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Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

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Caution Required: Economic Cooperation with the US may Create Dependency
Friday, September 25, 2020
Caution Required: Economic Cooperation with the US may Create Dependency

Ko Yu-chih, Associate Professor, Department of Diplomacy, National Chengchi University, in China Times (September 24, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Wang Yu-ching/Office of the President, Taiwan)

Caution Required: Economic Cooperation with the US may Create Dependency

On August 9, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led a delegation to Taiwan. On September 17, a delegation led by Keith Krach, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, arrived in Taipei. The results of the two visits were mixed. Azar and Krach are the highest-ranking US officials to visit Taiwan since 1979. While Azar’s visit was open and formal, Krach’s was low-key and informal. This raises questions over the true intentions of the US.

The Azar delegation not only met President Tsai Ing-wen, but they also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). Meanwhile, the Krach delegation’s itinerary was not confirmed publicly beforehand and the format minimized intergovernmental meetings.

Azar’s delegation visited to discuss Covid-19 and public health cooperation, while Krach’s delegation was engaged in “funeral diplomacy”, attending the memorial service of former president Lee Teng-hui. The subsequent exchanges with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on US-Taiwan economic cooperation took place on the sidelines.

The two delegations will provide a boost to the current government, given that Taiwan’s international recognition has been gradually reduced. The excessively low-key nature of the Krach delegation, however, highlights the caution of US diplomats in deepening economic relations and suggests that the Washington has no desire in provoking Beijing.

While Azar’s delegation signed a MoU, it did not cover vaccine cooperation, an area to which Taiwan is eager to contribute. Meanwhile, Krach’s delegation was particularly interested in Taiwan's screening of foreign investments. This could end up dragging Taiwan into the Sino-US trade war or giving the US the right to intervene in Taiwan’s investment review processes. The government must be cautious as this could ultimately make Taiwan more dependent on the US. 


Does Taiwan Still Need the Kuomintang?
Friday, September 18, 2020
Does Taiwan Still Need the Kuomintang?

Lee Min-yung, poet and social critic, in Liberty Times (September 16, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Does Taiwan Still Need the Kuomintang?

The stated goal and mission of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) no longer exists. The KMT wants to fight on behalf of the People's Republic of China and give them the authority to rule Taiwan. On the other hand, the goal of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and some other Taiwanese parties is to establish Taiwan as a separate entity from the People’s Republic of China. While the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) used to be enemies who wanted to destroy each other, now they are allies. Today, the main enemy of the KMT is not the CCP but the ruling party in Taiwan, the DPP.

In the 1950s, the KMT was centered on Chiang Kai-shek who used martial law and white terror to deal with dissidents. Not only those involved in communism, but also those who reformed and defended Taiwan were persecuted. In 1971, due to the self-serving nature of the KMT, the Republic of China was officially expelled from the United Nations and replaced by People's Republic of China. As a result, any protection over Taiwan's national status was immediately lost. 

The KMT now views Taiwan as a bargaining chip and supports its absorption by the CCP. However, after the lifting of the martial law and democratization, the Taiwan people who have left the KMT, including the descendants of post-war immigrants, have spurned the KMT’s desire to sell off Taiwan. The peaceful revolutions carried out through elections has gradually shaped a new distinct Taiwan. Considering these developments, does Taiwan still need the KMT?


Finding a Balance with the US and the Mainland
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Finding a Balance with the US and the Mainland

Ko Yu-chih, Associate Professor, Department of Diplomacy, National Chengchi University, in China Times (September 12, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan)

Finding a Balance with the US and the Mainland

During the Cold War, Taiwan was seen to be abandoned by the US when Washington was forced into having relations with just one side of the Strait. With the possibility of a new Cold War between the US and China, Taiwan is now being made to choose a side and is leaning towards the US. The possibility of the US abandoning Taiwan again cannot be ruled out, however.

After President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016, the continued decline in cross-strait relations has resulted in Taiwan kowtowing to the US. In the long run, Taiwan must be committed to building a balanced trilateral relationship. This, as Johnny Chiang, the chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) has stated, is the only option in line with Taiwan’s best interests.

