Why Taiwan Matters To The World

Posted on Tue 09/21/2021 by

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By Anthony B Kim ~

In his recent commentary titled “Reimagining A More Resilient UN System With Taiwan In It,” Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu presented a case for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the global body.

Wu said, “Taiwan’s effective response to the pandemic, its rapid capacity expansion to meet global supply chain demand, and its substantive assistance toward partner countries around the world all stand as compelling reasons for Taiwan to play a constructive role in the [United Nations] system.”

Taiwan and the U.S. have become strong partners that share powerful commitments to the values of democracy, the rule of law, and free markets. Pictured: Taipei 101 is the 11th-tallest building in the world and the tallest in Taiwan. (Photo: kecl/Getty Images)

Indeed, from a broader foreign policy perspective, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shows why the United States should be in the business of preserving and advancing freedom, civil society, and other democratic values in close, pragmatic relationships with like-minded and willing partners, such as Taiwan.

Taiwan’s dynamic free market democracy has successfully demonstrated its capacity to deal with the coronavirus while avoiding the kind of massive economic shutdowns being experienced throughout the United States and Europe.

History reminds us that allies and partners are critical to defeating an enemy and winning any global fight. In fact, the value of alliances is most evident in times of hardship. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic surely qualifies and highlights the tremendous value of forward-looking alliances.

It is notable that Washington’s partnership with Taipei is based on shared values, people-to-people ties, and leading-edge business cooperation led by global companies in both countries.

U.S.-Taiwan relations, which have been codified in the Taiwan Relations Act, are really about a partnership for freedom.

China has done everything in its power to constrain Taiwan and limit its participation in international organizations and the world community, but the country has nonetheless compiled an impressive record as a constructive member of the world community.

Unambiguously, Taiwan stands strongly for high degrees of both political and economic freedom.

In its latest edition of “Freedom in the World,” an annual report that assesses political rights and civil liberties around the globe, Freedom House classifies Taiwan as a “free” nation. The report notes, “Taiwan’s vibrant and competitive democratic system has allowed three peaceful transfers of power between rival parties since 2000, and protections for civil liberties are generally robust.”

Taiwan’s free market economic development is equally important and remarkable. Taiwan is the sixth-freest economy in the world, just behind Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, and Ireland, according to The Heritage Foundation 2021 Index of Economic Freedom. (The Daily Signal is the multimedia news outlet of The Heritage Foundation)

Inching ever closer to the ranks of the economically “free,” Taiwan has achieved its best ranking in the 27-year history of the index.

In many profound and enduring ways, Taiwan and the U.S. have become strong partners sharing powerful commitments to the values of democracy, the rule of law, and free markets. The relationship today is a fruitful partnership that is more constructive and forward-looking than ever.

More can be accomplished, however, particularly by institutionalizing greater trade and investment framework through a free trade partnership agreement.

In summing up his commentary, Wu offered a timely reminder of why Taiwan matters by pinpointing that “Taiwan is a force for good, [and now] is the time to bring Taiwan to the table and let Taiwan help.”

That couldn’t be agreed any stronger.

Anthony B. Kim researches international economic issues at The Heritage Foundation . http://www.heritage.org/  with a strong focus on economic freedom. Kim is the research manager of the Index of Economic Freedom, the flagship product of the Heritage Foundation in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.

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