Why the EU should pay more attention to Taiwan
As Sino-American rivalry starts to shift from a trade war to full-fledged competition for technological leadership and geopolitical hegemony, tensions are manifesting themselves in various ways. Taiwan is increasingly affected by this rivalry as it prepares for its presidential and legislative elections on 11 January. With the candidates being portrayed as either Beijing- or Washington friendly, the island seems to be another diplomatic battleground between the two global powers.
"Persuaded by China’s (financial) promises and opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative, seven countries have recently switched their diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing."
The EU’s relationship with Taiwan is intensifying at the same time. The EU’s interest is mainly informed by Taiwan’s liberal democratic credentials and the close (high tech) economic ties both partners have. This alert argues that elections are important to watch as it will likely impact the EU-Taiwan relationship. In its way forward, the EU might opt for strong support of meaningful participation of Taiwan in international organisations, albeit in an observatory role. Additionally, EU can focus on a strategic economic partnership with Taiwan in the long run, established through existing economic ties and underpinned by the norms and values shared by the EU and Taiwan.