En 1979 sucedieron muchas cosas con consecuencias duraderas. Dos de ellas fueron la invasión soviética a Afganistán y la Revolución Islámica en Irán, que llevó al poder a un régimen decidido a recrear no sólo la sociedad iraní sino también gran parte de Medio Oriente.

Igual de importante fue la decisión de Estados Unidos de reconocer, a partir del 1 de enero de ese año, al gobierno de la República Popular China –administrada entonces como hoy por el Partido Comunista– como único gobierno legal de China. El cambio sentó las bases para un aumento del comercio y la inversión entre la mayor economía del mundo y su país más poblado, y permitió una mejor cooperación contra la Unión Soviética.…  Seguir leyendo »

La contienda geopolítica que se despliega entre China y Estados Unidos ha sido descrita por muchos como una nueva guerra fría. Si alguna vez se convierte en una caliente, el punto de ignición bien podría ser Taiwán, en gran parte debido a la política chica con respecto a la isla.

El gobierno de China suspendió el contacto diplomático con Taiwán en junio del año 2016, debido a que el Partido Progresista Democrático (PPD) de Taiwán, un partido pro-independencia que acababa de regresar al poder, se negó a reconocer el llamado Consenso de 1992, la base política del principio de Una China.…  Seguir leyendo »

A voter reacts during the initial results of Taiwan’s midterm elections in Kaohsiung on Nov. 24. The local elections are crucial to whether Tsai can win a second term in the 2020 presidential election. (Peter Lin/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Taiwan’s midterm elections got a surprising amount of international coverage this November. President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered heavy losses against the opposition Kuomintang Party (KMT), winning only six of 22 districts — and losing nine districts it previously held. Tsai resigned as DPP chairperson and announced a “major reshuffle” for the party.

Foreign news outlets were quick to suggest the defeat of the traditionally pro-independence DPP at the hands of the more pro-China KMT mirrored the slide in U.S.-China relations. The Washington Post headline, for example, read, “Taiwanese president quits party leadership after pro-China rivals claim ballot landslide,” while a New York Times opinion piece asked “Will Taiwan Be the First Domino to Fall to China?”

While many in the international media peg the DPP’s loss to Taiwan’s changing attitudes toward China, the reality is more complex.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of the opposition party Kuomintang in Taipei, Taiwan, on Sunday. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party suffered a setback in local elections on Saturday.CreditCreditAnn Wang/Reuters

Democratic countries that worry about the Chinese government’s attempts to influence their politics should study its success in this weekend’s elections in Taiwan.

The many races — for some 11,000 positions in villages, towns and counties across the island — were something like midterms and widely seen as a prelude to the next presidential election, scheduled for early 2020. By my count, candidates friendly to Beijing will now occupy 16 of the 24 top posts that were contested, up from the current six.

China has denied any meddling. But in the last several years, it has intensified its efforts to destabilize the Taiwanese government led by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (D.P.P.).…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, left, waits to vote in Taipei on Saturday. (David Chang/EPA-EFE)

The people of Taiwan have been taking part Saturday in local elections — an event that people across the Taiwan Strait in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) can only dream of. The vote is taking place amid widespread worries about interference from Beijing, which appears to have organized a full-scale disinformation campaign to undermine the current government of President Tsai Ing-wen and support political forces who favor closer ties with the mainland.

China has been steadily increasing its pressure on Taiwan in recent years, picking off several of its formal diplomatic allies and continuing to build up its military capacity to force or intimidate Taiwan to merge.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese voters will determine the outcome of 10 referendums Nov. 24 as well as local elections. This will not be the first time this autonomous island has held referendums, although none succeeded in the past.

This time, the story could be different. A recent change reduced the threshold requirement from 50 percent of eligible voters to just 25 percent in favor of the question — and a simple majority will suffice. And the new law decreased the referendum voting age from 20 to 18. This lower threshold suggests that it might be easier to pass referendums, impacting Taiwan’s domestic politics as well as its international relations.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Taiwan, same-sex marriage advocates count signatures for their proposed ballot measure on marriage equality. September 4, 2018. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Compared to the established democracies of the West, Taiwan’s is still in its infancy. It did not become a full democracy until 1992, and it only held its first direct presidential election in 1996. And yet, Taiwan’s young democracy has made rapid progress, through social movements, representative politics, the judicial process and now, through direct democracy. In the beginning of this year, it rolled out one of the most citizen-friendly systems for ballot initiatives and referendums, giving its citizens more say than ever in the country’s future.

