Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Understanding the EU: Student Exchange Center to open in Taiwan

The Taipei Times noted that an EU Center will be opening in Taiwan in May. The purpose of this is to

“…facilitate exchanges and mutual understanding with the European economic bloc” and to

“…enhance Taiwanese knowledge of the EU”

It’s great the EU is trying to promote economic understanding between Taiwan and the European bloc that follows its previous establishment of these centers first in the U.S. to help students understand the EU.

“The EU began working with U.S. universities in the late 1990s to open EU Centers in the U.S. and promote better understanding of the EU among students” and they are “successfully serving the purpose for which they were established”

And later it

“Expanded to the Asia-Pacific region, with centers in Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Taiwan will become the third East Asian country with the center.”

What I find interesting is why they chose Taiwan, instead of China. Taiwan has a unique political status in the international community. Only about 23 countries have full diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which do not include the countries in the EU or the United States (The Republic of China Yearbook, 2008).

Personally, I think China has advantages over Taiwan in terms of political and economic status in the international community. But then again Taiwan is more similar to the EU’s members in terms of economic and political structure. I guess the issue here might be the relative attractiveness of democracies to the EU rather that international influence.

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