Rethinking Non-Recognition: Taiwan’s New Pivot to ASEAN and the One-China Policy
Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 33:2 (2020), pp. 204-28
26 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2019 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020
Date Written: June 18, 2019
The article examines the evolution of Taiwan’s engagement in Southeast Asia since the 1990s as a unique case study in international law and international relations (IR). Under the one-China policy, the evolution of bilateral relations with Taiwan highlights the theoretical concept of recognition premised on identity and status in interstate affairs. The article argues that the states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have established diverse forms of recognition of Taiwan in line with a policy of non-recognition. While such recognition has not amounted to recognition of statehood in international law, it demonstrates the IR concept of recognition as a gradual process in state practice. To substantiate the contention, the article examines the diplomatic privileges and immunities that ASEAN countries have accorded to Taiwan. The conclusion of bilateral trade and investment agreements has also galvanized various modes of recognizing Taiwan’s treaty-making capacity and the legitimacy of official cooperation. Hence, the findings not only enrich the study of IR, but also contribute to a broader understanding of the role of China and contemporary Asia-Pacific politics.
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