On Tuesday, February 6th, 2024, Global Neighbours hosted a lively dialogue with Prof. Gu Xuewu (Bonn University) and Prof. Eberhard Sandschneider (Berlin Global Advisors) at the China Club Berlin, exploring potential geopolitical ramifications of the 2024 Taiwanese elections.

With 2024 being a Super Election Year with more than 40 percent of the world’s population going to the ballots, one of the potentially most consequential ones already happened in Taiwan.

Prof. Gu provided an insightful perspective on the election results, emphasizing Taiwan’s intricate and complex relationship with China and the United States. He advocated for a nuanced view, describing it as a trilateral relationship shaped by shared certainties and mutual mistrust among all involved parties. Prof. Gu outlined four key characteristics: shared knowledge (independence equals war), shared mistrust (see each other as scheming) , shared understanding (deterrence is not enough), and shared tactics (delay is the best way). It is this unique combination of these characters that prevents the Taiwan conflict from escalating into a military one. For Prof. Gu, all three actors, Beijing, Washington and Taipei are slowly, but decisively, moving away from an obsession on military deterrence to encompass diplomatic assurances making an outbreak of a war cross the Taiwan strait unlikely.

Prof. Sandschneider stressed the often-underestimated depth of cooperative ties between Taiwan and China, not only regarding their robust economic relationship, characterized by significant Taiwanese investments in mainland China’s real estate sector, but also their social interconnectedness. Moreover, he addressed the Taiwan conflict, frequently labelled as a “frozen conflict,” highlighting the occasional thawing.

The ensuing discussion among attendees offered additional valuable input on the complexities of cross-strait relations. As geopolitical tensions persist, understanding these intricacies becomes increasingly imperative for stakeholders invested in East Asian affairs.

Organizer: Global Neighbours GmbH/e.V.
Guest Speaker: Prof. Gu Xuewu & Prof. Eberhard Sandschneider
Date & Location: 06 February 2024 at the China Club Berlin

Image: cwa – stock.adobe.com