Vol. 2, Issue 27
The Global Taiwan Brief Volume 2, Issue 27
PRC Steps Up United Front Campaign Against Taiwan with 9th Straits Forum
By: Russell Hsiao
Overdue Arms Sales to Taiwan: End of “Packages?”
By: Shirley Kan
Crafting Taiwan Policy in the Trump Era
By: Dennis Wilder
Public Diplomacy with Taiwanese Characteristics: Tsai’s Inclusive Cultural Push for More Exchanges
By: Sebra Yen
PRC Steps Up United Front Campaign Against Taiwan with 9th Straits Forum
Russell Hsiao is the executive director of the Global Taiwan Institute and the editor-in-chief of the Global Taiwan Brief.
While the inaugural US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue was taking place in Washington DC, private citizens from Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) gathered in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian for the 9th Straits Forum (海峽論壇) from June 17-23. Beginning in 2009, the annual forum has attracted the largest congregation of private citizens at a single event from both sides of the Taiwan Strait to promote cross-Strait dialogue, and this year was no exception. The 9th Straits Forum was reportedly attended by 8,000 participants from Taiwan.
This year’s Forum heralded the 30th anniversary of cross-Strait exchanges that began after Taiwan lifted martial law in 1987. Interestingly, the end of martial law not only ended restrictions on cross-Strait interactions but also led to the formal establishment of the now ruling party. The Straits Forum, which bills itself as non-political, was attended by senior leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In his opening remarks, the chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲)—a member of the all-powerful CCP Politburo Standing Committee and deputy head of the CCP Central Leading Group for Taiwan—reportedly stated that “the core of the 1992 Consensus is the one-China policy, which states that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China. It explicitly sets out that the fundamental nature of relations across the Taiwan Strait is not state-to-state relationship.”
The 9th Straits Forum incorporated a general assembly and separate forums on youth, grassroots, as well as economic and trade exchanges. In total, the forum featured 21 topics, and 40 activities covering cooperation in areas such as culture, education, medical care, law, industry, and commerce, among others. Continuing the focus of last year’s conference—which was the first Forum held during the Tsai administration—this year also highlighted the promotion of youth exchanges. The PRC State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) said at the events that young people shoulder the future of the country, nation, and cross-Strait relations. “We are one family, and cross-Strait is our shared home,” Zhang stated.
Notable participants from Taiwan in this year’s forum included the outgoing chairwoman of Taiwan’s Nationalist Party Hung Shiu-Chu (洪秀柱), Alliance for the Reunification of China (中國統一聯盟) Chairman Chi Jia-lin (戚嘉林), and Council of Taiwan Community Development Associations (臺灣社區發展協會聯合總會) Secretary General Lin Wu-Hsiung (林武雄), among others. Echoing the remarks of the CPPCC chairman, Hung highlighted how the KMT had passed a peace platform in the Party’s national assembly last year. In its platform, the KMT declared its firm opposition to “Taiwan independence” and called for deepening the so-called “1992 consensus,” which according to Hung, is intended to resolve the outstanding issues left unanswered in 1992 and reach a fundamental consensus on a common political definition of cross-Strait relations.
The Straits Forum is one of multiple cross-Strait initiatives launched after 2008, when exchanges between the two sides began to expand in number and accelerate in intensity. Indeed, Beijing began a concerted push to deepen cross-Strait interaction between various segments of Taiwan’s society during the former Ma Ying-jeou administration. Another high-level “non-governmental” exchange that began around 2008 is the Cross-Strait CEO Summit (兩岸企業家峰會). In 2009, the PRC also started to establish so-called “bases” (基地) for cross-Strait exchanges at locations throughout China that have historical and cultural significance for the purpose of promoting Chinese cultural bonds between the people of Taiwan and China (中華文化相互聯繫). According to one study, the number of such cross-Strait exchange bases (兩岸交流基地) totaled 37 in 2015
The 9th Straits Forum is the second one to be held since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president. Despite Beijing’s decision to freeze government-to-government contact between the two sides since June 2016, Beijing has continued to support these forums—ostensibly as part of its united front campaign against Taiwan’s ruling government.
