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.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. In sum, there is no reason to believe that imminent conflict in the Taiwan strait would occur after the Russia-Ukraine war outbreak. However, it is imperative to underscore that the proposition is not formed based on comparing Taiwan’s relative advantages over Ukraine. Instead, it is underlined by how the ongoing war has been perceived by not only Taiwan’s general public and government but also Xi and the CCP.
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.