Slides with audio by Alex Weng
My presentation discusses COVID-19’s repercussions on Taiwan’s relationship with other countries. Taiwan is a small country that has been independent for only over 109 years but it has emerged as a leader in microchip technology. Historically, Taiwan is also an important transportation hub in Asia. Despite its successes, Taiwan’s sovereignty has been rejected by major international organizations globally. Taiwan left the United Nations in 2015 following pressures exerted by China. Why does China keep bullying Taiwan on their international positions? Why does China keep claiming that Taiwan is part of their country when Taiwan already declared its own independence? Honestly, there hasn’t been an actual reason that I found. Before Taiwan formed as a country. We have been ruled by Holland, Spain and Japan for a short period of time. China had two major political parties by that time. After WWII, one of the parties escaped to Taiwan and never went back. This might be the reason why both sides claim that they are united. The United Nations does not recognize Taiwan’s independence and it called for Taiwan’s adoption of the Republic of China as its country name. Such pressures have pushed Taiwan in a delicate political position in relation to China. Taiwan and China cross each other’s territorial waters and send jets to each other’s airspace The Chinese and Taiwanese discriminate against each other when entering each other’s borders.
A question related to Taiwan that is pertinent to the COVID-19 pandemic is Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO). There are 130 applications to the World Health Organization out of 180 that have been rejected in the past few years. Taiwan has been requesting to join the WHO since 2016, but China has kept using the same excuse for Taiwan’s exclusion — that Taiwan is part of China. When COVID-19 exploded, Taiwan was able to implement early border controls. Incoming travel was quickly banned . As of November 14, 2020, Taiwan only recorded 597 cases in a population of over 23 million (https://covid-19.nchc.org.tw/dt_005-covidTable_taiwan.php). Meanwhile, over 60 countries have said that China’s “bullying tactics” has “undermined Taiwan’s ability to contribute to international response efforts.” Taiwan’s emergency response can be considered as a role model to the World Health Assembly meetings. In response, China stated, “There is only one China in the world. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.” (Saira, Asher. 2020. “Coronavirus: Why Taiwan won;t have a seat at the virus talks” BBC NEWS, May 16 2020). In conclusion, the tension between Taiwan and China is unavoidable even during emergencies and pandemics. On the bright side, a lot of countries have been supporting Taiwan in this pandemic. New Zealand supported Taiwan’s attendance in the WHO meeting. Japan has become more friendly and started major business deals on medical items. EA, which is known as Europe Alliance, has shown their interest in Taiwan after our outstanding response to the pandemic caused by coronavirus, and has expressed willingness to use their power to trade medical support and vaccine in the future.
Asher, Saira. “Coronavirus: Why Taiwan Won’t Have a Seat at the Virus Talks.” BBC News, BBC, 16 May 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-52661181.
“What’s behind the China-Taiwan Divide?” BBC News, BBC, 28 Sept. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34729538.
Paulina Uznańska, et al. “As EU-China Relations Sour, Will Taiwan Find an Opening?” Chinaobservers, 15 Oct. 2020, chinaobservers.eu/as-eu-china-relations-turn-sour-will-taiwan-get-an-opening/.