Written by chihao. Contributors of g0v started various discussions on international community affairs in late 2018, after the g0v Summit that year and other governance-related conversations some months before that. Like many things in g0v, these efforts to engage with international organisations and people were largely self-initiated. No permission was required since none could be given. However, unlike many things in g0v, there are little to no public records of these activities, such as correspondence, meetings notes, or slide decks. Open collaboration becomes very difficult, if not impossible, without shared documentation of these activities. Also, unlike many things in g0v, some were paid for their role in these international activities. Discrepancies between a paid full-time job and part-time volunteering work further exacerbate the difficulties.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The press and think tanks, on their part, need to reassess their understanding of “strategic ambiguity”: they need to come to a clearer understanding of its origins – as reiterated in the quotes from former NSC Director Robert Suettinger’s book – and arrive at the unavoidable conclusion that it does not equate policy. Rather, it is, at best, a mode of operation determining how to calibrate a response. As described above, the policy itself on how to (help) defend Taiwan is laid down clearly in the Taiwan Relations Act.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Abe has widely been regarded as ‘the Prime Minister who is most supportive of Taiwan’. Not only had he been an advocate for legitimatising Taiwan’s status on the international ground on many occasions, but he also made the renowned statement during a video conference with the Taiwan Institute for National Policy Studies in 2021 that ‘if something happens to Taiwan, it means something happens to Japan’. Hence, although the news of Abe’s assassination sent shockwaves worldwide, the political implications of his untimely death on the future trajectory of Taiwan-Japan warrant further investigation.
Written by Wei-Hsiu Huang. In addition, more complicated multilateral relations are involved in this issue. They are the relations between Japan and the People’s Republic of China, cross-Strait relations, and the Japan-US Alliance. As for the Japan-US Alliance, Japan is obligated to abide by the Japan-US Security Treaty, and the US insisted on a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait relations. To make it clear in the discussion, I will divide the developing process into three periods: the first period from the post-war period to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, the second from the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Japan and China to the democratisation of Taiwan, and the third one from the 1990s to the present. This essay will proceed with an overview and analysis of the complex relationship between Japan and Taiwan in the post-war period.
Written by Ko-Hang Liao. On 8 July 2022, former Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Shinzō Abe (安倍晋三) was killed by an assassin’s homemade gun during his midspeech of campaign held in Nara to support a Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) candidate for upper house election two days later. As a result, this longest-serving Japanese PM (in office (2012-2020) after a brief first tenure (2006-2007), surpassed the record held by his great uncle Eisaku Satō (佐藤栄作) from 1964 to 1972) is recognised by the public as the most Taiwan-friendly premier, a transformational leader, and the founder of Indo-Pacific strategy. By introducing Abe’s distinct roles, this article looks at Taiwan-Japan relations during and after Abe’s administration, the impact he brought to Japan’s postwar pacifism by rebuilding Japan’s role in global power-politics, his legacy in the post-Abe era, and future relations between two countries.
Written by Kuan-Jen Chen. On 8 July 2022, two gunshots not only ended Japan’s former prime minister Abe Shinzo’s life but also convulsed international politics in East Asia. The debates on Kishida Fumio’s diplomatic policy and the power reshuffling within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have had the share of the international spotlight for their inextricable connections with Taiwan and the East Asian region. The amicable relationship between Japan and Taiwan is well-renowned. If you stroll in any city in Japan, it is not hard to find a slogan banner of “Thank you, Taiwan!” to express Japan’s appreciation for Taiwan’s help after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Ten years later, when Taiwan underwent the grave hours of the pandemic, Japan, pushed by Abe Shinzo, generously provided vaccines for Taiwan, saving numerous lives. These instances mark that these two countries seemingly have an unbreakable official relationship. However, the fact is that historically and politically speaking, Japan has been maintaining a distant but close relationship with Taiwan.
Written by Michael Reilly. It is almost a truism to say that the UK’s policy on Taiwan is dictated by, and subordinate to, its policy towards China. All too frequently, ‘support’ for Taiwan is little more than a reaction to Chinese behaviour or actions, and it is rarely based on the intrinsic merits of engaging with Taiwan for the benefits that doing so will bring. So, Taiwan ought to feel pleased by recent opinion polls, which confidently predict Liz Truss becoming the next British prime minister on 5th September. Among her backers within the Conservative party are some prominent ‘China hawks,’ notably former party leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith and chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tom Tugendhat.
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 Brian Hioe. More generally, while several organisations in Taiwan are devoted to fact-checking and combating disinformation, these primarily focus on targeting disinformation that circulates within Taiwan, which aims to affect domestic politics. There is less focus by such organisations on disinformation that spreads about Taiwan in the English-language sphere. Taiwanese generally read news and international discourse about their country in Chinese rather than English, so they may not be aware of disinformation circulating globally about Taiwan. At the same time, the English language world may not be able to verify information circulating in Chinese due to lacking language ability. Perhaps more translingual fact-checking practices must be developed to cope with this issue. This may be the corollary to increased discussion to the fact that the voices of Taiwanese have been left out of international media reporting on the Pelosi visit and military drills that followed.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The picture circulating on the internet of Speaker Pelosi and President Tsai Ing-wen standing next to each other was indeed a powerful image of two women who are determined to bend history in the right direction. The main conclusion of the episode is that it was crucial that Speaker Pelosi stood her ground and pushed through her plans for a visit to Taiwan. It is a win for democracy and a major milestone in Taiwan’s relations with the rest of the world.
Written by Ting-Fai Yu. Unquestionably, the global visibilities of Taiwan’s recent human rights achievements, such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2019, must have contributed to the voting members’ confidence in having WorldPride held there. However, while Taiwan’s LGBT development has served as an exemplar to which many non-Western countries, especially those in Asia, aspire, it is essential to note that progressive legal changes are not necessarily representative of how queerness is lived culturally.
Written by Brian Hioe. The Tsai administration has presented somewhat mixed messaging on the invasion of Ukraine. When questioned by opposition lawmakers, officials such as Premier Su Tseng-chang have rejected comparisons between Ukraine and Taiwan, stating that the two contexts are sufficiently different and cannot be compared. On the other hand, President Tsai Ing-wen has said that Taiwan stands with Ukraine as a fellow democracy and has condemned Russia’s actions. Contributions from her administration have included the establishment of a relief fund.