These countries couldn't be more different.
One, shrouded in mystery and at times threatening, is led by theocrats and a firebrand president who uses international venues to heckle the "Great Satan" while calling for the "destruction" of Israel. It stands accused of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, interfering in Iraq, fueling terrorism in Israel and Lebanon and threatening a strategic oil passage with venturesome attack craft.
Invidious or not, the charges leveled against that state have resulted in a seemingly logical development: It faces growing isolation and increasingly punitive sanctions.
A similarly cruel fate has befallen Taiwan, a small, vibrant democracy that threatens no one, except perhaps with its excessive greenhouse gas emissions, a country that seeks to participate in and contribute to international organizations and has long abandoned a desire for nuclear weapons.
In the bizarre world of diplomacy, the great and not-so-great powers have put Iran -- a state sponsor of terrorism and select member of the "axis of evil" -- and Taiwan, Asia's truest democracy, in the same rocky boat. Both face isolation at the UN and, if the new set of sanctions against Iran is adopted by the UN Security Council this week, both Iran and Taiwan will be among states whose officials are barred from traveling to most countries.
With one exception: Only Iranian officials found to be involved in missile and nuclear programs would face the travel ban. For Taiwanese, initiating a referendum on joining the UN -- or being Taiwanese -- is enough to attract the same punitive measures, as if both threatened international security equally.
Illogical though it may seem, seeking to develop weapons that can devastate the atmosphere and wanting to participate in multilateral organizations appear to be coterminous. If one didn't know any better, one would think that Taiwan is also part of the "axis of evil."
Although diplomatic ties with Tehran are not being officially terminated, the US and its Western allies have managed to force it into a corner, both diplomatically and financially, until it mends its ways, comes clean on the nuclear issue, stops opposing the peace process and ends its sponsoring of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.
In similar fashion, Beijing has used its considerable financial weight to whittle away at Taiwan's ramshackle retinue of allies, the latest one to be plucked out being Malawi. And just as the West has threatened whoever continues to deal with Iran, Beijing has also made it clear that diplomatic relations with Taiwan will cost those countries dearly. The only difference is that Taiwan does not have ways to mend and even if it did, its isolation would continue.
What, therefore, must Taiwan do to break out of this isolation? If, in this topsy-turvy world, good behavior brings nothing but opprobrium while irresponsible acts go unpunished, what are states expected to do?
What kind of example are we giving future generations when states that ask for nothing but recognition and peaceful coexistence -- so much so that a would-be president's vow "not to use force" can only be construed as the epitome of redundancy -- are treated like rogues, while those that repress their own people, aim more than 1,000 missiles at another country and possess enough nuclear weapons to give birth to a second sun are given the red-carpet treatment of business deals, diplomatic niceties and the Olympic Games?
Surely all those sagacious diplomats out there can tell the difference between apocalyptic Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and cajoling Chen Shui-bian (
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forward Forum in Taipei, former Singaporean minister for foreign affairs George Yeo (楊榮文) proposed a “Chinese commonwealth” as a potential framework for political integration between Taiwan and China. Yeo said the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait is unsustainable and that Taiwan should not be “a piece on the chessboard” in a geopolitical game between China and the US. Yeo’s remark is nothing but an ill-intentioned political maneuver that is made by all pro-China politicians in Singapore. Since when does a Southeast Asian nation have the right to stick its nose in where it is not wanted
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and
More Taiwanese semiconductor companies, from chip designers to suppliers of equipment and raw materials, are feeling the pinch due to increasing competition from their Chinese peers, who are betting all their resources on developing mature chipmaking technologies in a push for self-sufficiency, as their access to advanced nodes has been affected by US tech curbs. A lack of chip manufacturing technology such as extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) would ensure that Chinese companies — Huawei Technology Co in particular — lag behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co by five to six years, some analysts have said.
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,