Written by Leo Chang and Alan H. Yang. Taiwan’s effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a growing number of countries to support Taiwan’s membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).
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 Pratnashree Basu and Aadya Chaturvedi. While countries are opting for varying degrees of response and control measures to curb the spread of the contagion, there is simultaneously a need for strengthening international institutional mechanisms to mitigate the global health emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis. These mechanisms would warrant enhanced early responses and thus enable the curbing of infectivity. The right to health is recognised in the Preamble of the Constitution of the WHO. Furthermore, the International Health Regulations (IHRs) are considered the cornerstone of the international management of public health emergencies.
Written by Robert S. Wang. While most people agree we need to probe into the origin of the current Coronavirus pandemic, many continue to urge that we initially focus on containing the pandemic and address the broad issues of cause later on. This is also what China’s President Xi Jinping proposed in his speech, along with the offer of $2 billion in assistance, at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly meeting on May 18.
Written by Ratih Kabinawa. In a time of crisis, such as during pandemic, temporary migrants are typically subject to discriminatory policies and are considered society’s second-class members. The government will likely prioritise the health and safety of its citizens instead of temporary migrants, who stay for a short time either for studying or working. In Australia, for example, the prime minister, as well as the premiers of each state, have mentioned several times in their public statements on COVID-19, the need to give top priority to Australian citizens and permanent residents. Taiwan has taken a different approach.
Written by T.Y. Wang. With its recent dispute with the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the island country has grabbed international headlines again, which may aid its efforts to join the international health organisation. Responding to a question from a reporter, and without providing any evidence, Tedros claimed that the Taipei government was behind recent death threats and racist online attacks against him.
Written by Elizabeth Freund Larus. US President Donald Trump on March 26 signed into law the TAIPEI Act, strengthening US commitment to protecting Taiwan’s international standing. Passed earlier by both house of Congress with unanimous consent, the law is a response to China’s increasing pressure to shrink the island nation’s diplomatic space. The Act encourages countries to support Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition or to strengthen unofficial ties with the island, and to support Taiwan’s participation in international organisations. What form would these measures take, and what is the likelihood of their implementation?
Written by T.Y. Wang and Ching-Hsin Yu. The worsening prospect of the pandemic has led to two dozen state governments taking drastic measures by ordering all residents to stay in their homes, restricting the movement of more than 200 million Americans. As a result, schools are shut down, restaurants are closed, and the airlines have dramatically reduced their scheduled flights. The American economy has ground to a halt with a record 3.3 million Americans applying for unemployment benefits. In contrast, several thousands of miles away, Taiwan has been able to keep the number of coronavirus infections relatively low.
Written by Shun-Te Wang. As Chinese influence infiltrates everyday life in Kinmen, local politicians still find it challenging to predict local opinion over border control issues. In early February 2020, 6 kilometres away from China, a dissatisfaction toward the government’s Coronavirus prevention measures became prominent on the Kinmen island. The island’s public demand that Taiwanese central government, which is 300 kilometres away from Kinmen, to suspend the “Three Links” to prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from entering.
Written by Sam Robbins. The coronavirus has become a hot topic of conversation on Taiwan’s popular social networking site, D-cart. This has become a space for (primarily university students) to share or ask for relevant information about the disease, but also to share their fears and difficulties that have resulted from the virus. A recurring theme on the discussion board are stories from international students—for example, from Hong Kong—who are not sure of their ability to return to study in Taiwan.
Written by Josie-Marie Perkuhn. As a precaution, most flights have been suspended, and entry spots have restricted access, such as maritime passages via Kinmen, Matsu or Penghu Island. President Tsai also assured that “as long as the two sides fully communicate and cooperate, I do believe that we will be able to take good care of our people”. However, controversy arose when on February 3rd evacuees arrived. Three of the 247 people on the charter flight had not been on the priority list, which Taiwan provided to China, and one was tested positive, becoming the 11th patient in Taiwan to be diagnosed.
Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. Taiwan government’s most favoured policy for fighting Covid-19 initially is to prevent it from entering Taiwan in the first place, according to Ming-Liang Lee, former health minister, “Czar of SARS” — commander-in-chief in the debacle against Taiwan’s 2003 SARS epidemic, and now a senior adviser to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. To this end, Taiwan implemented strict travel advisories and entry protocols tiered by the risk level of the countries in question.