the two hardest hit by COV-19. The news was welcomed by both the governments of the United States and the Europe Union. The U.S. Department of State lauded Taiwan for being a true friend in a time of need, while the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen personally thanked Taiwan via her official Twitter account.
Written by Fumiko Sasaki. The Trump administration has intensified its anti-China campaign. Consequently, rhetoric has been strongly pro-Taiwan. Due to the increased negative sentiment toward China in the U.S., the presidential candidate from each party will need to take a tough stance toward China to win the election. Regardless of the election outcome, President Tsai Ing-Wen should not anticipate such trends to continue and must be wise in aligning with allies inside the U.S.
Written by T.Y. Wang. With its recent dispute with the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the island country has grabbed international headlines again, which may aid its efforts to join the international health organisation. Responding to a question from a reporter, and without providing any evidence, Tedros claimed that the Taipei government was behind recent death threats and racist online attacks against him.
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 Corey Lee Bell. The Overall Defence Concept (OCD), which was first outlined in 2017 by Taiwan’s revered former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Lee Hsi-ming, represented a paradigmatic shift in Taiwan’s approach to its defence. Many foreign analysts felt it marked a watershed moment in which the island’s leaders had finally cast aside national pride, and embraced an approach to Taiwan’s defence that belatedly acknowledged what they had been saying for years – that the balance of power across the Taiwan Strait had well and truly shifted in China’s favour.
Written by Dean P. Chen. On March 26, 2020, as the United States is under enormous pressure coping with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping across the globe, President Donald Trump signed into law the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019. Passed unanimously by the two chambers of U.S. Congress — the Senate in October 2019 and House in March 2020 — the act pushes for enhanced American government support for Taiwan’s international participation. It thus requires the State Department to report to Congress on steps taken to strengthen the island democracy’s diplomatic relations with other partners in the Indo-Pacific region.