In light of these trends, two recent polls warrant closer consideration. According to a recent Taiwan Thinktank (台灣智庫) poll conducted in late June, which covered—among other topics—public attitudes toward Tsai’s cross-Strait policies, 34.3 percent of youths between the ages 20 to 29 prefer to maintain the current “status quo,” whereas 43.3 percent of think Taiwan should “go its own path” (走台灣自己的路)—which implies a radical change in course—whereas those between 30 and 39 are 29.8 percent and 46 percent, respectively. In another survey released on June 26 , the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (台灣民意教育基金會) revealed that public discontent with Tsai’s performance in handling relations with China had risen to the highest level recorded at 58.2 percent.
The Tsai administration faces mounting political pressure on multiple fronts. Although President Tsai continues to commit her administration to maintaining the “status quo” in cross-Strait relations, Beijing has refused to reciprocate her government’s current approach. At the same time, support for maintaining the “status quo” in the Taiwan public may be waning, as Beijing tightens its squeeze on Taiwan’s diplomatic and international space. While Beijing appears to be reverting back to its strategy of trying to undermine the ruling government like it did in 2005, the effects may be counter-productive as people increasingly associate the “status quo” with Beijing’s aggressive diplomatic offensive against Taiwan.
The main point: Despite Beijing’s decision to freeze government-to-government contact between the two sides since June 2016, Beijing has continued to support these forums—ostensibly as part of its united front campaign against Taiwan’s ruling government.
Overdue Arms Sales to Taiwan: End of “Packages?”
Shirley Kan is a retired Specialist in Asian Security Affairs who worked for Congress at the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) and a member of GTI’s Advisory Board.
Supporters of a strong US stance on policy concerning Taiwan were relieved on June 29, when the White House directed the State Department to submit overdue formal notifications to Congress for several proposed arms sales to Taiwan. The State Department insisted that the sales are consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) with no change to the US “one-China” policy. Yet, changes in the arms sales process have raised concern about the credibility of US policy and leadership. US and Taiwan officials, military officers, and industry executives waited last year and the first half of this year for the pending notifications. They are almost the same as those leftover from last year. While apparently continuing the practice of waiting to notify multiple sales on a single day, the Trump Administration actually is advancing programs that the Obama Administration failed to notify to Congress. Arms sales are not a so-called “package.” What are some issues, implications, and next steps?
The State Department did not brief or notify Congress of the pending arms sales until late June. On June 15, Chairman Ed Royce of the House Foreign Affairs Committee expressed concern about successive administrations’ delays in arms sales notifications for Taiwan, which have needlessly dragged out the arms sales process. He hoped to see regular notifications in the future. On June 23, Senators Benjamin Cardin, John McCain, James Inhofe, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Edward Markey, John Cornyn, and Ron Wyden sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump, urging his administration to send pending notifications immediately. They also alluded to the lack of consultations with Congress on arms sales to Taiwan, concluding that they “look forward” to discussions on Taiwan’s defense needs.
Seven proposed programs for government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) involve defense articles or defense services for High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM), Standard Missiles-2, MK-48 Heavyweight Torpedoes, MK-54 Lightweight Torpedoes, air-to-ground Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOW), naval electronic warfare systems, and support for the early warning Surveillance Radar Program (SRP) that tracks missiles from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). These seven FMS have a total value of $1.363 billion. The State Department’s misleading total of $1.42 billion apparently adds a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) for a vertical launching system (VLS). These programs cover mainly munitions without major platforms, such as helicopters, assault amphibious vehicles, or fighters. The timing was crucial to avoid further delay given Congressional recesses in July and August. Under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), Congress has 30 days of review after the formal notifications before the programs may proceed.
Implications: Relief and Anxiety
The notifications brought relief because of uncertainty over the Trump Administration’s policies. In Taipei, the Office of President Tsai Ing-wen welcomed the notifications and thanked the United States for its continuing commitment to the TRA and the Six Assurances. Taiwan affirmed two rationales for why arms sales serve international security interests. The weapons strengthen Taipei’s defense and increase its ability and confidence to maintain the status quo of peace and stability, including through talks with Beijing’s authorities.
