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.
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 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.
Written by John F. Copper. The United States has long (since World War II) played a critical role in Taiwan’s politics, including its elections. The reason is apparent: in 1950 President Truman sent the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to block Mao’s plan to invade the island; he saved Taiwan. America has served as Taiwan’s guardian ever since. Today China’s military could “liberate” Taiwan and make it part of China probably in a few hours if the US declined to intervene.
Written by Yu-Hua Chen. In January 2020 Taiwan will elect its president for the next four years. Incumbent president Tsai Ing-wen warned in an interview that “China’s attempt to meddle in this upcoming presidential election…is very obvious. We can see the shadow of Chinese meddling in every important election of Taiwan.” Although China denied the allegation, respectable research and reports provide evidence of how Beijing sways Taiwan’s elections and political processes.
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.