Achieving balance is not an easy task. It requires not only the right time, the right place, and the harmony of people but also meticulous diplomacy. Mutual trust and respect mutual are the only way to avoid war. Maintaining peace across the Strait, amid declining Sino-US relations, is therefore an important goal that should transcend partisanship and that officials and civilians on both sides of the Strait should work together towards.

As the confrontation between Beijing and Washington increases, the security of the Taiwan Strait is more at risk. To reverse the downward spiral towards conflict and avoid a Cold War, cross-strait exchanges and dialogue must increase. He proposed to continue engagements to resolve the current differences in understanding between the two sides towards the "1992 Consensus". This will allow the two sides to ease tensions and establish an environment conducive to maintaining peace.


The Friendliness of the Abe Administration
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
The Friendliness of the Abe Administration

Ogasawara Yoshiyuki, Professor at the Institute of Global Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, in Liberty Times (September 7, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan)

The Friendliness of the Abe Administration

The government of Abe Shinzo has been the friendliest Japanese government to Taiwan since the severance of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Taipei in 1972. In the absence of formal ties, Prime Minister Abe and President Tsai Ing-wen regularly send encouraging messages to each other on Twitter – this alone is worthy of recognition.

One of the greatest achievements has been the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement signed in 2013. As a result, territorial issues between Japan and Taiwan have faded and bilateral relations have improved. The Abe government has also been committed to promoting bilateral exchanges – albeit in a low-key manner – since this agreement. When Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in January 2016, Abe congratulated her publicly, and in 2017 the Japanese government renamed its de-facto embassy from the Japan-Taiwan Interchange Association to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

After 2017, however, the Abe administration’s relationship with Taiwan stagnated due to Taiwan’s continued restrictions of food imports from five prefectures surrounding Fukushima, where the nuclear disaster occurred in 2011. Meanwhile, Japan-China relations began to improve with Abe openly welcoming a visit from Xi Jinping to Japan. Nevertheless, the Abe administration has also moved to contain China.

Overall, the tremendous support given by the people of Taiwan people during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has helped to strengthen bilateral relations and also improve the attitude of Japanese society towards Taiwan. As a result, people-to-people exchanges have also become more frequent. While the Abe administration certainly contributed to improve in relations, it is even more important to acknowledge the hard work of many Japanese and Taiwan people who have continued to strive for deeper mutual understanding.


Don’t Get Too Excited About Czech-Taiwan Relations
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Don’t Get Too Excited About Czech-Taiwan Relations

Hsu Mien-sheng, Taiwan diplomat, in Storm Media Group (June 27, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: www.vystrcil.cz)

Don’t Get Too Excited About Czech-Taiwan Relations

Domestic media recently reported that the Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil plans to visit Taiwan. This will not only involve Czech-Taiwan relations but also cross-strait relations. If cross-strait relations are harmonious, exchanges with countries without diplomatic relations are relatively straightforward. Visa-free treatment for Taiwan citizens in the European Schengen countries was achieved under harmonious cross-strait relations. Today, ties are tense and Taipei’s exchanges with countries with which it has no diplomatic relations will inevitably aggravate Beijing.

Vystrčil has been extremely friendly to Taiwan. Despite his lofty status, however, he is of relatively low political importance. Czech President Miloš Zeman, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček all have discouraged the visit because of their concerns about the relationship between the Czech Republic and China. Beijing has reacted strongly, with the Chinese Embassy in Prague declaring that the visit is “blatant support for the separatist forces and activities in Taiwan, which seriously violate China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Many politicians from countries with no diplomatic relations have visited Taiwan over the years, but they have observed diplomatic practices and not announced it beforehand. There has been no incident and no trouble to any party. Diplomacy should be about doing more and talking less. It is necessary to respect the professional judgment of diplomats and act in the proper way to prevent incidents. In this case, Taiwan’s representative in the Czech Republic behaved inappropriately by not consulting other parties on the handling of this announcement.

While Taiwan should cherish its friendship with the Czech Republic, we must avoid getting too excited. It would be inappropriate for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to use this visit for publicity. While it was originally seen as a positive event, any negative consequences could be more costly that it is worth.