The notifications also show continued commitment to the decades-old policies on defense and dialogue. First, the administration is basing its policy on the premise that arms sales bolster stability in the Taiwan Strait. There have been lingering questions about US policies toward Taiwan. For example, after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Beijing in March, the State Department simply stated that the US stance on Taiwan is our “one-China” policy and failed to cite the TRA. With Trump’s top priority of seeking the PRC’s cooperation to stop the DPRK’s threats, Senator John McCain warned in April that the administration should seek China’s cooperation but not at the expense of other vital interests.
Second, the notifications reconcile rhetoric and action in the administration’s professed adherence to the TRA. After NSC senior advisor Matt Pottinger stressed in April that the President is committed to the TRA, a gap remained between declarations on Taiwan’s defense and the delay on arms sales. In April, the Commander of the US Pacific Command (USPACOM), Admiral Harry Harris, testified to Congress that, “as the military spending and capability of the PRC grow every year, the ability of Taiwan to defend itself decreases.” Harris stressed that “continued, regular arms sales and training for Taiwan’s military” are important parts of US policy. On June 3 in Singapore, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reaffirmed the Pentagon’s commitment to work with Taiwan’s democratic government on defense articles as consistent with the TRA. Days later, the Defense Department issued its annual report to Congress on China’s military power. The report warned that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to prepare for contingencies to deter and, if necessary, compel Taiwan to abandon moves toward independence, or to unify Taiwan with the mainland by force, while deterring, delaying, or denying any third-party intervention on Taiwan’s behalf.
Arms sales also add anxiety about China’s potential unhelpful reactions, including possibly raising cross-Strait tension and politicizing US-China military-to-military (mil-to-mil) contacts. Unlike President Obama who would not notify Congress of any major FMS to Taiwan in his first year in office in 2009, President Trump signaled that he accepts friction in a strong US posture in working with China. Beijing responded to the new notifications by stating that it firmly opposes the arms sales but did not name actions against Taipei or Washington. The overall trend in US-China mil-to-mil contact has increased to include even the PLA’s participation at the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise. The PLA could postpone some mil-to-mil meetings, but it seeks to learn from US and allied militaries at the next RIMPAC in Hawaii. China already limits cooperation on North Korea.
Repairing the Process and Other Next Steps
The notifications represent the first of several potential steps for the Executive and Legislative Branches. A priority is to repair the arms sales process with congressional oversight of adherence to the AECA and TRA. Members of Congress, including Chairman Royce and the above-named Senators, have put the administration on notice that it needs to end the distorted practice of waiting to submit notifications as a “package” or “bundle.” Every year from 1990 to 2005, successive Presidents notified Congress of major FMS to Taiwan. However, in 2006, there was no such notification from President Bush. In 2008, he “froze” arms sales until October 3. As noted above, Congress received no such notification in 2009. There was a gap of four years between notifications in 2011 and 2015. President Obama withheld notifications last year. See footnote for annual values.
An issue is whether the Administration adheres to the TRA. Inter alia, it stipulates that the president and Congress shall determine arms sales “based solely upon their judgment of the needs of Taiwan.” The test will be when the administration has the next program ready to restore regular, routine notifications to Congress.
The broken process with the distortion of “packages” has delayed FMS as well as DCS that were customarily notified without publicity. After notifications of FMS in January 2010, the Obama Administration held up three DCS until August 2010. Likewise, there was one DCS program among the notifications on June 29, 2017.
A credible process also would restore full consultation with Congress, not just a couple days of informal review before the latest formal notifications. The process calls for 20 days of informal notification then 30 days of formal review.
In addition to ending the distortion of “packages,” the administration looks to replace Obama holdovers with Trump’s own personnel in the Defense and State Departments, including at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). Positions also could change, such as separating the portfolio on Taiwan from that on China.
Other issues confront how to modernize platforms in Taiwan’s military, including dealing with its insistence on flying outdated F-5 fighters, devoting limited funds to indigenous submarines and trainers, and seeking new fighters. In addition to potential upgraded weapon systems and technology transfers, more US-Taiwan mil-to-mil exchanges could enhance realistic training to improve personnel and cyber security.