Taiwan’s road to direct democracy was not an easy one, and it entailed some hard-won lessons.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taipei, capitale de Taïwan. © Ashley Pon / AFP PHOTO

Taïwan, «la baie en terrasses», modelé par des hommes venus de Chine continentale; Formose, «la luxuriante», comme l’appelèrent les marins portugais au XVIe siècle; «notre terre» où vécurent des peuplades autochtones qui ont repoussé tout envahisseur durant des milliers d’années; Taïwan, «République nationale de Chine» qui ne demande aujourd’hui qu’à prolonger son expérience de démocratie libre et prospère; Taïwan, en quarante ans j’ai appris à connaître, à aimer et à respecter ce pays merveilleux.

Décernant un appel de Jésus, en 1976, Monseigneur le prévôt Angelin Lovey me permit d’aller épauler mes confrères qui œuvraient à Taïwan depuis vingt-quatre ans. En 1976, je ne connaissais que très peu de choses sur Taïwan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese military maneuver during the Helicopter Landing Training and All-Out Defense Demonstration in Taipei, Taiwan on Dec. 14. (Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Chinese air force fighters have begun escorting bombers around Taiwan in “encirclement drills” and spokesmen for the Communist government have warned Taiwan to get used to it . On Wednesday, China’s president Xi Jinping, dressed in military fatigues, convened a military mobilization meeting— the first ever for the entire Chinese armed forces and commanded China’s military to become “battle ready.” Chinese officials are threatening that relations with Taiwan will turn “grave” because Taiwan’s government refuses to acknowledge that the island is part of China. A leading Chinese analyst predicts that China has accelerated its timetable to 2020 for taking over the island by military means.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’ONU a été créée pour les êtres humains, mais l’universalité des droits de l’homme proclamée par les Nations unies ne s’applique pas à Taïwan et à ses 23 millions d’habitants. Ce mauvais traitement date de 1971, date à laquelle notre gouvernement a perdu sa représentation dans cette organisation internationale. Et au cours des décennies qui ont suivi, Taïwan a dû faire face à l’isolement et à un certain nombre de défis à cause de sa situation internationale. Pourtant, cette adversité nous a stimulés, et nous n’avons jamais abandonné.

Au cours de mes voyages à travers le monde pour remplir ma tâche de ministre des Affaires étrangères, j’ai toujours été émerveillé de constater à quel point l’expérience de Taïwan dans des domaines comme la protection de l’environnement, la santé publique et la médecine, l’agriculture, l’éducation et les technologies de l’information et de la communication avait aidé nos partenaires à se développer et à croître.…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s aggression in the Asia-Pacific region has been met with little tangible response from the United States and other countries. China’s neighbors have acquiesced to Beijing’s claims to the airspace above the East China Sea and have stood by as it embarked on a long-term project to militarize the South China Sea. The security balance in Asia is shifting under the weight of a resurgent China.

Beijing’s belligerence presents an existential threat to Taiwan, a country that Chinese leaders have long vowed to take by force if they deem necessary. For years, the political establishment in Taipei has delegated responsibility for responding to Beijing to the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

Alors qu’elle participe depuis 2009 à l’Assemblée mondiale de la santé (AMS) en tant qu’observateur, cette année, Taïwan sera exclue de cet organe décisionnel de l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS) qui se tiendra à Genève du 22 au 31 mai, pour la simple raison que l’OMS ne lui a pas envoyé d’invitation.

Mais est-ce bien raisonnable? C’est effectivement la question qu’on peut se poser lorsqu’on examine ce que Taïwan est à même d’apporter à la communauté internationale dans le domaine de la santé publique.

Rappelons que Taïwan est passé en moins de cinquante ans du statut de pays en développement particulièrement touché par les maladies infectieuses à celui de pays ayant éradiqué le paludisme ou encore la poliomyélite et possédant aujourd’hui un système de santé dont la qualité et l’accès n’ont rien à envier à la France ou à la Suisse.…  Seguir leyendo »

A year has passed since the election of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), an independence leaning party in Taiwan. At the time, these results were met with strong objections from the Chinese government because of the possible impact on the sovereignty of the island state. In Western media, coverage of the election strongly emphasised the importance of this issue in the decision to elect the DPP. Despite all of this, a year has gone by without any concrete movement towards independence.

