Taiwan’s Quest for Greater Participation in the International Community

Taiwan’s ambiguous international status has long complicated its ability to participate in international organizations in which the rest of the world shares information and makes critical global decisions. The island’s 23 million people cannot reap the benefits that derive from full membership in most international organizations and are unable to contribute their well-developed knowledge, skills, and resources to issues that directly affect them, such as civil aviation regulations, natural disaster response and recovery, and regional economic cooperation. Being barred from international economic organizations erodes Taiwan’s international competitiveness and hinders economic liberalization of the domestic economy as well as its further integration regionally.

This report puts the issue of Taiwan’s challenges in expanding its international participation in the broader context of the cross-strait relationship and explains the policies of Taipei, Beijing, and Washington. It discusses Taiwan’s participation in international governmental and nongovernmental organizations and its progress in signing free trade agreements with other nations and joining the regional economic integration process. The report includes policy recommendations for Taiwan, Mainland China, and the United States to manage this issue in ways that protect and promote the interests of all three parties.

Bonnie S. Glaser