Asia Research Institute

Taiwan Studies Programme Lecture: Facing the Mainland: How Taiwan Asserts Herself in the International Community

B18 Law and Social Sciences Building, University Park
Wednesday 17th May 2017 (16:00-18:00)

Chun-Yi Lee (academic contact)  or Mandy Felton (administrative support)

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception at 5.30pm in B18, Law and Social Sciences Building, University Park.


The Taiwan Studies Programme is delighted to announce that Ambassador Shen, former Representative (Ambassador) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the United States will be presenting in the 2016/17 series of Taiwan Studies lectures on "Facing the Mainland: How Taiwan Asserts Herself in the International Community."

Speaker biography

Lyushun Shen, former Taiwan Representative (Ambassador) to the United States from 2014 to 2016 and previously Representative (Ambassador) to the UK from 2011 to 2014, and concurrently Representative to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2009 to 2011, Representative (Ambassador) to the European Union from 2008 to 2009.


Taiwan, an island only about one-seventh the territorial size of the United Kingdom, endured a difficult time during the early 1950s, in many ways similar to what the British people had experienced at the beginning of the WWII. President Chiang Kai-shek's loss of mainland China to the Communists and the relocation of his government to Taiwan to a large extent remind us of the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 and the single handed resistance of the British people that followed the Nazi occupation of continental Europe.

Writing at the time, few observers held optimistic views on the future of Chiang's government. Nevertheless, through the efforts made by the people of Taiwan for several generations, as well as skillful management of great power politics and cross-straits relations, Taiwan manages to not only maintain survival and prosperity but also sustains herself as an indispensable player in the International community.

Today, however, the rise of mainland China itself, the consistent pressure by Beijing to limit Taiwan's international space and even the informal summit between U.S. President Trump and President Xi Jinping, looks likely to further marginalise Taiwan's role in international arena. Domestically, it seems Taiwan is also at an identity crossroads. The current government's pursuit of "transitional justice" not only stirs up internal controversy but also touches on some sensitive nerves across the Taiwan straits.

As the Taipei-Beijing relationship is now hitting a grim deadlock, largely due to the latter's insistence on the former's acceptance or acknowledgment of the "one-China" principle, Taiwan is indeed facing a new stage of challenges, both domestic and external. The speaker, however, is most interested in discussing the various formulas attempting to resolve or defuse such impasse with the audience. He, in offering relevant analyses, will nevertheless supplement them with his many years of diplomatic experience as Taiwan's top representative to the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union consecutively.

Asia Research Institute

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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