Taiwan holds a special and important place in the international system and in U.S. foreign policy. The People’s Republic of China regards Taiwan as part of China, has sought to limit Taiwan’s international status, and pursues a long-term goal of reunification. Although the Republic of China on Taiwan has formal diplomatic relations with only 22 states and is excluded from many international organizations, Taiwan enjoys robust unofficial relations with the United States and much of the world. It is the world’s 22nd largest economy and the U.S.’s 10th largest trading partner. Although not a formal ally, Taiwan is a security partner of the United States and a stable democracy. During the last twenty-five years, Taiwan’s political relations with the Chinese Mainland have swung between crisis and rapprochement while economic ties have grown rapidly. These developments have created uncertainty about regional security and contention in Taiwan’s domestic politics. With the campaign to elect a new president in January 2016 under way in Taiwan and PRC President Xi Jinping scheduled for a state visit to Washington next month, how does Taiwan view the challenges and opportunities ahead, in its relations with the Mainland and the U.S., and its place in the East Asian region?
To address these issues, we are especially pleased to welcome back to Philadelphia (and to FPRI) the Hon. Lyushun Shen, the Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. An alumnus of FPRI, Dr. Shen performs the functions of an ambassador in the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the ROC. Ambassador Shen has extensive experience in the ROC foreign ministry, serving as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (2009-2011) and as Representative to the United Kingdom (2011-2014) and the EU (2008-2009). He received his Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, and was a pre-doctoral fellow at FPRI.
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