The Quest for Recognition: Taiwan’s Military and Trade Agreements with Singapore Under the One-China Policy
International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Vol. 19 (1) (Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 89-115
27 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2017 Last revised: 23 Dec 2018
Date Written: April 24, 2017
The article examines the evolution of Taiwan’s relationship with Singapore since the 1960s as a unique case study in the Asia-Pacific. The theoretical concept of recognition in international relations (IR) and its nexus with international law are used to analyze the conclusion of the bilateral military and trade agreements absent diplomatic relations. The article argues that beyond security dimensions, the two states’ struggles for recognition exhibit the formation of national identities, which invigorate the claims for sovereign state status in global politics. First, this article explores the emerging notion of recognition in IR and sheds light on the significance of Taiwan’s presidential visit to Singapore under its one-China policy. Second, it explains Singapore’s pursuit of external sovereignty that led to substantive defense cooperation with Taiwan, as well as the role of Lee Kuan Yew in facilitating Beijing-Taipei negotiations. Finally, it assesses contemporary developments such as the inking of the Taiwan-Singapore free trade agreement and the first-ever summit between the presidents of China and Taiwan in Singapore. Hence, the political and legal analysis of Singapore-Taiwan relations enriches the study of IR and contributes to the understanding of the foreign policy of China and Southeast Asia.
Keywords: ASEAN, foreign policy, identity, Singapore, status, sovereignty, Taiwan
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