Written by Jie Chen and Ratih Kabinawa. Taiwan has become widely regarded as an exemplary consolidated democracy, albeit with some defects. In Freedom in the World 2022 report, Freedom House gives Taiwan a 94 of 100 ratings, meaning the country counts as fully free. Freedom House also notes that “Taiwan’s vibrant and competitive democratic system has allowed three peaceful transfers of power between rival parties since 2000, and protections for civil liberties are generally robust”. Taiwan’s democratic standing has become more pronounced considering the rapid mainlandisation of Hong Kong under the repressive National Security Law.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. At a press conference on 23 May 2022, President Biden – who was in Tokyo to attend a meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF) – was asked by CBS reporter Nancy Cordes: “You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?” “Yes,” Mr Biden answered flatly. “You are?” the reporter followed up. “That’s the commitment we made,” he said.
Written by Milo Hsieh. On December 18th, Taiwanese voters headed to the polls to vote on four key referendum topics. They rejected all four referendum proposals in a close but decisive vote. The votes were held on four topics, each of which were put forth by an opponent to a policy change pushed by the Tsai administration. Voters were asked explicitly whether they support: 1) Restarting Taiwan’s defunct fourth nuclear power plant, 2) Rejecting imports of U.S. pork containing Ractopamine, 3) Tying referendums to future national elections or leaving them as separate votes, 4) Rejecting the ongoing construction of a light natural gas ship dock in Taoyuan.
Written by Douglas H. Paal. Four years ago, on December 2, 2016, shortly after Donald Trump had become president-elect, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen placed a phone call to Trump to congratulate him on his recent victory. Reportedly, someone trusted by Taipei with access to Trump had told Ms Tsai that her call would be received and not rejected. It was the first such opportunity for contact at that level since the United States broke diplomatic relations with the Republic of China in 1979, and so politically irresistible for Taiwan’s leader.
Insights from Elizabeth Freund Larus by Mercy A. Kuo. Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Elizabeth Freund Larus – chairman of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Mary Washington and author of “US President Obama’s China Policy: A Critical Assessment” – is the 241st in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”
Written by Qi Dongtao. It is well known that Taiwan, China and the US have been in complex triangular relations, which means any relations between the two cannot be well understood without involving the third country. Therefore — and apart from Beijing trying to increase its impact on Taiwan directly — Beijing has realised that the shortest route to Taipei is through Washington and has thus tried very hard to manage Washington’s influence on the island. Washington understands the importance of Taiwan to Beijing, and as a result, has carefully managed its relations with Taipei to serve its tactical relations with Beijing.
Written by James Lin. While the TAIPEI Act affirms US support, it does not change the capitalist structure of the international political economy, nor the hard economic and political advantages Beijing holds over Taipei and, to a certain degree, Washington. The United States is no longer in a position to shape the United Nations, or the Bretton Woods system, as it did in the immediate post-World War II moment. Even if Taiwan regains some of its diplomatic allies, Taiwan’s international existence is precarious without formal membership in international organizations and formal diplomatic recognition from the majority of the world’s nations.
Written by Scott L. Kastner. As Tsai Ing-wen begins her second term in office, and as the United States prepares for its presidential election later this year, both countries face daunting challenges. Washington today faces a possible public health catastrophe alongside its most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression, even as the US-China relationship continues to deteriorate. Against this backdrop, China will almost certainly continue to apply considerable military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan.
Written by Yu-Hua Chen. “It is time for the US to abandon Taiwan.” The past decade has frequently seen influential scholars and experts on US-China relations propose this sort of argument. Ten years ago, Bill Owens suggested that America should start treating China as a friend and therefore halt its arms sales to Taiwan and review the outdated the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). Bruce Gilley sold an idea of “the Finlandisation of Taiwan” in Foreign Affairs in 2010.
Written by John F. Copper. For more than two years the liberal Western media, especially in the United States, have talked and written extensively about America’s relations with Taiwan under Donald J. Trump. During this period their narratives embraced two different themes: first, the relationship was managed badly and second, Taiwan is a “card” Trump is playing against China.
Taking into account the fact that the Taiwan of 2019 is not the same as the ROC of 1979, we need to look at Taiwan in its own light and its own right. We need to bring Taiwan in from the cold of political isolation and start working towards a normalization of bilateral relations.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. As the results of the US mid-term elections are just being analyzed, Taiwan is preparing for its own mid-term