Written by Ian Inkster. The most likely manner in which the choice of Tory candidates might be of interest in Taiwan would be through foreign or economic policy. Unfortunately, though these two areas of government are meant to complement each other in normal times, our days are increasingly abnormal, thus the array of rhetoric, the focus on personalities, the exaggeration of anomalies, and the fixation on trust, veracity, and the lack thereof. And that is just in one party. Look around to your left and see the mirror image. Look across the Channel and see confusion and a reluctance to debate all major socio-economic problems. Look across the greater sea to find headless leadership. Not a charming prospect.
Written by Ian Inkster. So, China warned of ‘resolute and strong measures,’ and Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan without incident on her way to the rest of East Asia. She may well have infuriated parts of the Chinese regime when she said: ‘Make no mistake: America remains unwavering in our commitment to the people of Taiwan – now and for decades to come.’ Nevertheless, there is still no hint of any change in US policy, which will not recognise Taiwan as an independent entity, never mind a nation. No pathway has been opened. Indeed, the Western media made more noise than Taiwan itself.
Written by Ian Inkster. On 28 May, just after the Taiwanese authorities had apparently rejected outright Beijing’s offer to supply Covid 19 vaccines to Taiwan, Hsiao Bi-khim was urgently requesting from the USA ‘access to safe and effective vaccines.’ By 3 June, we knew that Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines had been approved by both WHO and Covax Facility for distribution to other nations, that many millions of vaccines have been sent out from China to Africa and Asia, and that whatever the political interpretation, these vaccines were offered early to Taiwan free of charge.
Written by Ian Inkster. As Joseph Cummings has summarised recently for Redaction Politics, ‘experts believe that Mr Biden’s policy will fall short of provocation of mainland China and Mr Trump’s open empowerment of Taiwanese militarisation,’ and there is little reason yet to discount that view. The fact that the US has approved recent arms purchase deals with Taiwan may mean no real change in the long history of less-than-best military techniques being sold off to Taiwan as part of the old cold-war alliance.
Written by Ian Inkster. The world is nowhere near getting over the COVID pandemic. Whether referring to the possibilities of mutations of the virus itself or to the transformations, reactions and perhaps resistances of the national populations who are being continuously coerced or persuaded into adherence to often dubious and motley official regulations, most commentators and analysts think we are either within or entering a strong second cycle of contagion and mortality.
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 Ian Inkster. The East Asian capacity for self-help is not an illusion nor irrelevant to our further understanding of the global Covid 19 crisis. More of this later. First, a few statistics that put East Asia in some perspective, derived from my analysis of the figures available on 28-29 March. All figures are problematic and very temporary, but the death/cases ratio seems sturdy in that the numerator is visible, which is more difficult to hide and easier to find than most of the measures being bandied about elsewhere.
Written by Ian Inkster. The conclusion is that the DPP should take the risk of dropping the rhetoric of China whilst seeking ways of beginning more positive diplomatic exchanges. And this should be undertaken on a broad basis. DPP negotiations that are not within a reasonably broad-based consensus at home are unlikely to progress far, for domestic quarrels do not make for confident diplomacy on either side of a table.
Written by Hsin Hsin Chang and Ian Inkster. More globally and problematically, if the Hong Kong element should indeed serve to determine outcomes, then it may be seen as the leading non-western component of a general global trend to distraction capitalism, where democratic processes that should revolve around general and fundamental social and economic policies are squeezed out by rhetorical clamour focusing on personalities, external events and one overwhelming internalised but badly digested issue.
Written by Ian Inkster. The first part of this paper outlined trends that could dominate discussions on Taiwan’s international position in 2019, providing a shaky
Written by Ian Inkster. Most social scientists now regard global dynamics as a complex system, more akin to a human body than to the workings