In recent years Cross-Strait relations have worsened and there seems to be no prospect to reopen formal cross-Strait channels of dialogue since they were cut in June 2016. China suspects that Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen aims to push for the island’s formal independence ever since she took office in May 2016. Therefore Beijing has been increasing its efforts to exert political and military pressure on Taiwan, for instance by stepping up military drills around the island. In reaction to China’s increased military activities Tsai announced a steady growth of Taiwan’s annual defense budget. Beijing also increased its efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally and to reduce Taiwan’s presence on the world stage. In 2017, China successfully blocked Taiwan’s participation in Interpol and the World Health Organization. In addition, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso recently severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, in favor of relations with China. What prospects does Tsai Ing-wen have to improve Cross-Strait relations with Chinese president Xi Jinping, who has made clear that unification with Taiwan is part of his ambitious agenda? Is there a way forward for the Cross-Strait relationship to seek a breakthrough? What role could third countries, such as the United States or European countries, play to improve the relationship?
About Prof. Dr. Jhy-Wey Shieh
Prof. Dr. Jhy-Wey Shieh holds a PhD in German Studies and Literature from Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. From 1996-2002, Prof. Dr. Shieh was the Dean for the School of Foreign Languages and Cultures in Soochow University in Taipei. After that, he served as representative of Taiwan in Germany from 2005-2007. Following his return to Taiwan from Germany, he took the post of spokesperson of the government and served as the minister of Government Information Office at the same time between 2007-2008. From 2008-2016, he was a TV host for a political talk show in Taiwan. Since August 2016, Prof. Dr. Shieh is for the second time Taiwan’s representative in Germany.