The Government’s Plans to Aid Hong Kong Citizens Raise Questions
Monday, June 22, 2020
The Government’s Plans to Aid Hong Kong Citizens Raise Questions

Tai Shih-yin, lawyer, in United Daily News (June 20, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Makoto Lin/Office of the President, Taiwan)

The Government’s Plans to Aid Hong Kong Citizens Raise Questions

The Mainland Affairs Council has finally announced a new “Humanitarian Aid and Care Action Plan” for Hong Kong citizens. There remains, however, a number of legal uncertainties about how it would work.

First, the legal basis of the action plan is both general and brief. The relevant provisions have not been updated since they were devised in 1997. Whether the existing legal basis can cope with the new relationship between Taiwan and Hong Kong is unclear. 

Second, once a draft “Refugee Law” is passed, the legal rights of Hong Kong people will be lower than that of foreigners or stateless people. From a macro perspective, Taiwan's assistance to Hong Kong people lacks comprehensive and clear legal protection.

Third, assistance is focused on “specific cases” through the Executive Yuan. This model inherently has the advantages of stricter scrutiny, adaptability to circumstances and the avoidance of wasted resources. In the absence of transparent and open supporting regulations, however, it will lack external supervision, and any administrative arbitrary decision making could affect the fairness of any assistance allocation.

Many more questions remain. For example, what is the definition and applicable eligibility criteria of the so-called “political reasons” in the aforementioned regulations? Are they limited to those prosecuted under the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law”? Will the same assistance be provided to suspected criminals who have also participated in violent resistance in Hong Kong? If a case's application for assistance is rejected, what are the procedures for legal remedy?

Without a sound foundation for the rule of law, is the action plan merely lip service?


Help Retirees who are Willing to Work Again
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Help Retirees who are Willing to Work Again

Hong De-sheng, Chairman, Taiwanese Association for Ageing Society (TAAS), in Storm Media Group (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Help Retirees who are Willing to Work Again

Improvements in health and life expectancy have helped seniors become more active and socially engaged. According to an online survey by the Taiwanese Association for Ageing Society (TAAS), 88 percent of employed and retired people between the ages of 40 and 75 are willing to continue working after reaching retirement.

There are a number of reasons for this – 23 percent wish to utilize their expertise or interests, 23 percent want to improve their self-worth and increase social participation to keep the mind active and promote health, and 20 percent aim to maintain good physical strength and health. Among those who wish to work again, 46 percent prefer part-time working hours and 42 percent are flexible. Of the retirees who want to work again, 23 percent face barriers to attending an interview, while 15 percent have difficulty getting information on job opportunities because they lack digital access.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, by the end of 2019 there were more than 3.6 million elderly people (over 65 years old) in Taiwan, accounting for 15.28 percent of the total population. In addition to formulating laws and regulations on the employment of middle-aged and senior citizens, the government has encouraged all sectors to promote employment opportunities for them.

A special unit should be set up to facilitate the employment of the approximately 100,000 retirees in different industries. Information on geographical distribution, industry experience and expertise, and willingness to participate in certain activities can be collected through surveys and a digital platform. Supporting retiree participation in the industrial chain and people-centred sectors such as culture, tourism and education will not only improve the overall welfare of the elderly but will also help Taiwan become the next bright spot on the international stage.


The World is Awaking to the “Chinese Dream”
Friday, June 5, 2020
The World is Awaking to the “Chinese Dream”

Lee Min-yung, poet, in Liberty Times (June 3, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

The World is Awaking to the “Chinese Dream”

In 1979, the United States formally established diplomatic relations with China and redefined its relationship with Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act. On June 4, 1989, tanks ploughed through protestors on Tiananmen Square, exposing the Communist Party of China's totalitarian and authoritarian nature. Yet the US still desired to support China's economic development in the hope that it would promote the development of democratic universal values. Neither the US nor the international community imposed sanctions on China.

China continued to attract foreign investment and efficiently transformed itself into the factory of the world. It used the idea of free capitalism to develop its own economy while promoting the concept of totalitarian socialism or “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Meanwhile, Taiwan was cut off from the international community.

