September 25, 2022

The passing of the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last week brought along a new momentum for Taiwan to secure its sovereignty and thrive further.

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In the face of growing tension over the Taiwan Strait triggered by China’s military threats, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations’ Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 showed once again the bipartisan support for Taiwan’s sovereignty. These security assurances from the U.S., Taiwan’s strongest ally and supporter, will significantly help strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense capability against China’s aggression.

But the impacts of the U.S. Senate’s Act are far beyond military aspects.

China has been trying to subdue Taiwan by tightening the screws on Taiwan in all dimensions: diplomatically, economically, and culturally.  What makes China capable of bullying Taiwan is not hard to understand.  On the one hand, China forces Taiwan to keep a nearly nonexistent low profile in front of the world with the threat of military punishment if Taiwan fails to comply.  In the meanwhile, China blocks the residual of Taiwan’s messages from being received by the world (i.e. no recognition, no co-operation, and even no interaction) using its political leverage as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council with veto power.

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These two tactics have worked well for China at the cost of Taiwan’s sovereignty and survival: Taiwan has been shadowed, if not completely invisible, for the most part of the past 40 years.  This has left Taiwan in a political and geographical position so irrelevant for the majority of the world’s population that most people do not even bother to question China’s jurisdiction claim over Taiwan.  Taiwan’s helplessness and vulnerability inflicted by China’s coercive tactics are vividly depicted in a recent essay by Naina Singh, an Indian expatriate living in Taiwan.

Now the tide has turned in Taiwan’s favor.  The U.S. Senate committee’s act will soon make China’s military supremacy over Taiwan’s diminish.  And more countries are waking up to resist China’s strong-armed hegemonic diplomacy.  These two together will render impotent the tactics that China once employed to erase Taiwan’s existence.

With the risk of China’s military aggression kept in check, it is time for Taiwan to seize the opportunity to present itself to the world and participate more in worldwide affairs.

There are many avenues that Taiwan can take to regain its due position on international stage.  Start with these small yet solid steps that will make the transition more attractive to the outside world, and the journey more enjoyable for Taiwan.

Present Taiwan’s beauty and achievements to the world.  Taiwan has many to showcase, as the outside world knows little about it other than highly demanded computer chips.  To start with, Taiwan’s land and seas, ordinary people’s daily life, gastronomy and culinary, arts and entertainments, etc. are colorful multi-angle introductory subjects easy to present.  The indigenous people and culture, the economic take-off stories, the birth of democratic movements in the darkness of the White Terror era, legendary figures during the authoritarian rule-to-democratic governance transition, etc. are in-depth subjects for more serious minds.

Once the world has a tangible understanding of Taiwan, it will be less accepting of any attempts to destroy it.