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.
Tag: Tsai Administration
Taiwan’s Referendums Defeated: A Win for Democracy, International space, and the Environment
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On Saturday, 18 December 2021, the Taiwanese people went to the polls to vote on four referendums supported by the opposition KMT and opposed by the ruling DPP of President Tsai Ing-wen. The result was a sound defeat of all four proposals and a significant win for the policies of President Tsai. Below is an analysis of what happened.
The History and Significance of Referendums in Taiwan
Written by John F. Copper. On December 18, 2021, a four-question referendum will be presented to voters in Taiwan. The first question deals with constructing a receiving terminal for natural gas on Taoyuan’s Datan Algae Reef. The second is about importing pork from the United States that may contain a possible dangerous additive. The third concerns the activation of the Lungman Nuclear Power Plant. Finally, the fourth allows, or rejects, referendums being held together with general elections.
Pleasing the Mainland or Island: The Politicisation of Taiwanese Stars During On-Going Cross-Strait Turbulence
Written by Jian Xu. On January 25, 2017, National Defense News, a military newspaper under the management of the Military Committee of the Communist Party of China, published a commentary titled, ‘Never allow artists to eat Chinese food and smash Chinese bowls.’ The article criticised pro-independence Hong Kong singer Hins Cheung and applauded his ban from appearing on one of China’s most popular reality shows, I Am a Singer, run by Hunan Satellite TV. It argues that ‘in front of the overall interests of the country and nation, every artist needs to stay rational within the bottom line. Overstepping the bottom line means no future. Any ‘idol’ will be discarded if they hurt the national emotion and dignity of the Chinese people.’
President Tsai’s Celebrity Marketing
Written by Hsin-I Sydney Yueh. On November 13, 2021, NBA player Enes Kanter posted a Twitter message, stating that Taiwan is “not a part of China”; this particular video elicited a warm-hearted response from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. She said, “Thank you, Enes, for standing with Taiwan and standing up for democracy.” Kanter quoted Tsai’s reply and said he wanted to “meet the brave people of Taiwan.”
The Political and Economic Implications from Taiwan’s Covid-19 resilience performance
Written by Chun-Chien Kuo. According to the latest Bloomberg Covid-19 Resilience Report, Taiwan’s ranking has slumped to 44th place in June from the 15th in May. Meanwhile, the support rates for President Tsai have declined dramatically. Taiwan had successfully controlled the Covid-19 virus for more than one year under the strict border control, and people had been luckily enjoying the near normal life without lockdown elsewhere. The economy gained positive momentum both from strong export and little affected domestic activities. The CECC Commander Chen, President Tsai and DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) had been rewarded with high political support for their well performance in fighting the Covid-19 virus. However …
Taiwan’s Economy: GDP Growth is a Bright Spot for Now
Written by John F. Copper. The recent economic news emanating from Taiwan is the impressive growth in its gross domestic product (GDP)—one of the basic indicators of economic vitality. This is certainly good to hear. After experiencing negative growth throughout most of 2020, conditions changed in the last quarter of the year. As a result, Taiwan even bested China’s GDP growth. Furthermore, the upward trend accelerated this year, with GDP expansion the highest in two decades. If this growth is sustained, 2021 will end with a welcomed 5 per cent or better rise.
‘Bringing Back Transnational Relations’: Non-State Actors in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy
Written by Ratih Kabinawa. Drawing from Risse-Kappen’s seminal book and his framework of domestic and international structures, this article explains Taiwan’s long-standing engagement with non-state actors in promoting its foreign policy objectives in Southeast Asia via a case study of the New Southbound Policy (NSP). After enjoying some success in maintaining semi-official contacts with Southeast Asian countries during the cross-Strait relation détente, the election of Tsai Ing-wen compelled Taiwan to bring transnational relations back into its foreign policy. In 2016, Taiwan’s newly elected president, Tsai Ing-wen, introduced a foreign policy flagship that stressed the essential role of people-to-people diplomacy in promoting Taiwan’s foreign policy objectives in Southeast Asia.
Changing Circumstances Call for Taipei to Lift Its Effort in Promoting Democracy on China and beyond
Written by Chen Jie (陈杰). There are remaining concerns urging the government of democratised Taiwan to support democratic causes and human rights in China. In fact, for the Tsai Ing-wen administration, these issues have strengthened. Despite their disdain for the one China project, politicians of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) share the sentiment that Taiwan’s own democratisation inspires China. This is echoed internationally. The former US Vice President Mike Pence spoke positively about Taiwan’s “embrace of democracy” and the example it had set for “all the Chinese people.”
Cross-Strait Politics and the International Spectre of Climate Change in Taiwan
Written by Brian Hioe. Taiwan’s international climate conference participation has been subject to the same dynamics applicable to other international organisations. However, Taiwan has often been pushed out because of Chinese pressure. Namely, when the Ma administration held power, Taiwan could participate as an observer in climate change summits that it was later excluded from when the Tsai administration took office.
KMT Begins to Call for Tsai Administration to Accept Chinese Covid-19 Vaccines
Written by Brian Hioe. The latest front on which the KMT has sought to attack the Tsai administration’s response to COVID-19 has been on the issues of vaccines. In particular, with the Tsai administration having enjoyed widespread public praise for its effective response to COVID-19, the KMT has tried to find ways to criticize or denigrate the Tsai administration’s response to COVID-19. In recent memory, this has included calls in January to lock down the city of Taoyuan in response to the Taoyuan General Hospital cluster.
Taiwan Should Abandon Its Irrational Anti-Corruption Strategy
Written by Jon S.T. Quah. Taiwan has been eminently successful in combating the current COVID-19 pandemic because of its rational approach of relying on science, extensive testing, quarantine, contact tracing, and through the population’s observance of the necessary public health preventive measures. In contrast, Taiwan has failed to make significant progress in minimising corruption, judging from the frequent recurrence of corruption scandals and its unimpressive performance on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from 2012 to 2019.