Main Point: In notifying Congress of overdue arms sales to Taiwan, the Trump Administration closed the gap between rhetoric and action in adherence to the TRA. Potential next steps include ending the distorted practice of “packages.”
 The annual total values of major FMS as notified to Congress are summarized as follows (in $ million): 1990 ($153); 1991 ($372); 1992 ($6,406); 1993 ($2,184); 1994 ($171); 1995 ($267); 1996 ($1,034); 1997 ($1,247); 1998 ($1,296); 1999 ($637); 2000 ($1,866); 2001 ($1,082); 2002 ($1,521); 2003 ($775); 2004 ($1,776); 2005 ($280); 2006 ($0); 2007 ($3,717); 2008 ($6,463); 2009 ($0); 2010 ($6,392); 2011 ($5,852); 2012 ($0); 2013 ($0); 2014 ($0); 2015 ($1,718); 2016 ($0); 2017 ($1,363) as of June 29.
Crafting Taiwan Policy in the Trump Era
Dennis Wilder served as special assistant to the president and senior director for East Asian Affairs during President George W. Bush’s second term. He is currently professor of practice in the Asian Studies Program of the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
President Donald Trump is trying new ways to engage the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that show promise, but it is in the US national security interest that he stays the tried and true course carefully laid out by prior US presidents when dealing with Taiwan. In particular, President Trump has revised the manner of engaging the senior leadership in Beijing by dismantling the highly bureaucratized Strategic & Economic Dialogue of the Obama era and replacing it with the US-China Comprehensive Dialogue.
This new dialogue has four senior dialogue mechanisms: the Diplomatic and Strategic Dialogue lead by Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Mattis, the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue lead by Secretary Manuchin and Secretary Ross, the Law Enforcement and Cyber Strategy Dialogue lead by Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Kelly, and the Social and People-to-People Dialogue. These dialogues seem to be off to a good start although the US participants seem overmatched to their Chinese counterparts, who lack the political and bureaucratic clout of their US counterparts. This is accounted for by the peculiarities of the Chinese government in which real power rests with senior Politburo members whose positions do not align well with the US Cabinet.
There was a great deal of discussion before the first meeting between President Trump and President Xi at Mar-a-Lago in early April as to whether Taiwan should or would be a prominent issue discussed. I went on record advocating that President Trump keep low key any discussion of Taiwan because of the danger of China attempting to link the issue with US priorities on North Korea, trade, and China’s actions in the South China Sea. Moreover, some had even advocated the dangerous notion that President Trump and President Xi agree to work on a fourth US-China Communiqué on Taiwan.
It was reassuring to see that, in both the Mar-a-Lago summit and the first Diplomatic and Strategic Dialogue on June 20th, discussion of Taiwan was not prominent. In fact, a curious document issued a few days ago by the PRC’s Foreign Ministry (but not the US government) titled, “The Relevant Consensus of the First Round of China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue,” does not even mention Taiwan. Despite the fact that this does not in any way appear to be an actual “consensus” document, I view its content as a positive sign that Beijing did not get any concessions on the Taiwan issue at either of these dialogues. It is also noteworthy that the official Chinese readout of State Councilor Yang Jiechi’s (楊潔篪) subsequent meeting with President Trump last Thursday also made no mention of the Taiwan issue.
The PRC appears to initially be treading carefully on the Taiwan issue with President Trump, probably because it calculates that, given the President’s surprise of a pre-inauguration phone conversation with President Tsai, it must first prove a useful partner to Washington before pressing the issue. But, of course, Beijing will inevitably return to this issue in time. Thus, it provides the Trump Administration the opportunity to craft and set its Taiwan policy in the interim while it has the luxury of a deliberative process.
Key to living up to our legal and moral commitments to Taiwan is continuity in US support for Taiwan’s defense capabilities. The PRC’s assertive behavior in the East and South China Seas demonstrates that it is intent on flexing its new military might to back up its sovereignty claims; and China’s ever-increasing defense spending highlights its growing military prowess. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the Trump Administration on 29 June announced that it had approved the sale to Taiwan of $1.4 billion worth of missiles, torpedoes, and technical upgrades for early warning radars. This is the first new arms sales announcement since President Tsai assumed office and should dispel concerns that the Trump Administration might use Taiwan as a bargaining chip with China.
