The Political Economy of Taiwan's Relations with Southeast Asia: Beyond Diplomacy

Event Date: 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • The Lane Room (Ellison 3824)

The Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan has been diplomatically isolated from the international community since October 1971 when the ROC withdrew from the United Nations. Taiwan has never been left out in the international arena, however, due to the island’s sustained development over its political economy. Taiwan’s relations with Southeast have presented a good example.

Taiwan does not have any diplomatic partner in Southeast Asia, but the island has maintained a very stable relationship with major countries in the region. Economically, Taiwan has been a major trading partner for Southeast Asia for years, and vice versa. In addition, migrant workers from Southeast Asia take a great majority (more than 95%) of foreign labor force in Taiwan.    

This does not mean that diplomacy is not significant for Taiwan. Rather, the island continues to face the challenge of political isolation, which has prevented the island from participating international activities that is crucial in the globalization era. Taiwan is also facing economic marginalization since the new century when regional economic blocs began to prevail.

This paper shows Taiwan has gone beyond diplomacy over its relations of thriving political economy with Southeast Asia, but the author also argues that the ROC government has no way to stay away from the rising China over the island’s eventual status as a nation-state.  

Professor Samuel C.Y. Ku received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in June 1989, and he started his academic career at the National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan since September 1989. Professor Ku is Vice President of Wenzao University in Taiwan. Professor Ku’s major research interests include Southeast Asia’s political development, comparative politics, China and Southeast Asia, and Taiwan’s relations with Southeast Asia.  While two thirds of Professor Ku's articles, more than seventy, are published in Chinese, his English articles have appeared in such international journals as Asian Survey, Asian Perspective, Asian Profile, Asian Affairs, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Issues and Studies, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Asian and African Studies, World Affairs, etc.

In addition, Professor Ku has also published more than ten Chinese books on Southeast Asia in Taiwan, including Singapore: Forty Years of Change (2006), , Vietnam: Twenty Years of Rapid Change (2007), The Philippines: Twenty Years of Turbulence (2008), Malaysia: Fifty Years Since Independence (2009), Thailand: Sixty Years of Rama IX (2010), Myanmar: Fifty Years of Military Dictatorship (2015), and Government and Politics of Southeast Asia: Continuity and Change (2013).

PS 595 Credit