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”.
Written by Simona A. Grano & Helena Y.W. Wu. On January 2, 2019, Xi Jinping held a speech to commemorate the famous “Letter to Compatriots in Taiwan” of 1979. In this letter, he defined unification across the Taiwan Strait as “the great trend of history.” He also warned that attempts to facilitate Taiwan’s independence would be met by force. Not only this, but he also called for “unification under the ‘one country, two systems’ formula.”
Written by Nissim Otmazgin. Now that Taiwan has largely shed its Cold War KMT image and has gone through a democratisation process, it can project itself as a peaceful, prosperous, and above all, democratic country that might be a good ally for pro-democracy forces across the region? Given its regional setting in Northeast Asia, how does Taiwan tap into surrounding soft power competition and promote an international agenda?
Written by Malcolm Turnbull. Countries that displease China have been threatened with economic consequences. It might be boycotting Japanese retailers; or stopping tourism to South Korea. Or as we have seen in Australia, holding up beef exports and slapping tariffs on wine. On the other hand, and especially in the developing world, billions are being offered for infrastructure development through the Belt and Road initiative.
Written by Chih-Wei Chen. In recent decades, the world is facing increasingly severe challenges caused by climate change, natural disasters, worldwide public health issues, and so on. To combat the challenges, the United Nations officially launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and advocated that all countries around the world endeavour to cooperate to achieve the goals. On the other hand, the advent of the digital era and the rapid development of digital technologies, such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), have provided new opportunities for people to implement sustainable development measures.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Recent international developments have prompted some to speculate that we are in the midst of a critical juncture for Taiwan’s bid for admission to the United Nations (UN). On the plus side, Taiwan has received considerable international recognition for its successful policy responses toward the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is arguable that this in itself will increase the odds for its campaign to join the UN.
Written by Najee Woods. In early April, President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the nation would donate 10 million masks to nations in need, particularly to the United States and European countries. These countries being the two hardest hit by COV-19. The news was welcomed by both the governments of the United States and the Europe Union. The U.S. Department of State lauded Taiwan for being a true friend in a time of need, while the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen personally thanked Taiwan via her official Twitter account.
Written by Najee Woods (葉正忠). While Taiwan’s current mask diplomacy has been perceived as successful, the question arises: why doesn’t the KMT want the central government aiding those nations in dire need for masks? The party flip-flopping sends a mixed message to the international community that Taiwanese are not willing to lend a helping hand to combat COVID-19, which hurts the interest of all Taiwanese people, not just the ruling party. While the PRC health diplomacy is faltering, the international community has now begun to seek out Taiwan, allowing the island nation to lead the world in combating COVID-19.
Written by Hsin-Chi Lee. In the 2020 Taiwanese presidential election held in January, Taiwan’s first female president Tsai Ing-wen won her second term. At the same time female representation reached a record high- 42% of legislators are now women, which is top rate in Asia.
Written by Cheng-Chia Tung. COVID-19 has cost thousands of lives outside of its place of origin and has put 20% of the global population under lockdown. It is hard to envision it not having a long-lasting impact. Many influential commentators have focused on how it has exacerbated the decline of globalization and intensified political tension and strategic competition among great powers. While many may crave a “return to normalcy,” if we are to address the challenges created by the pandemic more holistically we need to do more than simply ask “whether we’re going back to where we were.”
Written by Yao-Hung Huang. The tragedy that is the spread of the COVID 19 virus has dominated headlines around the world. While in Taiwan it has been a cause of considerable consternation, it has at the same time incited controversy about Taiwan’s relationship with the Chinese mainland.
Written by Po-Han Lee. Due to the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), Taiwan—which is greatly affected because of its intensive communication with China—has come under the international spotlight, because of its exclusion from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the largest institution responsible for disease control. Drawing on the rules/practices regarding the WHO-related meetings, this essay discusses why it is so difficult for the Taiwanese to be heard by the WHO, let alone for them to be present at relevant forums.