Taiwan cannot hope to match China’s defense budget but a robust, asymmetrical defense policy based on the synergy of cyber, space, and missile systems can give Taiwan the ability to withstand any initial assault. One of the most important knowledge transfers the United States military can bestow on Taiwan is the ability to execute a defense strategy based on the sophisticated doctrine of “jointness.” Outlined in Department of Defense document JP-1, jointness is the core of US operational guidance, and was developed over many years of actual combat experience on the modern battlefield. For a relatively small military force, such as Taiwan’s, the execution of a jointness doctrine can have a large, force-multiplier effect.
Another area that Taiwan must devote attention to is a whole-of-society defense. As Russia has demonstrated in eastern Ukraine with its strategy of subversion by “little green men,” Taiwan may not, in the future, face an all-out assault from China, but rather subversion from within. Countries bordering Russia (such as Poland, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania) are studying the Ukrainian experience and developing whole-of-society defense concepts. Taiwan needs to study these concepts, with the assistance of US special operations experts, because China certainly is studying the new Russian model of warfare.
This is not to downplay the advantages of the continuing transfer of US military hardware and technology to Taiwan. Taiwan must have modern weapons to deter a PRC military assault. Moreover, US arms sales are a highly visible demonstration to Beijing that the US commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue remains unwavering. During my years in the White House with President George W. Bush, I became convinced that the US defense commitment to Taiwan was a key source of stability in cross-Strait relations, because it reassured the people of Taiwan that they would not be bullied. Thus, there are many reasons why the Trump Administration would find it in the best interest of the United States, Taiwan, and cross-Strait stability to build its Taiwan policy on the premise of the status-quo, paired with continued attempts to improve cross-Strait ties.
The main point: President Trump has revised the US strategy for dealing with Beijing, but this does not mean that he will use Taiwan as a bargaining chip. There are no indications that, during the first round of the new Diplomatic and Strategic Dialogue in late June, Secretary Tilleson or Secretary Mattis gave any ground on the Taiwan issue and, in fact, new arms sales approvals came only days after the high-level meeting with Beijing. Sustained arms sales to Taiwan are a necessary but not sufficient component of US support for Taiwan’s defenses, as the changing nature of Chinese offensive capabilities suggest that training in joint operations and whole-of-society defense are equally advantageous.
Public Diplomacy with Taiwanese Characteristics: Tsai’s Inclusive Cultural Push for More Exchanges
Sebra Yen is Ya-Hui Chiu Intern at the Global Taiwan Institute. He recently graduated with an MA in Asian Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs, where he studied Taiwan’s internal developments and foreign policy.
In the aftermath of Panama’s announcement to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish official relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen—seemingly undeterred—reportedly said: “Using its excellent soft power, Taiwan can develop substantial and solid relations with all countries of the world, allowing them to experience the value of exchanges with Taiwan.” To be sure, Taipei’s international space continues to be challenged by Beijing’s unrelenting efforts to squeeze Taiwan out of the global stage. Consequently, soft power may be an important tool for Taiwan’s unique diplomatic situation.
Whether or not Taiwan is fully utilizing its soft power resources—including the promotion of its democracy—to effectively counter challenges to its international space warrants closer inspection. Soft power is defined as “the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion” through culture, domestic values, and foreign policy. In contrast with a country’s military and economic might, soft power is able to strengthen a nation’s international standing through the promotion of its values to foreign publics. Given China’s military and economic influence in the region and the world, tapping into soft power resources to enhance Taiwan’s image is of the utmost importance. Moreover, governments alone are no longer the sole implementers of public diplomacy. Indeed, “cultural industries, religious and humanitarian organizations, nongovernmental organizations, student groups, and civil society activities” can also promote Taiwan’s image abroad.
