To view this PAPER PRESENTATION, search for the session title in the Browse by Titlelisting. (See the session title located immediately below ["In Session:"])
China and Inner Asia
In Session: Taiwan in the World: Subnational and Supranational Perspectives
1: The Viral Connection: The COVID-19 Pandemic, Taiwan, and the World Health Organization
Friday, March 26, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Wake Forest University, United States
In 2003, as the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) disease was ravaging through Taiwan, the Taiwanese government demonstrated its capability in public health crisis management. Even so, Taiwan failed to gain a seat in the World Health Organization (WHO) after repeated attempts. In the current COVID-19 virus outbreak, Taiwan has again exemplified its impressive capability in its management of health network, rapid mobilization of resources, and effective administrative command and coordination in tackling the pandemic.
This paper explores whether or not the COVID-19 outbreak has cultivated favorable conditions for Taiwan's quest for WHO membership and what factors have prevented the realization of Taiwan's pursuit. The study first maps out the evolution of WHO in its institutional mission, functional tasks, and policy challenges. The next section analyzes the similarities and differences between the 2003 SARS crisis and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in terms of actors and political contexts on a two-level game. It follows with an investigation of what the island country has worked tirelessly to achieve in disease control, diplomatic connection, and media engagement to facilitate Taiwan's pursuit for a meaningful participation in the WHO and how China's powerful influence within the organization impeded Taiwan's efforts. Finally, it draws some conclusive remarks on our understanding of the prospect of Taiwan's international participation and the status of the cross-Strait relations.