Through Hong Kong's struggles, the Wuhan virus and the aggressive stance of Beijing, the dreamers within the great powers have finally woken up. China’s forces have replaced the old Soviet Union and the essence of the empire has reappeared.

The Communist revolution originally aimed to promote social fairness and justice. Instead, China has become a paradise for private political ambitions. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has become rich but not for the benefit of its citizens or the world. The Cultural Revolution during the Mao Zedong era humiliated and killed many party members and many of the today’s CCP leadership are simply repeating history. Xi Jinping is mimicking Mao Zedong's authoritarian and totalitarian style, just like Hitler in Nazi Germany.

The Hong Kong version of the National Security Law is just a wake-up call. While the ravaging shadow of the Wuhan virus still affects many countries, the Chinese people can accurately understand the nature of the Communist regime. The rest of the world, however, is only just awakening to this reality.


Taiwan is Not Hong Kong: We Must Deepen International Cooperation
Monday, June 1, 2020
Taiwan is Not Hong Kong: We Must Deepen International Cooperation

Hung Chi-chang, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (2007-08), in China Times (May 28, 2020)

(Photo credit: Yenyu Chen/Pixabay)

Taiwan is Not Hong Kong: We Must Deepen International Cooperation

China’s National People's Congress (NPC) declared that it will pass a national security law for Hong Kong. Beijing ’s tough handling of the Hong Kong issue can be understood this way:

First, Beijing’s priority is to maintain internal political, economic and social stability, as well as manage competition and cooperation between major powers and regional issues. Hong Kong's internal stability is linked to the internal stability of the country.

Second, Hong Kong is an important economic lifeline for China and for Chinese officials as it remains an offshore center and a renminbi-denominated bond-issuance hub and supports international fundraising for development of the Greater Bay Area.

Third, last year’s protests fueled support for the pro-democracy camp’s victory in the Hong Kong district council election. If the pan-democrats dominate the Legislative Council elections this year, it could generate a wave of support among the democratic forces within China and prompt further action by Beijing.

Fourth, while Beijing is well aware that its tough handling of Hong Kong will generate international criticism, they see Hong Kong as a domestic issue. Unlike with other geopolitical issues such as the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait, with Hong Kong, international pressure is significantly less.

Taiwan is not Hong Kong. Taiwan’s foreign minister has warned that Beijing might soon use force against Taiwan. Taiwan cannot be so naïve as to expect the international community to provide unconditional support. To defend Taiwan’s way of life, Taiwan must continue to deepen cooperation with those in the international community that share our values. To protect Taiwan’s autonomy, Taiwan must continue to play a key role in regional security and the global industrial supply chain.


Hong Kong’s “One Country, Two Systems” is Dead
Monday, May 25, 2020
Hong Kong’s “One Country, Two Systems” is Dead

Hu Wenhui, political commentator, in his 胡, 怎麼說 (What Do You Say) column in Liberty Times (May 22, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: FreedomFungPhotography / Shutterstock.com)

Hong Kong’s “One Country, Two Systems” is Dead

President Tsai Ing-wen emphasized in her re-election speech on May 20 that she resolutely rejects Beijing’s "one country, two systems" proposal. Yet, the next day, while the pan-Blue opposition coalition were still criticizing President Tsai for not showing any goodwill to the mainland, the Chinese National People's Congress of announced plans to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong.

In terms of impact, the national security law covers serious crimes such as subverting state power, splitting the country, interfering with foreign forces, and terrorist activities, which could involve imprisoning and strictly controlling the freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and procession. Under such a law, the people of Hong Kong could be easily be convicted of any crime. If they threaten the regime of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), they risk being charged and detained by the authorities. The official introduction of law will mark the moment when the freedom of the Hong Kong people and “one country, two systems” die.

“One country, two systems” has been a mask for the leadership of Hong Kong. When society does not obey orders, the CCP has been shown to throw off this mask, revealing their true face of brutality. The CCP and the Hong Kong government have recently used the excuse of the Covid-19 epidemic measures to suppress the Hong Kong people’s objections to this law. While control measures were expected to have expired, they were suddenly extended to June 4, with all assemblies and processions banned. Nevertheless, the population has already gathered to protest against Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

President Tsai was correct to reject firmly the proposal of “one country, two systems”. Furthermore, judging from the brutality of Beijing’s national security law in Hong Kong, the pan-Blue coalition are simply boneless worms led by the CCP.