Taiwan, however, faces both external and internal challenges: most notably the China factor and Taiwan’s debate over the country’s national identity. After Taiwan’s loss of membership in the United Nations in 1971 and US de-recognition in 1979, soft power and public diplomacy became critical in maintaining partnerships with other countries, given its precarious international standing. Under Chiang Kai-shek’s rule, Taiwan’s most important soft power asset was his wife, Soong Mei-ling (宋美齡), who was ultimately able to gain US support through her grace and charm with the American people.
Under the leadership of his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, Taiwan’s political elites launched top-down political liberalization as a nascent soft power strategy to appeal to and secure the support of liked-minded countries. Lee Teng-hui’s presidency pursued a Taiwanization campaign with the wide support from the Taiwanese people. Lee’s public speech at his alma mater, Cornell University, focused heavily on Taiwan’s democracy. Chen Shui-bian emphasized Taiwan’s democratic successes in his foreign policy strategy, which included the establishment of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.
With China’s rise and retaliation against these public diplomacy efforts, Ma Ying-jeou instead highlighted Taiwan as the best preserver of Chinese culture—more specifically, of traditional Chinese characters—and created 12 Taiwan Academies in Asia, Europe, and North America through the newly established Ministry of Culture. Yet, in terms of sheer size and volume, Taiwan’s cultural organizations cannot compete with those of the PRC, which includes China’s campaign to establish a vast network of 513 Confucius Institutes around the world that also promote Chinese language and culture. By showcasing Taiwan’s unique convergence of aboriginal, Western, Chinese, Japanese, and now Southeast Asian influences, Taiwan’s public diplomacy may be able to garner more support by showcasing its diversity.
Voted into office based on the platform of preserving the status quo and reinvigorating Taiwan’s economy after the 2014 Sunflower Movement, President Tsai’s cross-Strait policy has been relatively moderate in comparison to his predecessors. During her inauguration address, Tsai referred to the so-called “1992 Consensus” as a historical meeting in 1992 between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, which demonstrated her goodwill towards China despite the pro-independence platform of the Democratic Progressive Party. Through this middle-ground approach, she became the head of the General Association of Chinese Culture (中華文化總會) and spearheaded the New Southbound Policy—which focuses on people-to-people exchanges with 18 nations in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Australasia—thus demonstrating Tsai’s emphasis on the importance of cultural exchanges around the world, including those with China.
In a recent interview with Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Dr. Pierre Tzu-pao Yang (楊子葆), he noted that Taiwan is moving away from the term ‘soft power’ and instead focusing on cultural exchanges and interactions because of the realities governing Taiwan’s place in the US-China context. In contrast to Chen’s approach of emphasizing an independent, separate Taiwanese identity and Ma’s reliance on Chinese culture and heritage, Tsai’s strategy appears to be an inclusive approach that integrates indigenous ethnic groups, Hakka, and Southeast Asian cultures to highlight Taiwan’s increasingly diverse society. This can be seen in Washington, DC where Taiwan’s embassy recently featured a movie that depicted the lives of three children from a remote aboriginal tribe at the Washington, DC International Film Festival, and contemporary artwork by central Taiwanese artist, Hung Yi, at CityCenter DC to share the island’s stories. This suggests a balanced, realistic approach for Tsai’s public diplomacy, given environmental constraints.
The PRC views Taiwan’s democracy as an existential threat in part because its acceptance of shared values creates more opportunities for Taipei to partner with the United States, Japan, and other like-minded democracies. In essence, public diplomacy with Taiwanese characteristics is an extension of Taiwan’s domestic politics, its relationship with China, and the larger US-Taiwan-China relationship. The internal and external environments that influence Taiwan’s approach to public diplomacy and Tsai Ing-wen’s outreach to the world have been moderate, generating a moderate approach that utilizes diversity to build ties around the world by celebrating Taiwan’s different cultural, ethnic, and minority groups.
Main point: Given Taiwan’s political, cultural, and strategic constraints, Tsai’s public diplomacy has been a moderate approach, compared to Chen Shui-bian’s more deliberate push of promoting Taiwan’s democracy and Ma Ying-jeou’s promotion of traditional Chinese culture. Tsai’s focus on exchanges and branding Taiwan’s diverse culture is her well-balanced contribution.