By Caribbean News Global
TORONTO, Canada – Taiwan continues to strengthen its foreign policy, international relations and national interests globally have in the process ranked third in Asia-Australasia and 11th globally among 167 countries and territories in the Democracy Index 2020 by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, (EIU).
Moreover, Taiwan’s economic freedom score is 78.6, making its economy the 6th freest in the 2021 Index. Its overall score has increased by 1.5 points, primarily because of an improvement in government integrity.
Throughout-out the years the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has strengthened its independence, standing on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, goodwill, respect for treaties, rights and freedoms; and through mutual interests, Taiwan – US, Latin America and the Caribbean, the promotion of international cooperation, public-private partnerships (PPP), international justice, and world peace strengthens democracy.
EIU noted that Taiwan’s elections “demonstrated the resilience of its democracy at a time when electoral processes, parliamentary oversight and civil liberties have been backsliding globally.”
“The rise in Taiwan’s ranking was mainly driven by higher scores in the functioning of government and the political culture,” said Kai-ping Huang, a political science assistant professor at the National Taiwan University and a core member of the university’s Hu Fu Center for East Asia Democratic Studies, referring to two of the five categories evaluated by the index, as reported in Nikkei Asia. The other three categories are electoral process and pluralism, political participation and civil liberties. Taiwan did a better job in containing the pandemic than most other countries including Japan and South Korea. That explains its good score in the functioning of government.”
In so doing, Taiwan has combined the energies of the private sector, local governments, the youth generation, and the business community to jointly promote multi-level and multi-faceted diplomacy, so that Taiwan can become “deepened democracy,” “free choice,” “sustainable creation,” and ” A model of the “New Asian Value” of “peaceful resolution of conflicts”, as noted by MOFA.
Taiwan’s continuance at promoting an active and peaceful foreign policy, with sustainable partnership and broaden substantive relations for peace and stability, was emphasised by vice president Lai Ching-te who received American Institute in Taiwan, Director Sandra Oudkirk on August 13, at the Presidential Office in Taipei City, vowed to “take bilateral ties to new heights.”
Vice president Lai cited deepening friendship and expanding exchanges between the like-minded partners over the past years; the ongoing commitment of the US to the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances, as well as the timely donation of 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan in June; the inaugural session of the Taiwan-US Consultations on Democratic Governance in the Indo-Pacific region in 2019; numerous workshops on key issues under the Taiwan-US Global Cooperation and Training Framework and reciprocal visits by senior officials of Taiwan and the US.
Similar, this includes, US president Joe Biden for recognizing Taiwan as a force for good during international events and stressing the importance of cross-strait peace and stability in several statements jointly issued with like-minded partners.
“In the face of challenges such as climate change, disease prevention and global supply chain security, as well as China’s efforts to undermine international order,” Lai said, “it is imperative for Taiwan, the US and other democracies to respond in a cohesive and unified manner.” Moreover, said vice president Lai Ching-te, Taiwan is willing to engage with China based on the principles of peace, reciprocity, democracy and dialogue, and that this approach represents the will of the people.”
And as per “president Tsai Ing-wen’s cross-strait policy, the government will continue honouring its commitments, extending goodwill and maintaining the status quo. But it will never bow to pressure nor revert to the old path of confrontation.”
Enhancing economic development
Taiwan continues to strive for international participation, making specific contributions to global health, has enhanced Taiwan’s high-quality image in technology, semiconductor manufacturing, democracy ranking, economic growth, and in the international community through its economic and trade cooperation, has succeeded at strengthening global and regional connections, and explore overseas business opportunities.
As such, enhancing economic development and partnerships with the private sector, Taiwan’s foreign aid, Taipei City-headquartered International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) in conjunction with Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI), also based in Taipei are available to emerging designers, entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SME) in Taiwan’s Central and South America allies including Guatemala, Nicaragua and Paraguay, as noted recently.
According to TaiwanICDF Secretary General Timothy T. Y. Hsiang (項恬毅), the organization is striving to establish public-private partnerships (PPP) in the pursuit of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, which aims to promote cooperation on a global scale. Integrating government and business sector resources helps maximize the effectiveness of related initiatives and boosts partner nations’ ability to tackle issues surrounding the economy, education, health and poverty.
