Written by Brian Hioe. A visit by an 89-member diplomatic delegation from the Czech Republic to Taiwan came to an end on Friday night, three weeks ago, with members of the delegation departing Taiwan. Among the delegation were Czech Senate president Milos Vystrcil and Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib. The delegation arrived on Sunday, staying a total of six days. All members of the delegation tested negative for COVID-19 before they were allowed into Taiwan, with the legislature and other areas visited by the Czech delegation disinfected after their visit, and members of the delegation kept within a “diplomatic bubble” to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
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 Richard Q. Turcsanyi. Perhaps in the clearest form, the Czech Republic symbolises contradictory attitudes towards Beijing and Taipei found in former Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). While for part of the society Taiwan symbolises own rejection of Communist past and sympathy towards humanistic ideals, others are not willing to endanger promises of benefits (real or imaginary) of pragmatic developing relations with China.
Written by Tamás Peragovics and Ágnes Szunomár. It has become a truism that China’s mask diplomacy seeks to enhance the country’s global standing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. By exporting medical aid and equipment, the Beijing Government rushes to the rescue of countries still struggling to contain the virus. Positioning itself as saviour rather than villain, China’s motivation is to cultivate a global aura of blissful ignorance with regards to the outbreak’s early mismanagement, including the silencing of Chinese whistle-blowers who emphasized contagion risks and tried to warn of the severity of the new pathogen.
Written by Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Brigitte Dekker. The protection of digital freedom of speech, transparency and inclusiveness is at stake as governments resort to (sometimes intrusive) digital means to monitor and combat the coronavirus. At the same time, economic competitiveness in the digital age requires innovative approaches, as the US-China rivalry profoundly reshapes the global tech landscape and global governance. This is where Taiwan and the European Union (EU) have similar interests and stand to benefit from exchanging best practices.
Written by Michael Reilly. The European Union’s relations with China are currently at their lowest level since at least the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, if not earlier. Growing disillusion with China’s economic and predatory business policies under Xi Jinping had already led to the EU branding China a ‘systemic rival’ in 2019. Since then, unease has only grown and relations further soured, most recently over China’s crude attempts to use the Coronavirus pandemic for propaganda purposes, followed by its imposition of a draconian National Security Law on Hong Kong in disregard of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.
Written by Ian Inkster. The historical relations of Taiwan with Europe are by no means unproblematic. When free of Chinese imperial power, Taiwan became subject to the western Great Powers and then to an expanding, industrially founded Japanese colonialism and militarism. At this point, relations with Europe were commercially close but politically and culturally distant. Led by Britain, the European involvement in Taiwan was never truly benign. After the war of 1937-45, Europe’s interest in Taiwan was principally as a developing economy that traded in a range of complementary goods and services.
Written by Ian Inkster. It will now be well-known to our readers that the European Union has excluded Taiwan from ‘a safe list,’ which allows citizens unhindered travel to-and-fro the Eurozone. It is important to note that there is no obligation for the EU to give full, or even sensible reasons, for this decision. Still, we can nevertheless examine the evidence for ourselves.
Written by Michael Reilly. Not since the end of the 2nd World War has the international trading environment been shrouded in so much uncertainty. Four years ago, the future looked clear. In October 2015, the USA and eleven other countries agreed on what would have been the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), covering 40% of the global economy. The USA and the EU were also talking about a similar agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Then came the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as president of the USA.
Written by Robert S. Wang. As I see it, the United States and EU governments need to respond urgently and strongly at this time if they are to show that they truly intend to defend the values of the liberal international order. They should start by working with human rights NGOs to document and publicise even more widely China’s gross human rights violations. The aim here is to raise public awareness and highlight deteriorating human rights conditions under China’s increasingly repressive authoritarian regime for the world, including Chinese people at home and abroad, to see.
Written by Chun-yi Lee. Does Brexit impact Taiwan? The answer is, yes. Rather than repeat the tired cliché of ‘this is a globalised world’, I will instead ask our readers to think deeper about the interconnectivities of supply chains, the mobility of human talent in the innovation and high education sectors, and cross-regional trading agreements such as the TPP and CPTPP. If one considers all these different elements, Brexit certainly impacts on Taiwan and East Asia as a whole.
Written by Michael Reilly. In October 2015 the European Commission announced that it would ‘explore launching negotiations on investment with [….] Taiwan.’ For a country that