China’s Coronavirus Problem Is an Opportunity for Taiwan
As the coronavirus wreaks political and economic havoc on the nations of East Asia, one has stood out as a literal island of responsibility and efficiency: Taiwan. Its public-health response is being held up as a global model — only one death and fewer than 100 cases, so far — which is remarkable given that China has blocked it from membership in the World Health Organization. The government also was quick to recognize the scale of the potential economic disruption, rolling out a $2 billion financial support plan a month ago.
A major question is what effect the virus will have on President Tsai Ing-wen’s signature regional initiative, the New Southbound Policy. She hopes her landslide re-election in January will give new momentum to her simple, smart plan: taking Taiwan’s dynamic growth engine and using it to build links across the western Pacific for economic prosperity and as a bulwark against Beijing’s aspirations for regional dominance. From its strategic location at the northern entrance to South China Sea, Taiwan setting a course southward into disputed waters. What should the U.S. be doing to help fill its sails?