Hard Cash or Soft Values? Assessing the ‘Lithuanian Model’ of Eastern European Relations with China and Taiwan

Written by Dominika Remžová. Over the last year and a half, Lithuania has been at the forefront of the EU’s improving relations with Taiwan and worsening relations with China. This culminated with Lithuania leaving the 17+1 framework of cooperation between China and 17 (now 16) eastern European countries on the one hand and the opening of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius on the other. The two events occurred in May and November 2021, respectively, with the latter being particularly controversial, as China argued that the denomination ‘Taiwanese’ breached the EU’s One China policy, which led to the imposition of Chinese economic sanctions on Lithuanian products. However, as Lithuania’s economic relations with China are negligible, at least when compared to western European countries, Beijing made the unprecedented move of targeting EU-wide supply chains that contain Lithuanian products. This effectively escalated the bilateral disagreement to the EU level, with the bloc filing a WTO case against China.

Cat-Warriors vs Wolf Warriors: How Taiwan Promotes Its Brand in the Face of a More Assertive China

Written by Simona Grano. According to China, Taiwan is a splinter province to be re-conducted under Beijing’s sphere of influence at all costs; likewise, China forbids international recognition of Taiwan under its “One China” principle. Through dealing with such hindrances for decades, the island has become skilled at swerving Chinese diplomatic aggression. Taiwan uses its soft – or “cat warrior” – diplomatic power to counter attacks on its sovereignty, promoting itself as a freedom-loving, peaceful nation in contrast to a belligerent China.

Taiwan’s Middle Power Humanitarian Diplomacy

Written by Huynh Tam Sang. As the resurrection of great-power politics has tragically befallen smaller powers, Taiwan has enhanced its agency via embracing humanitarian diplomacy and has sought a meaningful role in the global arena by supporting like-minded countries. The lesson from Taiwan’s humanitarian diplomacy is that when democracy is exposed to challenges, middle powers should potentially play a responsible role by investing in diplomatic support and humanitarian aid to vulnerable people.

What Does the Ukraine Crisis Tell Us About the Fate of Taiwan?

Written by Raian Hossain. The Russian invasion of Ukraine raises a serious concern over international peace, security, and stability. This led to numerous debates among analysts, academics, and journalists over the possibility of Beijing’s aggregation toward Taipei. There are good reasons why such concerns are in discussion. Chinese fighters’ incursion of Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone has become a regular practice in recent times. Hence, these lead toward analysing the possibility of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) invasion of the Republic of China (ROC), often known as Taiwan, using the lens of security, political economy, and diplomacy.

Taiwan Diplomacy: Worth the Effort?

Written by David Pendery. Commentary has recently focused on Taiwan’s diplomatic ties, following the loss of a number of allies under President Tsai Ing-wen’s tenure, most recently Nicaragua, which caused quite a stir internationally. The state of affairs has worsened to the point that many in the nation are now questioning the value of diplomatic relations in general and whether it is even worth the trouble for Taiwan to maintain its diplomatic relations with its remaining official allies. This is a query worth addressing.

How Taiwan is Strengthening its Relations with Europe: And How Lithuania is Leading the Way in Pushing Back against China

Written by Gerrit van Der Wees. strength, it laid out the advantages of improving relations with Taiwan in the EU parliament and national legislatures. The Tsai Ing-wen administration had also emphasised time and again that Taiwan as a democracy was on the front line of the global fight against authoritarianism. If the West did not support Taiwan sufficiently, what happened in Xinjiang and HK could also occur in Taiwan one day.

A Reflection on the UK’s Parliamentary Reaffirmation to Bolster Economic, Security & Develop Strategic Ties with Taiwan

Written by Raian Hossain. Most importantly, the debate at the House of Commons has highlighted a strong unity among different political parties’ parliamentarians in bolstering ties with Taiwan in all possible ways, be it economic, helping the island in international recognition, along with ensuring peace, security, and stability across the Taiwan Strait region. The cross-party unity approach ensures much more robust ties between UK-Taiwan in the upcoming days despite which party forms government in London in future.

How a Discursive Shift Signals the Presence of a New Liberal, Progressive Taiwan in British Foreign Policy Conceptions

Written by Max Dixon. A debate in the House of Commons on February the 10th saw the emergence of a qualitatively divergent discourse on Taiwan within British politics. The motion, which all parties support, saw Alicia Kearns MP calling for tangible action from the government on UK-Taiwan relations. However, more important than the specific requests made was the nature of the debate and the language used within it to address Taiwan’s relationship to the UK and China.

Taiwan’s international space: expanding or contracting? Shining at the Summit for Democracy but losing Nicaragua

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.

Technology is the new Priority in Central and Eastern Europe’s Accelerating Relations with Taiwan

Written by Richard Q. Turcsanyi and David Hutt. On October 20-30, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania will receive a large business delegation from Taiwan led by National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin. This will include the Minister of Science and Technology, Wu Tsung-tsong, and the new Director-General of Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO), Wu Jong-shinn. In the meantime, foreign minister Joseph Wu will also visit Slovakia and the Czech Republic during the same time.

The Western Gaze: Modern Art and Cultural Diplomacy in 1950s and 1960s Taiwan

Written by Man-hua Chen. Taiwanese modern art burgeoned in the Japanese colonial period. After World War II, along with the change in regime in Taiwan, participation in international art exhibitions as a country became an essential cultural and diplomatic means adopted by the ROC government. The original motive behind this initiative was purely political; nevertheless, it has been a key driver for promoting the development of modern art in Taiwan.

Taiwan with a Side of New Public Diplomacy

Written by Martin Mandl. At about the same time as Bubble Tea made its first appearance in Vienna, President Ma Ying-jeou proclaimed “taking Taiwan’s food to the world a policy priority”. What followed was an economic stimulus plan, sometimes referred to by commentators as “All in Good Taste – Savour the Flavours of Taiwan”.

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