Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific


China speaks in tongues over Taiwan

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen delivers her inaugural address at the Taipei Guest House in Taipei, Taiwan, 20 May 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Wang Yu Ching).

Author: Nicholas Chiu, Taipei

While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bellows at Hong Kong, it is relatively low-key on cross-strait relations. Three economic signals and a pair of political statements make Beijing’s tone down of threats against Taiwan perceptible. Read more…

Taiwan’s Ko Wen-je: a different type of politician

Mayor of Prague Zdenek Hrib and Taipei city Mayor Ko Wen-je pose with a signed partnership agreement between the two cities at the Old Town Hall in Prague, Czech Republic, 13 January 2020 (Photo: Reuters/David W Cerny).

Author: Bill Sharp, National Taiwan University

Ko Wen-je, chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party established in 2019, promises a refreshing approach to politics mixed with humour, transparency and solicitation of direct citizen input. His speaking skills helped him gain appeal among Taiwan’s young during the 2014 Sunflower Movement and, with the support of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), he was elected mayor of Taipei in 2014. Ko aims to free Taiwanese politics of the constant struggle between blue pro-China and green pro-independence forces. Read more…

Will Taiwan’s COVID-19 response bolster its international recognition?

Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, parliament members and activists hold a news conference about Taiwan's efforts to enter the World Health Organization, Taipei, Taiwan, 15 May 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang).

Author: Robert Joseph Medillo, Manila

Taiwan’s global efforts in the wake of COVID-19 have the potential to undermine China’s assertive ‘One China policy’ and realise a greater international acceptance of Taiwan’s de facto independence. Drawing from its COVID-19 experience, Taiwan can broaden its place in international cooperation.

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Rural Taiwan’s community cooperation against COVID-19

A woman wears a face mask as a mandatory precaution for riding on public transportation amid the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Taipei, Taiwan, 30 April, 202 (Photo: Reuters/Wang).

Author: Hung-yu Liu, National Chung Cheng University

Many countries now realise the crucial importance of information transparency, testing, contact tracing, timely treatment and social distancing in the fight against COVID-19. The media coverage has been primarily centred on urban cities where information and services are more accessible. These urban areas are the frontlines of the war against COVID-19. But the Taiwanese government’s focus on the frontline battle in urban areas leaves rural communities — already less equipped to contain an outbreak — vulnerable. Read more…

Lessons from Taiwan’s coronavirus response

Tourists wear protective face masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 while passing by a flag rising ceremony at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, 11 March 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang).

Author: Hsien-Ming Lin, National Sun Yat-sen University

When COVID-19 first spread from mainland China to other countries in late January, Taiwan began to gain international attention. The spotlight has shifted from Taiwan’s isolated international status to how it can efficiently manage the spread of COVID-19. An early study conducted by Johns Hopkins University in January indicated that Taiwan could have had the second highest confirmed cases after China. Read more…

Looking beyond Tsai’s big election win

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen listens to a speaker in New Taipei City, Taiwan, 26 December 2019 (Photo: REUTERS/Ann Wang).

Author: Gerrit van der Wees, George Mason University and George Washington University

President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) momentous election victory on 11 January 2020 represents a significant turning point for Taiwan. It marks the culmination of a democratic transformation that started with the end of martial law in 1987 and the commencement of democratic reforms by former president Lee Teng-hui in the early 1990s. Since then, the government has changed hands three times. Read more…

Taiwan’s minor parties a force to be reckoned with?

A Taiwanese voter stands at a polling booth during the general elections in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 11 January 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang).

Authors: Chuyao Zeng, SOAS and Felix Wiebrecht, CUHK

Taiwan’s 2020 elections were dominated by the contest between incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and her populist challenger Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang (KMT). But the legislative elections also generated significant changes for Taiwan’s overall party system. Read more…

Huawei’s quest for self-reliance

People look at smartphones in Huawei's first global flagship store in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, 30 October 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Aly Song).

