Walking the tightrope: Slovakia’s balancing act in the Taiwan Strait (Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy 2021)

Walking the tightrope: Slovakia’s balancing act in the Taiwan Strait (Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy 2021)

Cross-Strait relations between China and Taiwan were one of the most volatile hotspots of global tensions. Beijing’s increasingly hostile rhetoric and military posturing toward Taipei, including repeated violations of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, exacerbated the tensions, which became one of the defining points of the power competition between the US and China.

At the same time, Taiwan managed to improve its international standing by fostering relations with several partners in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), including Slovakia. CEE thus became an area over which Taiwan and China competed for international recognition.

However, even though CEE became an area of stiff competition between China and Taiwan, that does not mean that Slovakia lacks agency nor that it does not pursue its own interests vis-à-vis various East Asian countries.

As this competition was unfolding, Slovakia’s attempts to balance the two sets of relations and maximize the associated benefits, while minimizing the potential economic and diplomatic costs, became a defining feature of Slovakia’s foreign policy, not just toward the two countries but toward East Asia as such.

Interactions with the rest of the region remained rather limited due to the ongoing negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of material and financial resources, and the overall lack of strategy toward the region. As a result, even though economic relations with South Korea and Japan are far more beneficial than those with Taiwan and China, relations with these two East Asian democracies remained rather static throughout 2021. This is all the more striking given the continuing shift of the global geopolitical and geo-economic centers of gravity toward the Indo–Pacific region.

Thus, this chapter focuses on Slovak–Taiwanese and Slovak–Chinese relations as these were the most dynamic relations with East Asian states in 2021.

Find out more in the chapter by Matej Šimalčík, published in the Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy 2021. You can also read the full 2021 Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy on the website of Slovak Foreign Policy Association.

Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy 2021_Šimalčík


Matej Šimalčík
Matej Šimalčík

Executive Director

Key Topics

CEECOVID-19cross-strait relationsSlovakiaTaiwanChina


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