Grand Hotel Taipei

China-Taiwan Relations Speakers

Rafe Fletcher
editor at Chartwell Speakers

In May last year, Niall Ferguson predicted Covid-19 would be China’s ‘Chernobyl moment’; an event that showed the weakness of authoritarian rule and undermined its role on the global stage. But, one year on, the narrative has changed. While China has attracted blame for its initial handling of the Wuhan outbreak, it has been praised for its efforts in stamping out the virus within its own borders. China was the only major economy to register growth in 2020 and has set a target of 6% for 2021. Far from alienating foreign partners, it has won friends through supplying PPE to countries in need and, now, for its vaccine diplomacy. Its most prominent foe, Donald Trump, has left office.

The pandemic has burst the Hong Kong protest movement. Large gatherings are banned under emergency pandemic legislation and the National Security Law criminalises the sentiments expressed by the protesters. International opposition in the form of American sanctions and the UK’s BNO scheme is unlikely to derail the integration of the Special Administrative Region into the mainland.

Xi Jingping’s target of ‘complete reunification’ now lacks one territory: Taiwan. The passage of time presents a dilemma for China. Increasingly, the island’s population identifies as a distinctive nation. The ruling DPP rejects the ‘One-China’ principle. China’s offer of peaceful reunification under a ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle has lost its appeal in light of the Hong Kong crackdown.

Taipei City, Taiwan

China’s Vice Foreign Minister, Le Yucheng, recently said there is ‘simply no room for compromise’ on the Taiwan question. Its recent military drills and increased capabilities indicate China is capable of taking the island by force. As the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party approaches, might the country now look towards its final frontier in soothing national pride?

The issue heralds two big questions. Firstly, what is China’s true intent? Secondly, what would be the consequences of an invasion? Aside from the huge geopolitical repercussions, Taiwan is the global leader in the semiconductor industry. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company accounts for more than 50% of the global market. The digital economy is reliant on semiconductors and an interruption to their production would be crippling for the world economy.

Chartwell recommends these experts to discuss the situation:

Ryan Hass headshot

Ryan Hass, Former Adviser to President Barack Obama on US policy towards China and Author, ‘Stronger: Adapting America’s China Strategy in an Age of Competitive Interdependence’

Bonnie Glaser, Director, China Power Project at Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Former Member of the Defense Department’s China Panel and expert on Chinese foreign policy.

Nicholas Lardy, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), Author of ‘The State Strikes Back: The End of Economic Reform in China?’ and expert on the Chinese economy.

Kishore Mahbubani, President, UN Security Council (2001, 2002), Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the University of Singapore and Author of ‘The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World’.

Jamil Anderlini, Asia Editor for the Financial Times, awarded Journalist of the Year at the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Editorial Excellence Awards in 2010 and Author, ‘The Bo Xilai Scandal’.

Andrew Heyn, British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macao (2016-20), UK Ambassador to Myanmar (Burma) (2009-13) and expert on China’s Domestic and Foreign Policy.

Demetri Sevastopulo, US/China Correspondent, Financial Times, Washington Bureau Chief, Financial Times (2015-21) and Foreign Policy Commentator – US, East Asia and China


If you are interested in booking any of the above speakers, please get in touch.

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