Although a strong majority of Taiwanese agree that the country should be independent, there are varying responses when it comes to the question of whether or not this will really occur in the short or even long term.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Dec. 2, President-elect Donald Trump startled observers when, departing from protocol, he took a phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Trump has suggested that under his administration, the United States may break from the pointedly ambiguous “One China policy.”

According to that policy, the U.S. government takes no official stance on the relationship between Taiwan and China. In the U.S.-China Normalization Communiqué of 1978, the backbone of the policy, the United States “acknowledges” that there is one China and that Taiwan is part of China. But the United States has never officially “recognized” Taiwan as part of China. This strategic ambiguity leaves the United States room for a de facto relationship with Taiwan and leaves the Taiwan-China relation an open-ended question.…  Seguir leyendo »

For far too long, the United States has stood idly by and allowed the People’s Republic of China to conduct what is charitably described as a massive power grab throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Looking back just a few years ago, such a statement seemed unimaginable. Under the leadership of President Obama, while America has talked about pivoting to Asia with robust rhetoric, we have offered the world’s most economically dynamic and strategically important part of the globe some impressive photo-ops, but little substance to ensure the status-quo — which has allowed Asia to enjoy decades of peace, stability and unparalleled economic opportunity — would be preserved.…  Seguir leyendo »

The atmosphere here is almost jubilant. The phone call last weekend from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan to President-elect Donald J. Trump — the first contact between a Taiwanese president and an American president or president-elect since at least 1979 — has received rare bipartisan support here on this self-governing island off southern China. It was, many agree, a great thing for the country.

Still, in an interview on Tuesday, her first since the call, Ms. Tsai said that the implications of the direct contact with Mr. Trump were limited. “I have to stress that one phone call does not mean a policy shift,” she told me and a small group of other American journalists who traveled here on a reporting trip organized by the East-West Center, a Hawaii-based nonprofit organization.…  Seguir leyendo »

Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has elicited a predictable response from the commentariat: shock and dismay because Trump allegedly upset the apple cart of a bipartisan consensus on how to manage China and its claims on the island of Taiwan. Trump has been accused of undoing 40 years of delicate diplomacy and making a dangerously destabilizing move.

This criticism has elements of truth, but the overblown nature of the reaction to Trump’s call also is unhelpful. Together, Trump’s shenanigans and the hyperventilation by the media could end up adding more unwarranted pressure on democratic Taiwan and could contribute to the continued narrowing of its international space.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Friday, Tsai Ing-wen will be sworn in as president of Taiwan, having won by 25 percentage points over her nearest competitor. In addition to being the first woman to hold the office, Tsai will be the fourth president selected by popular vote. Her inauguration will also mark the third time the presidency has been passed from one party to another. By virtually any reasonable standard, the Republic of China has become a normal democratic country. Yet its relationship with the United States is anything but normal.

Indeed, if you were to try to explain Washington’s Taiwan policy to someone from another planet, you surely would get a puzzled look.…  Seguir leyendo »

La nueva presidenta de Taiwán, Tsai Ing-wen, tiene ante sí una agenda repleta de desafíos. Algunos de ellos guardan lógica relación con la marcha de una economía muy dependiente de las exportaciones en un contexto internacional adverso, con las dificultades para sumarse a los procesos de integración económica regional en curso, las exigencias de la justicia social, etcétera, pero el mayor de ellos, sin duda, es la construcción de un nuevo marco de entendimiento a través del Estrecho, con China continental.

Desde su victoria, en enero, Pekín, por activa y por pasiva, le ha enviado múltiples e insistentes mensajes a propósito de la necesidad de mantener la base política común construida en los últimos años y que ha permitido, durante los dos mandatos del Kuomintang (KMT), estabilizar las relaciones y multiplicar los intercambios.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tsai Ing-wen won a crushing election victory on Jan. 16 by getting surrogates to fire up the base. Credit Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

On a drizzly Tuesday night earlier this month, Chen Li-hung, a celebrity news television host, strode onto a stage in Changhua, in central Taiwan, and launched into a passionate speech, feeding red meat to his Democratic Progressive Party’s assembled faithful.

“My parents are from mainland China,” he told the crowd. “Yet I was born in Taiwan. I grew up in Taiwan. So why did the teachers in school tell me I am still Chinese? Since my youth, I have felt that I am not Chinese, I am Taiwanese!” He ripped into the incumbent president, Ma Ying-jeou. “Eight years ago, President Ma won himself a pretty nice electoral victory, but he is walking us closer and closer to China, and has Taiwan gotten any better?”

For hours, speakers like Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »