Written by Gerrit van der Wees. It is understandable that the invasion is causing anxiety in Taiwan, as the country is similarly threatened by an aggressive and totalitarian neighboring country, China, which unjustly sees Taiwan as part of its territory. However, Taiwanese can take comfort in a number of facts that are in their favor.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. December 9 and 10, 2021 proved to be an interesting moment for Taiwan’s international space: on the one hand the country was invited to President Biden’s Summit for Democracy in Washington, where Digital Minister Audrey Tang gave a stellar performance in showcasing how Taiwan has enhanced its democracy in spite of the threats posed by China, and the hardships caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, on December 9, 2021 it was announced that Nicaragua was switching its diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing, reducing the total number of formal diplomatic ties down to fourteen.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. Over the past few months, President Biden has made some statements that show increasing clarity on where he stands on Taiwan. he first episode took place in mid-August 2021, when – in the aftermath of the Fall of Kabul and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan – Biden was asked in an ABC interview by George Stephanopoulos whether other allies such as Taiwan could count on the Americans. In his answer, Biden stated: We have made — kept every commitment.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. 25 October 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly vote, which switched the Chinese representation in the UN from “the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek” to those representing the government in Beijing.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The scenes from the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan are heart-wrenching. One would have hoped that the withdrawal by the United States and its Allies could have been planned such that it would be taking place in a more orderly fashion. Many an analysis will be written on this topic (…) A brief scan of the internet shows that Beijing’s propaganda machine is already hard at work to capitalize on the moment by publishing several articles implying that Taiwan could befall the same fate.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On 30 April 2021, the London-based The Economist published an article with the sensationalist headline referring to Taiwan as “The most dangerous place on earth.” The essay highlighted the increasing tension between the United States and China over Taiwan and the dangers of an armed conflict if China decides to use force against the democratic island.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. We are almost two months into the Biden Administration, and—contrary to what was argued in a recent article by Prof. John F. Copper—the new US administration has already shown on several key moments that it is strongly supportive of Taiwan. It is keen to help maintain Taiwan’s freedom and democracy and promote its place in the international community—a positive beginning. But where do we go from here?
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the US Presidential elections will mean a sea change for how the United States deals with the rest of the world, and how the world perceives the United States. However, interestingly, for Taiwan, it is expected to bring continuity. Biden himself has a long history of support for Taiwan. He was already a member of the United States Senate in 1979 when the Taiwan Relations Act was approved. When he became chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2001, the first country he visited as chairman was Taiwan. Moreover…
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. As the United Nations General Assembly is preparing to meet in New York for its annual gathering, the international community is facing multiple issues in all parts of the world that need to be resolved. Among all of those issues, there is one burning question: why is a free and democratic Taiwan not part of the gathering? Why is a vibrant democracy being excluded from the international family of nations?
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On July 30 2020, Taiwan’s “Father of Democracy,” former President Lee Teng-hui passed away in Taipei at the ripe old age of 97. He served as the country’s President from 1988 until 2000 and guided its transformation from a repressive authoritarian dictatorship that had been imposed on the island by the Chinese Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek after World War II, to the vibrant democracy that is Taiwan today.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. Her overwhelming victory in the elections already gave President Tsai Ing-wen a solid mandate to push domestic reforms with greater vigor, while the country’s excellent performance in combating the Coronavirus crisis gave Taiwan an unmatched international visibility, which will help in pushing back against China’s mounting political and economic aggressiveness.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On March 4th, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed the TAIPEI Act with unanimous consent. TAIPEI, in this case, stands for “Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative” – a smart acronym for legislation designed to support more international space for Taiwan around the world. The US Senate had passed a similar Bill at the end of October 2019, and the House actually took up the Senate version of the Bill.