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Beyond the Dumpling Aliance: Tracking Taiwan’s relations with CEE

by CEIAS

Mar 13, 2023 in CEIAS Insights

Beyond the Dumpling Aliance: Tracking Taiwan’s relations with CEE

Dear friends and colleagues,
It has been almost a year since CEIAS launched the Center for CEE-Taiwan Relations, an initiative tasked with producing and disseminating expert knowledge necessary for ensuring the sustainable development of relations between Taiwan and the EU while having a special focus on the CEE countries.

We would like to share with you news about our latest outputs from the CEIAS Center for CEE-Taiwan Relations: 

  • a new report on the state of CEE-Taiwan relations
  • results of a Taiwan-V4 public opinion survey
  • and more… 

Dumpling Alliance and beyond

“Freedom-loving people should look out for each other!” tweeted Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis on 22 June 2021, as his country approved donations of COVID-19 vaccines for Taiwan. Thanks to their vaccine donations, Lithuania, together with Czechia, Poland, and Slovakia, gained substantial political goodwill among Taiwanese elites and the population.

Over the past three years, cooperation between Taiwan and these four Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, dubbed the “Dumpling Alliance” by the Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association, gained recognition both within and outside Taiwan as a European vanguard that has increasingly frequent interactions with Taiwan. During a recent phone conversation between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Peter Pavel, the Czech president-elect, Pavel expressed hope for an in-person meeting with Tsai.

To improve our understanding of where individual CEE states stand when it comes to Taiwan, we have published Beyond the Dumpling Alliance: Tracking Taiwan’s relations with Central and Eastern Europe an extensive report mapping the current state of relations among Taiwan and 12 CEE states.

READ THE REPORT


According to the data collected by the CEIAS EU-Taiwan Tracker, the EU recorded a significant increase in its Taiwan-related activity between 2019 and 2022. In 2019, only 23 interactions were recorded across the entire EU. In 2022, despite recovering from a pandemic, the number increased more than seven-fold, with 167 recorded interactions.

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CEE countries were major contributors to this increase, responsible for almost 60% of all interactions in 2022. This has been mostly thanks to the activities of Lithuania, Slovakia, Czechia, and Poland, with the former two having more yearly engagements with Taiwan than major member states, such as France or Germany.

If we look at the CEE countries through the prism of their willingness to engage Taiwan politically, and eagerness in building economic relations, three different country groups emerge:

  • The “Vanguards” are countries with an increased activity level in both political and economic relations with Taiwan over the past three to five years. Spurred by increasing skepticism about China’s ability to deliver economic benefits, these countries turned to Taiwan as the next East Asian cornucopia, with high-visibility political interactions between Taiwan and the four having led to the establishing of new economic partnerships in investment, trade, as well as research and development.
  • The “Pragmatists” include those countries that are quite warry (for a variety of reasons) to pursue political relations with Taiwan, yet enjoy beneficial economic relations. These countries also present the most interesting puzzle; their economic engagement with Taiwan at times overcomes even that of the Vanguard nations but without showing a strong willingness to promote Taiwan in their political agenda.
  • Last, we have the “Laggards”, the CEE countries with comparatively underdeveloped relations with Taiwan in both political and economic domains, without any indication of near-term change. Their approach to Taiwan (or lack thereof) is motivated by different factors. Among these is the view that any interaction with Taiwan will automatically antagonize, and disrupt their respective trade relations with China.

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Are you intrigued to learn more? Then head to our website to see the whole report.

READ THE REPORT


Taiwan-V4 public opinion: solid basis but space for improvement

Favorable mutual public opinion can serve as an important driver for deeper engagements between countries. Relations between Taiwan and the V4 countries are no exception.

CEIAS analysts have taken a closer look at how the people in Taiwan, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia perceive each other. These are the top takeaways:

  • Overall, there is limited mutual knowledge and awareness among Taiwan and the V4 countries. However, there are positive trends that both sides can build upon to improve their images further.
  • In Taiwan, the V4 countries are already seen positively. In turn, Taiwan is perceived neutrally among the V4 countries.
  • Survey results suggest that those with more awareness and knowledge of Taiwan tend to be more positive toward it.
  • In Taiwan, voters of the Democratic Progressive Party are more favorable toward the V4 countries than voters of the Kuomintang. Among the V4 countries, political divisions are especially visible in Czechia and Slovakia and, to a lesser degree, in Poland. Interestingly, there are no visible differences between voters of Hungary’s governing Fidesz party and its opposition, despite PM Viktor Orban’s cozying up to China over the past decade.
  • Efficient public diplomacy, which would spread awareness about Taiwan and the V4 countries on both sides, can further improve the mutual image and understanding between the two sides.

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EXPLORE THE SURVEY


 

Authors

Key Topics

CEEEUpublic opinionV4Taiwan

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