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ISDP's Stockholm Taiwan Center Newsletter

Introducing ISDP's Stockholm Taiwan Center

Understanding Taiwan and its unique position in international affairs has never been more important. Lodged between competing great powers and under significant external pressure, Taiwan conducted its 2024 elections. No party now holds a parliamentary majority and political competition will be of increasing significance moving forward with international implications. As NATO continues its pivot to the Indo-Pacific and European interest in the region grows, increased scrutiny of tensions in the Taiwan-Strait will follow. Understanding Taiwan’s position in the international community, the complexities of Cross-Strait Relations and the politics of Taiwan has perhaps never been more pressing. Reflecting this necessity, the Institute for Security and Development Policy has established the Stockholm Taiwan Center.

ISDP’s Stockholm Taiwan Center aims to be the leading hub of Taiwan studies in the Nordic region and Europe. The Center will strive to bring timely policy-oriented research, analysis and events with diverse perspectives to its audience of policymakers, practitioners and the educated public. In addition, the Center will facilitate dialogues on topical and important issues related to Taiwan.

The Stockholm Taiwan Center has four principal areas of focus for its research - ‘Taiwan’s Relations with the Nordic Countries and Europe,’ ‘Developments in Taiwan’s Democracy,’ ‘Cross-Strait Relations and Security Issues,’ and ‘Taiwan’s Position in International Affairs.’ The Center is, however, not limited to this scope of interest and will continuously strive to provide its audience with research and analysis around topical issues. The Stockholm Taiwan Center aims to further cultivate cooperation with partners to expand knowledge and expertise about Taiwan. To this end, the newly established Center will publish a series of publications focusing on why Taiwan matters to Europe.

The Stockholm Taiwan Center consists of Mr. Agust Börjesson, Research Fellow and Acting Head of the Stockholm Taiwan Center, Dr. Niklas Swanström, Executive Director of ISDP, Ms. Yi-Chieh Chen, Junior Research Fellow and Mr. Kurt Abalos, Intern.

As part of the Stockholm Taiwan Center launch, we are delighted to also be joined by Mr. Brian Iselin in the position of Senior Research Fellow and Senior Development and Partnership Liaison.

Current Tension in the Taiwan Strait
On February 14, a Chinese speedboat was chased by and collided with a Taiwanese Coast Guard vessel near Kinmen, an island close to China that is under Taiwan’s rule, resulting in the death of two Chinese nationals. Since then, the tension between Taiwan and China has escalated as the latter has been conducting ‘grey zone tactics’ to patrol the waters close to Kinmen, breaking the once-held understanding of prohibited and restricted waters. Although the first-round negotiations were completed, both sides continue to carefully engage one another on the issue to minimize the potential conflict. However, even if negotiations might be fully completed soon, China might continuously use their 'grey zone tactics' to normalize its jurisdiction over Taiwan-ruled waters, similar to its actions of continuously crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait with military aircraft. Such circumstances can also extend to China’s unilateral announcement of the M503 flight route adjustment on January 30. After the flight route adjustment, the M503 route is only 7.8 kilometers from the median line, which might squeeze Taiwan’s reaction time in air defense. The Kinmen boat collision incident and the adjustment of the M503 flight route suggest that China will continue applying 'grey zone tactics' to gradually normalize its presence in the Taiwan Strait. China’s intense and unyielding efforts are likely aimed at influencing Taiwan and the international community equally. In making the international community accustomed to a variety of Chinese military incursions and presence in the Taiwan Strait, observers may find it increasingly challenging to identify escalating behavior.
 
Yi-Chieh Chen
Junior Research Fellow

 

The Stockholm Taiwan Center (STC) is a policy-oriented research center at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP). The center is dedicated to efforts of contributing to greater knowledge and understanding about Taiwan’s significance and importance in international affairs. Focusing on issues related to international and domestic politics, security issues, economics and culture, the center provides expertise and serves as a platform for knowledge exchange and cooperation in the Nordic countries and Europe.
Conferences & Webinars
The STC organizes the annual “Taiwan-Nordic Forum”, alternating in location between Stockholm and Taipei each year. The event brings together ...

 

Recent Publications

Article: Between Economy and Sovereignty: The Role of the RMB in China-Taiwan Relations
Brian Iselin's article explores how China's currency strategies intertwine with its geopolitical ambitions, offering insights into the complex interplay between economic policies and sovereignty issues and the RMB as a foil for potential aggression against Taiwan. The article is a must-read for those interested in understanding the evolving landscape of international finance and political economy. Read more...

Issue brief: The Political Split at the Heart of Taiwan’s Struggle against Foreign Disinformation
Agust Börjesson and Yi-Chieh Chen's piece analyzes Taiwan’s struggle and achievements in dealing with foreign disinformation. They argue that the political split in Taiwan’s society and politics is the soft spot for foreign disinformation to break through, which prevents Taiwan from building a solid bipartisan national security around the issue. Read more...

Blog post: Cross-Color Moves a Harbinger of Change in Taiwan?
Yi-Chieh Chen offers a glimpse of Taiwan’s two-party system and the political climate in Taiwan’s presidential election. She argues that the rigid dynamics between Kuomintang and Democratic Progressive Party might change due to the emergence of the Taiwan People’s Party. Read more...


Event recordings

Check out our Taiwan’s 2024 Elections series! Below, you can watch the recordings.

Institute for Security and Development Policy - YouTube