As we are approaching the end of the year 2023, it’s about time to look back and ponder on issues that have greatly affected the international community this year and look for possible solutions.
The world has faced greater challenges than ever, especially when we are standing at a crossroads where authoritarianism has caused severe humanitarian and economic crises and sabotaged the rules-based international order. Collective cooperation from all nations is pivotal to address the geopolitical problems ignited by authoritative regimes. Besides global politics, we are also facing challenges from climate changes, post-pandemic recovery, and sustainable development that require concerted effort and collective solutions.
Taiwan’s valuable contribution to the international community
For many years, Taiwan has been an international force for good and a responsible member of the global community. During the coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan shared with the world the best practices for combating COVID-19 such as advanced contact tracing and transparent sharing of information, or the so-called Taiwan Model. For global aviation safety, Taiwan CAA has maintained the highest standards of service and safety and has worked hard to comply with standards and recommended practices under ICAO to fulfill the goal of reconnecting the world. As to the cross-border police cooperation, Taiwan’s police authorities remain determined to resolve law and order issues and minimize loss of life and property and harm to people’s wellbeing, and has gained support from the like-minded to Taiwan’s meaningful participation in INTERPOL.
Taiwan spares no effort to provide humanitarian assistance
In a dynamic world of converging challenges, Taiwan is willing and able to help wherever there is a need. In response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the people and government of Taiwan have donated US $115 million and more than 700 tons of medical items and humanitarian supplies to the Ukrainian people. Recently Taiwan also worked with Lithuania on a reconstruction initiative to rebuild a kindergarten in Ukraine, and signed humanitarian aid agreements with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to support Ukraine in rebuilding hospitals, schools, an employment center for single women, a distance-learning facility for youth, and winterized facilities for elderly people, as well as donating renovated ambulances, fire trucks and rehabilitation buses to help the Ukrainian people.
On 14 and 15 November, Taiwan participated in the ReBuild Ukraine and International Exhibition and Conference in Warsaw, Poland, and signed six cooperative memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Ukrainian partners, deepening the democratic partnership between Taiwan, Ukraine, and like-minded countries.
In the face of natural disasters, the Taiwan government announced its donation of US $500,000 to assist the Moroccan people in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts on Sep. 10, while giving out US $1 million to the Libyan government to assist with its resettlement and reconstruction immediately after a devastating storm and torrential rain. In August, devastating wildfires on the island of Maui in the US state of Hawaii resulted in over 100 dead, several hundred missing, 10,000 people displaced and over 1,000 structures lost, as well as extensive damage to transportation and internet infrastructure and losses of billions of US dollars. Taiwan provided US $ 500,000 to help the local government and victims with relief and reconstruction.
As a responsible key partner in the international community, Taiwan has long been proactively involved in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and will continue to act as a force for good and a valuable partner in combating global poverty and supporting sustainable international economic development, as well as helping reconstruction works in Ukraine.
Taiwan’s vibrant democratic and economic developments proved to be a success
Taiwan is a fully developed democratic country with sovereignty and 23 million people；it was rated the freest country in Asia according to the 2022 Human Freedom Index, and is widely considered as the beacon of freedom in Asia. Its robust and competitive democratic system has allowed three peaceful transfers of power between rival parties since 2000. Economically, Taiwan was the 17th largest exporter and importer of merchandise in 2022, with its nominal GDP close to that of Poland and Sweden while its GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP) is similar to that of Austria and the Netherlands.
The fact that 50 percent of global cargo, including goods traveling to Europe, passes through the Taiwan Straits highlights the importance of the peace and stability of the Strait. Besides, Taiwan has dominated the global semiconductor industry with a near two-thirds of market share of the semiconductor chips, and 90 percent of the most advanced ones. Taiwanese ship operators’ control of more than 10 percent of global container capacity has also made Taiwan a key logistics hub and a critical player in global supply chains.
It’s time to further deepen bilateral and multilateral ties with Taiwan
As the global community is confronting unprecedented challenges such as the expansion of authoritarianism, global supply chain disruptions, climate change, post-pandemic recovery, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and China’s increasing military intimidation to cross-strait stability, it is crucial and worth reminding that democratic allies and like-minded countries work together to address them in a concerted manner. Taiwan has proved to be a valuable, reliable and indispensable partner that can help overcome these global challenges and has continuously provided humanitarian support across the globe to help our friends in need.
We are excited that more and more countries from the Baltic region and around the world choose to deepen their relationship with Taiwan. Nearly 40 delegations from Europe have visited Taiwan this year, while in August 2023 alone, four high-ranking official delegations from the Baltic States made their way to Taiwan, showing keen interest in engaging with Taiwan and strong support to Taiwan.
As the world’s 21st-largest economy and the beacon of freedom in Asia, Taiwan stands jointly with other nations in facing immense challenges, and looks forward to deepening a bilateral and multilateral relationship with countries around the world.