Taiwan President to visit Central America

President Tsai Ing-wen is leading a delegation to visit four of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, in that order. The delegation will depart Taipei on 7 January, make fueling stop at Houston on the way there, and return to Taipei on 15 January via San Francisco. EVA Airways is selected to handle the delegation visit this time.

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President Tsai is expected to meet with the head of state of each country, and also attend the inauguration ceremony of President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua on 10 January. She will also visit Taiwanese business in the region and the Secretariat of Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA, Central American Integrated System, in which Taiwan is an observer) in San Salvador. The ROC first established diplomatic relations with Honduras in 1965, with Guatemala in 1960, with Nicaragua in 1990, and with El Salvador in 1961. Other allies in the region include Belize and Panama (Costa Rica broke relations with the ROC in 2007), making Central America the most Taiwan-friendly region in the world.

Do Taiwanese people feel Chinese?

This question, along with “are Taiwanese people Chinese?”, is easy to ask, but takes a while to answer. Taiwan is an country of mostly immigrants. The original inhabitants of Formosa island today only accounts for less than 3% of the population. Similar to the United States, where while everyone is an American, most people can trace their ancestry to somewhere else. Here we use the word Taiwanese as a term for the nationality, i.e. people born and live in Taiwan and/or Taiwanese citizens. Much like trying to explain Taiwan’s political status, answering the question requires one to understand Taiwan’s history of immigration and population composition.

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Major socio-cultural groups of Taiwan, as % of the total population (~23.5 million).

Continue reading “Do Taiwanese people feel Chinese?”

São Tomé and Príncipe breaks diplomatic relations with ROC

Taiwan’s foreign ministry today announced that it has terminated diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, after the west African island nation severed relations earlier today. São Tomé and Príncipe reportedly demanded an incredibly high financial aid package, and decided to switch its recognition to Beijing after being turned down by Taipei.

São Tomé and Príncipe first established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in May 1997, when then-president Miguel Trovoada ended his country’s relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and recognized the ROC (Taiwan) instead. PRC established a trade mission in São Tomé in 2013, and bilateral trade has increased significantly since then. The current prime minister of São Tomé and Príncipe, Patrice Émery Trovoada, is the son of Miguel Trovoada.

Taiwan is now left with 21 diplomatic allies in the world.

The Trump-Tsai Phone Call

By now, most international media around the world have reported and analyzed the meaning behind the phone call between U.S. President-elect and President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan for a full week. Most of the Washington foreign policy establishment had their hands up in the air, criticizing Trump’s move as a major diplomatic blunder, attributed to his lack of understanding of U.S. foreign policy. At the same time, China’s response has tuned up from the mild reaction from Chinese foreign minister to the Communist party papers calling for nuclear arms preparations. The New Yorker suggested that President Tsai probably took a risk making the call.

As Michael J. Cole wrote in his article in The Diplomat:

In the week since the call, the hundreds of articles written about and interviews given on the subject worldwide have largely focused on the mechanics of the call . . . [L]ittle effort was made to analyze why Taiwan’s first female president, in office since May 20 and brought to power in January via democratic instruments, was willing to place a call . . . Even less was said, with a few notable exceptions, about reactions in Taiwan, particularly its 23 million citizens, who far too often in the rare instances of international attention are denied, by omission rather than design, a voice of their own, as if all of them were little more than insentient subjects to the implacable waves of history or the dictates of decisionmakers in Washington and Beijing.

Continue reading “The Trump-Tsai Phone Call”

Join the rally today to support same-sex marriage in Taiwan!

Taiwan could become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. People will be gathering on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei, in front of the Presidential Building, today, Human Rights Day, to demonstrate the support for the bill currently in the parliament, and to show that love is a right for all.

Trump spoke with President of Taiwan

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U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan by phone today, breaking almost 40 years of non-contact between presidents of the two country. The U.S. broke diplomatic relationship with the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1979. Mr. Trump was criticized by State Department officials for not following diplomatic protocols, while the White House quickly reaffirmed the one-China policy. Continue reading “Trump spoke with President of Taiwan”