Has the Handling of Covid-19 Really Been a Success?
Friday, May 15, 2020
Has the Handling of Covid-19 Really Been a Success?

Liou Pei-pai, former director of the Taiwan Animal Health Research Institute, in China Times (May 11, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan)

Has the Handling of Covid-19 Really Been a Success?

President Tsai Ing-wen and Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung, supported by media aligned with the ruling coalition, like to boast about Taiwan’s Covid-19 achievements. The government has sought recognition from overseas and even engaged in activities such as face-mask diplomacy, which has garnered thanks from foreign dignitaries.

The reality, however, is that in the early stage of the epidemic Taiwan civilians successfully controlled the epidemic through rapid compliance and the wearing of masks. Major tasks such as the analysis of the virus, antibody screening, testing and vaccine development have not been given significant attention. 

The crisis in Taiwan has nearly subsided, with no domestic cases appearing for 29 days. Taiwan must now focus on its post-epidemic prevention work. While the government claims to have an overall plan for the development of vaccines, new drugs, and faster testing, they have forced academic institutions and private pharmaceutical companies to pursue the fight alone, without government funding.

As a result, no concrete achievements have been made in Taiwan, while research in these fields has yielded results in many countries around the world. Reviewing the situation objectively, Taiwan's epidemic prevention work has fallen behind. Taiwan must urgently think about what should be done to handle another wave of the epidemic.


A Meaningless War of Words
Monday, May 11, 2020
A Meaningless War of Words

Chao Chun-shan, Emeritus Professor at the Graduate Institute of China Studies of Tamkang University, in United Daily News (April 14, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: D Woldu/ITU)

A Meaningless War of Words

During a press conference on April 8, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), accused Taiwan’s government of spearheading personal and racist attacks against him over the past three months. This accusation triggered a war of words between the WHO and Taipei.

There indeed is evidence of some Taiwan netizens criticizing Tedros for what they view is his "pro-China" stance, while using indecent and racist language. Attributing the actions of certain individuals online to the entire population of Taiwan or to the government is unreasonable. It is therefore extreme to assert that Taiwan is "racist". As an immigrant society, Taiwan is known for preserving the warm, harmonious and inclusive aspects of Chinese culture. Taiwan is also renowned for its welcoming people.

Dr Tedros may be unaware of Taiwan ’s historical relations with African nations. As early as the 1960s, Taiwan provided aid to Africa, sending to the continent a large number of medical, farming and engineering teams. Yet many African nations subsequently recognized mainland China, forcing Taiwan off the United Nations.

The Chinese government claims that Taiwan is exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic to accelerate independence. These assertions are nothing more than further moves to oppose Taiwan ’s participation in the WHO. Taiwan is currently battling against the epidemic while simultaneously facing a political war of words. The coronavirus jeopardizes individuals, while political viruses endanger national security.


Even After the Epidemic, Wear Masks – and Stay Away from Wild Animals
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Even After the Epidemic, Wear Masks – and Stay Away from Wild Animals

Wang Jen-hsien, Honorary Managing Director, Taiwan Counter Contagious Diseases Society (中华民国防疫学会), in China Times (May 3, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Mori/Office of the President, Taiwan)

Even After the Epidemic, Wear Masks – and Stay Away from Wild Animals

The Covid-19 epidemic is almost over in Taiwan. Providing the Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC) does not make any major mistakes, people should be able to resume normal work and activities within the month. Even after the epidemic, however, a new way of life must be developed to eliminate the threat of the virus returning entirely.

The successful defeat of the Covid-19 virus in Taiwan is a direct result of society’s efforts rather than the policies of the CECC. By adhering to the hygiene and symptom-management etiquette outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), the public health was maintained.

