Clash of Mask Diplomacies? The COVID-19 and Changing Perceptions of China and Taiwan in Central and Eastern Europe

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.

The EU and Taiwan – Realpolitik Trumps ‘Values Diplomacy’

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.

Beyond Economics: The Value and Meaning of the New Southbound Policy

Written by Dr. Alan H. Yang and Tung Cheng-Chia. Great power competition between the United States and China has intensified under the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether in the World Health Organization or the United Nations, this intensification is compelling states to reorient their political alignment. Taiwan needs to reflect on and strategically reposition itself in this geopolitical tug-of-war. A top priority for the island-nation is to strengthen its links and influence in Asia.

Tsai’s Triple Stimulus Voucher Programme and a Missed Opportunity

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. After the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Government’s astonishing policy responses in containing the outbreak of COVID-19, the new battleground that would determine the trajectory of President Tsai Ing-wen and her Government’s approval rate lies in their ability to revitalise Taiwan’s economy. With the official launching of the “triple stimulus voucher” (三倍券) programme in July, it provides a good opportunity to evaluate the underlying rationale for this economic stimulus package and why it was a missed opportunity for Tsai to further her green agenda.

Taiwan and the EU ‘safe list’

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.

Taiwan can help!

Written by Chun-yi Lee and Yu-ching Kuo. The world changed this year. Covid-19 appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and gradually spread to Europe and the United States. At the time of writing (June 14), there are nearly 8 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide. The global death toll is 431,225, with the United States suffering the most deaths (115,578). Yet Taiwan, a small, self-ruled island that is geographically close to mainland China, had seen only 443 confirmed cases and 7 deaths by June.

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