Book Launch: Taiwan's Economic and Diplomatic Challenges and Opportunities

Key information

4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Mariah Thornton, Robert Ash, Michael Reilly, Richard Bush, Lin Kun-chin, Lee Chun-yi, Dafydd Fell, Jan Knoerich

As part of the 2021 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend .

This event will be held online through Microsoft Teams. Here is the LINK .

*Please be aware that all Summer School event times follow British Summer Time (BST)


This book offers a diverse set of perspectives on the current state of Taiwan’s economy and international relations, equally considering the challenges and opportunities that could forge Taiwan’s future.

Featuring a range of interdisciplinary approaches, this edited volume has been written by some of the leading scholars on Taiwan’s economy and international relations, as well as emerging scholars and writers with practical diplomatic, political, and civil society experience. Contributors cover themes from political economy and international relations to gender studies and civil society-led LGBT diplomacy. Readers will benefit from chapters outlining both the historical overview of Taiwan’s development and more recent developments, with several chapters offering focused case studies into Taiwan’s economy and international space. A balanced set of conclusions are reached, affording scope for both optimism and pessimism about Taiwan’s prospects.

Taiwan's Economic and Diplomatic Challenges and Opportunities will appeal to students and scholars of international relations, economics, and Taiwan studies.

Speaker Biographies

Mariah Thornton is an enthusiastic researcher of Chinese politics with an undergraduate degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford and an MSc in the Politics of China from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. From 2012 to 2013 she completed a year abroad at Peking University and later received the Huayu Scholarship from the Taiwan Ministry of Education to undergo intensive study of Mandarin at National Taiwan Normal University from 2015 to 2016. Mariah Thornton worked as a press and communications adviser at the Taipei Representative Office in the United Kingdom under Representative and former Foreign Minister David Y.L. Lin from 2018 to 2020.

Robert Ash (Bob Ash) is an Emeritus Professor at SOAS University of London, and Founder and Professorial Research Associate of the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS. Before his retirement in 2020 he was Professor of Economics with reference to China and Taiwan, and Professorial Fellow of the SOAS China Institute. From 1986 to 1995 he was Head of the Contemporary China Institute at SOAS; during 1997・2001 he was Director of the EU-China Academic Network. From 1999 to 2013 Bob Ash was Director of the SOAS Taiwan Studies Programme and its Centre of Taiwan Studies. In 2012 he received the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROC Government in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Taiwan Studies in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Bob Ash has held visiting research and teaching positions at universities in Australia, Hong Kong, France, and Italy. He has been researching China for more than 40 years and has written or edited 15 books, mainly on development issues relating to China, but also on issues relating to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Michael Reilly is a former career diplomat with over 30 years’ experience, principally handling UK policy towards East and South East Asia, Ambassador Reilly’s final Foreign and Commonwealth Office appointment was as Director of the British Trade and Cultural office in Taipei from 2005-2009, the de facto British ambassador to Taiwan. Upon leaving Taiwan he joined BAE Systems, initially as Director, Far East, responsible for strategic advice on the company’s business development in North East Asia, before going on to serve as the company’s Chief Representative in China, based in Beijing, from 2011 to 2014. Ambassador Reilly retired from BAE Systems in 2015, since then he has pursued academic research, principally on the EU’s relations with Taiwan, but also on Taiwan’s railway history. In 2016, he was a Visiting Fellow at Academia Sinica in Taipei under the auspices of the Taiwan Fellowship programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan). His latest book, The Implications of Brexit for East Asia, co-edited with David W. F. Huang, was published in summer 2018.

Richard Bush is a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies (CEAP) at Brookings. From July 2002 to June 2018, he served as the director of the center, and from 2013 until 2020 he served as the inaugural Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies. He also holds a joint appointment as a nonresident senior fellow in the Brookings John L. Thornton China Center. He is the author of a number of articles on China’s relations with its neighbors, particularly Taiwan. He is author of "At Cross Purposes: U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942," a book of essays on the history of America’s relations with Taiwan published in March 2004 by M.E. Sharpe; and of "Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait," a book on cross-Strait political relations published by the Brookings Institution Press in July 2005. Bush co-wrote "A War Like No Other: The Truth About China’s Challenge to America" (Wiley, 2007), which examines the challenges that the United States faces in avoiding conflict and developing its relationship with China, with Brookings scholar Michael O’Hanlon. He is the author of "Perils of Proximity: China-Japan Security Relations" (Brookings, 2010), "Uncharted Strait: The Future of China-Taiwan Relations" (Brookings, 2013), and, most recently, "Hong Kong in the Shadow of China: Living with the Leviathan" (Brookings, 2016), a study of recent developments in Hong Kong and its political and economic future. He is currently completing a new book about Taiwan, "Difficult Choices: Taiwan’s Quest for Security and the Good Life," which will be published by the Brookings Institution Press.

Lin Kun-chin is a senior fellow of the Centre for Industrial Sustainability, and a member of Energy@Cambridge, Cambridge Centre for the Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG), and Centre for Science & Policy (CSaP) of the University of Cambridge. He is an editorial board member of Business & Politics, Maritime Policy & Management, and Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, and chair of the editorial board of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.

Lee Chun-yi is Associate Professor at school of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham. She is also the director of Taiwan Studies Program at Nottingham. Chun-Yi's first book was published by Routledge in 2011: Taiwanese Business or Chinese Security Asset. The book is under Leiden Series in Modern East Asia History and Politics. Chun-Yi applied from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) with Prof. Andreas Bieler on the project, 'Globalisation, national transformation and workers' rights: An analysis of Chinese labour within the global economy' in 2010. This project successfully received the funding from the ESRC and started to operate from October 2011 till September 2014. In viewing the Chinese labour facing the challenge of industrial upgrading, Chun-yi applied a research project funded by Chiang-Ching-kuo (CCK) Foundation in Taiwan in relation to 'Chinese Investment in Taiwan: Challenge or Opportunity for Taiwan's Industrial Development'. This project has finished in December 2016. Currently, Chun-yi is working on a public policy research project, to compare Taiwan and UK government's strategies to counter Covid-19. Meanwhile Chun-yi is working her second monograph on the topic of 'China's New Normal: The Impact of China's Rise on the Global Political Economy'.

Dafydd Fell is the Reader in Comparative Politics with special reference to Taiwan at the Department of Politics and International Studies of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is also the Director of the SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies. In 2004 he helped establish the European Association of Taiwan Studies. He has published numerous articles on political parties and electioneering in Taiwan. His first book was Party Politics in Taiwan (2005), which analysed party change in the first 15 years of multi-party competition. His second book was Government and Politics in Taiwan (2011) and the second edition was published in early 2018. He co-edited Migration to and from Taiwan (2013) and his next edited volume, Social Movements in Taiwan, under Ma Ying-jeou was published in 2017. His most recent co-edited book was Taiwan Studies Revisited, published in 2019. He is also the book series editor for the Routledge Research on Taiwan Series.

Jan Knoerich is Senior Lecturer in the Economy of China at the Lau China Institute and Department of International Development, King’s College London’s School of Global Affairs. His research examines the business, political economy and development dimensions of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) and financial internationalisation. One strand of his research focuses on the political implications of mainland Chinese OFDI for host economies, including Taiwan. He has published in leading academic journals such as New Political Economy and the Chinese Journal of International Politics and co-edited a book with Paul Irwin Crookes on Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations in an Era of Technological Change: Security, Economic and Cultural Dimensions (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015). Before joining King’s College London, he was a Departmental Lecturer at the University of Oxford’s School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies and spent several years working for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. He holds a PhD in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

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