This should continue. Masks should be placed at the center of daily life while the rest of the world battles the virus. Whether you have any symptoms or are simply visiting crowded areas or confined spaces such as public transport or elevators, everyone must take the initiative to wear masks.

Masks are also important because they are an alternative means to maintaining social-distancing practices. Keeping physically apart is just one aspect of a robust public-health policy, which includes vaccinations and wearing masks. As people resume normal interaction, it will be difficult to maintain social distance, so other ways to protect each other and ourselves such as wearing masks will be important.

Emerging infectious diseases can arise come from cross-animal transmission without mutations, as in the cases of AIDS and Ebola. It is, therefore, important to maintain our distance from wild animals including rodents and bats. Besides avoiding slaughtering wild animals, the development and construction of urban areas must take into account the habitats of wild animals so as not to avoid the transmission of infectious diseases to humans.

Only by continuing to wear masks and social distancing with wild animals can Taiwan become a leading example in the field of public health.


Be Realistic About Participation in the World Health Organization
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Be Realistic About Participation in the World Health Organization

Chiang Huang-chih, Professor of International Law, National Taiwan University (NTU), in Liberty Times (May 4, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Eric Bridiers/United States Mission Geneva)

Be Realistic About Participation in the World Health Organization

Taiwan first started to call for it to participate in World Health Organization (WHO) activities in 1995. This year, there appears to be great deal of optimism that this goal might be achieved. At the end of December 2019, Taiwan appealed to the WHO secretariat to pay attention to cases of unknown pneumonia in China. Subsequently, Taiwan demonstrated an outstanding ability to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. This has helped boost Taiwan’s reputation, with the United States and Japan strongly supporting Taiwan’s participation as an observer in the WHO.

Despite the optimism, the public should manage their expectations. First, the epidemic in Europe has not been completely controlled. As a result, the World Health Assembly (WHA), the governing forum of the WHO, will be held online this year, with the pandemic the focus of discussions. The possibility that Taiwan’s role will be discussed is unlikely. As such, Taiwan’s participation is by no means guaranteed.

Second, the countries that support Taiwan’s participation in WHO activities only express their support for Taiwan as an observer. Previously, such participation has been based on the "1992 Consensus” and as such, would ultimately be determined by China. It is also important to note that there are many types of observers. As Taiwan experienced by having an observer seat from 2009 to 2016, this approach can actually be harmful to Taiwan ’s international status.

If possible, it is necessary to seek further joint proposals from the United States and Japan to allow Taiwan to participate in the voting on resolutions in the Assembly. The benefit of a democratic society is that it is possible to congregate and gather ideas. People seem to be too optimistic about participation in this year’s WHA. For now, it is best to remain both cautious and patient.


Change the Name of China Airlines
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Change the Name of China Airlines

Fu An-tang, senior aviation industry executive, in Liberty Times (April 27, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Michel Teiten)

Change the Name of China Airlines

Taiwan’s China Airlines recently delivered Covid-19 medical supplies to Europe. This story prompted some confusion among the international media which incorrectly reported that China rather than Taiwan made the donation. This error has prompted a heated discussion over whether the airline should change its name to “Taiwan Airlines”.

Practically speaking, changing the name would be a huge, time-consuming, labor-intensive and costly project. Not only would it require changes to the centralized reservation system and transportation supply networks, but it would also require a lengthy rebranding process. Furthermore, changing the name would likely result in the airline facing a ban from flying to mainland destinations. Nevertheless, the decision must still be carefully considered.

One feasible solution could be to change the name of Mandarin Airlines, a subsidiary of the China Airlines Group. As China Airlines holds nearly 94 percent of the shares of Mandarin Airlines, the decision would be practical. In addition, only a small number of mainland destinations are served by this subsidiary. Even if they were banned by the mainland, it would have minimal impact on the China Airlines Group.

Potential steps could be as follows: Mandarin applies to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other international bodies to change its name to “Taiwan Airlines”. The fleet is rebranded, and Taiwan Airlines begins to negotiations with countries around the world to serve existing air routes. China Airlines could gradually transfer more of its fleet to the renamed carrier. If some countries should refuse to accept the new entity due to pressure from Beijing, China Airlines could continue to serve those routes.