TaiwanICDF has also cultivated a strategic partnership with Impact Hub Taipei (IHT), which—like the 100 other affiliated hubs spread across the globe—is a home for activists, artists, business owners, creatives and professionals interested in driving positive environmental and social change. According to co-founder Rich Chen (陳昱築), IHT has been teaming up with enterprises, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to advance the SDGs via community engagement and entrepreneurial solutions since commencing operations in 2015. Members seek to establish a unique ecosystem of social innovation in Taiwan to produce measurable, wide-scale impacts.
By establishing connections with several hospitals, for instance, the organization has expanded its overseas medical and public health programs from short-term mobile missions to three- to five-year projects centered on capacity building and facility upgrades.
One such project targeted prevention and management of diabetes in Caribbean ally St Vincent and the Grenadines in cooperation with Mackay Memorial Hospital (MMH) in Taipei City. The three-year initiative that ended this past January was designed to strengthen integrated diabetes care at local health care facilities while improving individual health management of community members with the condition. According to Dr Hsu Yung-wei (徐永偉), director of MMH’s International Medical Service Center, around 10 percent of the Caribbean nation’s population have diabetes, and an alarming 40 percent have prediabetes. Adopting prevention, early detection and treatment strategies is thus essential to saving lives and reducing medical spending.
In contrast to the free medical services that MMH has previously offered to partner nations through mobile clinics, Hsu said the project emphasized technology transfer to produce longer-term effects. Training workshops held locally and in Taiwan helped health workers incorporate the latest diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation methods into their clinical practice, with a total of 19 health professionals including doctors, nurses and nutritionists from St Vincent and the Grenadines traveling to MMH to receive career development.
“PPPs represent a forward-looking, practical approach to managing international development projects,” Hsiang said. “We hope to empower everyone to take a proactive role in collective efforts to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”
Taiwan programs fostering exchanges
Interest in the cultures of Southeast Asia has grown rapidly in Taiwan over the past decade, helped by government programs fostering exchanges. The Ministry of Culture (MOC) first established the Southeast Asia Advisory Committee (SAAC) in 2015. The following year saw the promulgation of the flagship New Southbound Policy (NSP), a national development strategy that seeks to bolster ties between Taiwan and the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian nations, Australia and New Zealand.
In 2020 the SAAC started to sponsor suggestions made by individual members, which led to the launch of the Taiwan-NSP Cultural Exchange Programs (TNCEP) initiative. A total of 11 different projects including Chung’s book proposal have subsequently been approved by the MOC, 10 of which focus on Southeast Asia while the remaining one aims to promote dialogues between indigenous peoples in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Taiwan.
“Taiwan has strong economic and trade relations with Southeast Asia, plus a lot of migrant workers who hail from the region. But the average person on the street doesn’t know a lot about these countries,” said Kuei Yehchin (桂業勤), director-general of the MOC’s Department of Cultural Exchange. “We’re hoping to change that.”
Taiwan’s representative offices helped significantly increase foreign trade and investment. These achievements encompass the 11th Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council meeting in June, which paved the way for the two sides’ future cooperation in areas spanning electric vehicles, vaccine production and semiconductors, the MOFA reported, citing representative offices in the US also played a pivotal role in the passage of resolutions in support of a Taiwan-US Bilateral Trade Agreement in 14 state legislatures.
Equally impressive is representative offices’ work to create more collaboration opportunities for Taiwan’s health and pharmaceutical industries. Taiwan’s strong medical sector additionally helped bolster the global community’s response to COVID-19, the MOFA said, praising endeavours by embassies to connect ally governments with leading local companies, MOFA reported in assisting the Kingdom of Eswatini to establish surgical mask factories, facilitating purchases of locally manufactured medical products by Guatemala and Honduras and donating disease prevention materials to Marshall Islands and St Vincent and Grenadines.
Strengthen Taiwan’s economic and trade ties
The government of Taiwan and MOFA through active participation and policy formulation continues to transform and upgrade Taiwan’s economy, working with allies and like-minded partners across a wide spectrum of fields including biomedicine, electric vehicles and renewable energy to strengthen the country’s economic and trade ties.
Taiwan’s participation in FIME, Americas’ leading medical trade fair and exhibition, gathering thousands of medical device and equipment manufacturers and suppliers, dealers, distributors and other healthcare professionals from across the United States, Central, South America and the Caribbean, adds to Taiwan’s profile, its medical sector and “Taiwan Can Help” on the global stage.