Author: Mark Manantan, Pacific Forum

In an opening salvo for 2020, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman Eric Xu made it clear that the company’s topmost priority is survival. But closer scrutiny reveals that ‘survival’ is an assertion of Huawei’s vision for self-reliance. Under the auspices of Made in China 2025, the key for Huawei’s survival is developing its own indigenous technologies — an ambition conceived in the pre-Trump era. Read more…

Behind the Democratic Progressive Party’s convincing 2020 win

An election official shows a ballot with vote for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen as votes are counted at a polling station in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 11 January 2020, (Photo: Reuters/ Ann Wang).

Authors: Fang-Yu Chen, Michigan State University, Austin Wang, University of Nevada, Charles K S Wu, Purdue University and Yao-Yuan Yeh, University of St Thomas

On 11 January 2020, incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won a record-high number of votes and the majority of seats in Taiwan’s general election. Read more…

The case for a Taiwan sovereign wealth fund

A Taiwan dollar note is seen in this illustration photo, 31 May 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas White).

Author: Shaokai Fan, Tufts

Taiwan needs to address a glaring gap in its financial toolkit — the absence of a sovereign wealth fund (SWF). Read more…

Taiwan’s high stakes 2020 elections

A Taiwanese voter stands at a polling booth during the general elections in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 11 January 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang).

Author: Graeme Read, ANU

Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections took place on 11 January 2020. Leading up to these elections, international media focussed on Taiwan as the crux of US–China strategic competition. As narratives of candidates battling over the China factor re-emerge, the significance of these elections extends beyond just the presidency. The stakes for Taiwan’s 2020 elections are high and the consequences are potentially deep and far reaching.

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‘Anti-infiltration bill’ may change Taiwan’s election outcome

A Kuomintang party supporter holds Taiwanese flags before an election rally in Taipei, Taiwan, 9 January 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang).

Authors: Dennis LC Weng, Sam Houston State University and Victoria Makanjuola, George Washington University

Western democracies have become familiar with the consequences of foreign electoral intervention. Taiwan is yet another country facing a similar issue in its upcoming 2020 presidential election taking place on 11 January.

There are still many looming questions regarding Taiwan’s sovereignty and its status as an independent nation. The complexity of Taiwan–China relations is the key reason why keeping Taiwan democratic matters to the world.

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Taiwan’s growth up despite trade war hit

Nan Shan Plaza and Taiwan's landmark building Taipei 101 are seen during sunset in Taipei, Taiwan, 27 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Min-Hua Chiang, NUS

Taiwan’s growth figures surged unexpectedly in the second half of 2019 from 1.84 per cent in the year’s first quarter to 2.99 per cent in the third. The official estimate for the full year’s economic growth is 2.64 per cent, higher than Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong. Like most Asian countries, Taiwan’s exports have suffered from the US–China trade war. But overall the economy has held up relatively well thanks to Taiwanese firms’ substantial investment at home. Read more…

Hong Kong repression pushes Taiwan away from China

Police detain an anti-government protester after an anti-parallel trading protest at Sheung Shui, a border town in Hong Kong, 5 January 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Authors: Fang-Yu Chen, Michigan State University, Austin Wang, University of Nevada, Charles K S Wu, Purdue University and Yao-Yuan Yeh, University of St Thomas

The repercussions of protest and unrest can stretch across borders. Events during 2019 have reshaped Taiwanese perceptions towards China and the so-called ‘one-country, two systems’ in Hong Kong.

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Taiwan’s new place in the world

Supporters of Daniel Han Kuo-yu, Mayor of Kaohsiung, give support for Taiwan Presidential election next January in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan on 21 December, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/ The Yomiuri Shimbun).

Author: Roy Chun Lee, CIER

It has been another challenging year for Taiwan filled with both excitement and concern. Two key factors shaped the development of 2019 were the US–China trade war and the upcoming Taiwan presidential election.

Read more…