High-Tech Icon Morris Chang Leads Delegation Amidst Diplomatic Tensions
Written & Drafted By Shafeek Ahmad, Publishe On 15-November-2023, 08:40 PM EST.
In a significant diplomatic move, Taiwan is set to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, defying China’s diplomatic embargo. This rare opportunity allows the island to engage economically on the international stage. The delegation will be led by the eminent 92-year-old Morris Chang, founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a key player in the global high-tech industry.
Taiwan’s representation at APEC adheres to an unwritten rule, designating a civilian leader to satisfy China’s insistence on economic entities rather than state players. Chang, a respected industry leader, ensures a delicate balance, allowing Taiwan to engage without sparking protest from China. The government is also discreetly represented by Minister of Finance Chuang Tsui-yun in specific meetings.
Having participated since 1991 under the name Chinese Taipei, Taiwan has navigated its presence in APEC amid geopolitical tensions. The island’s split from mainland China in 1949 has led to continuous claims by China, employing near-daily acts of political intimidation. Taiwan’s military faces challenges, but recent investments in defense signify a commitment to bolster its capabilities, particularly in response to Chinese displays of force.
U.S. Involvement and Security Concerns
Despite lacking a military treaty, the U.S. is committed to ensuring Taiwan’s ability to defend itself. President Biden emphasizes continued support for “self-defense capabilities for Taiwan.” The Taiwan Strait remains a potential powder keg, given China’s determination to reunite what it considers historical territory. China’s main concerns include ending U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and preventing electoral support for the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
China’s influence on Taiwanese politics involves a multifaceted approach, combining military threats with economic opportunities. Taiwan’s upcoming elections in January will serve as a crucial determinant of public sentiment. Vice President William Lai, a U.S.-trained medical professional, appears to be in a strong position, while opposition struggles to form alliances amidst growing expenditures.
Taiwan’s participation in the APEC forum emerges as a strategic move to challenge China’s dominance and showcase its economic prowess. The delicate balance maintained by civilian representation, coupled with U.S. support, underscores the complex geopolitical landscape surrounding Taiwan. The upcoming elections will not only shape Taiwan’s future but also influence its relationship with China.
Source: Voice of America
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