Panama breaks diplomatic relations with ROC

Taiwan’s foreign ministry today announced that it has terminated diplomatic relations with the Republic of Panama, after the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced the decision to recognize the People’s Republic of China in a televised address. Panamanian Vice President and foreign minister and Chinese foreign minister formalized the relationship in Beijing shortly before the address.

 

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Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage

After hearing oral arguments on the case concerning same-sex marriage brought by activist Chi Chia-wei and Taipei City Government two months ago, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court today ruled that the marriage chapter of the Civil Code, which states marriage as between “the male and the female parties,” to be unconstitutional. (Read the Court’s English press release.)

In its Interpretation 748, the Court contends that Part IV Chapter II of the Civil Code on marriage violates ROC Constitution Article 22, protecting people the freedom of marriage, and Article 7, stating all ROC citizens to be equal. The Court rules that relevant authorities must amend or enact laws within two years to protect the right of marriage for same-sex couples. However, the Court did not specify whether the parliament should amend the Civil Code, add additional articles allowing same-sex marriage, or to create a separate law allowing same-sex civil union. Continue reading “Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage”

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.

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.

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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”

Tsai Ing-wen Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal

After four+ months in office, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said that she hopes “mainland China does not misinterpret or misjudge the current situation, or think that it can make Taiwanese bow to pressure,” in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. While many in Taiwan are not satisfied with how her government has been trying to please everyone and going back and forth on some of its pre-election promises, I think her China policies are relatively neutral, if not conservative. China, naturally, believes the contrary. Read the full interview in Chinese and English.

Many people place the blame of Taiwan’s decreased participation in international organizations on her refusal to recognize the One China principle like the previous Ma Ying-jeou government. But I think it is a good thing for Taiwanese people to be reminded that Taiwan is not the troublemaker here, and we shouldn’t be backing down from insisting our independence in exchange of participating in international organizations, knowing full well that China could decide to stop being friendly (the way it is now) and prevent Taiwan from being seen or heard around the world.