Recently, there has been a growing pressure upon the Taiwanese National Strategy, and it challenges the state from four different levels: politically, militarily, economically, and psychologically. Politically, Taiwan confronts severe pressure from both Mainland China and the US. Militarily, Taiwan faces constant military threat from the Beijing government and the refusal and delay on military sale from the US government. Both of these external factors have deeply affected the Taiwanese economy. Furthermore, it has created a psychological confrontation between the people on both sides of the Taiwanese straits. It is therefore fair to say that the country deals with an undesired isolation. Nevertheless, Taiwanese NGOs like Tzu Chi has been participating in various international humanitarian aid programmes. Moreover, these NGOs may also work with foreign governmental organisations that execute local charity works. However, these are the type of activities that cannot be conducted by the Taiwanese foreign affairs officials or the government. The Taiwanese government has been restricted in international participation due to the lack of global recognition. Consequently, NGOs that are able to perform on the country’s behalf in regard to Soft Power Diplomacy becomes a new option.
Taiwan is neither a country with forcible military power nor a state with strong economic strength. Therefore, the country cannot achieve any diplomatic breakthrough solely based on the traditional hard power. In comparison with Mainland China, it is difficult for Taiwan to overtake its neighbour’s fast growing military power. Moreover, with the development of globalisation that overlaps with the growing trend of international dependency, it has limited the usage of military power in the current international field. Consequently, small countries like Taiwan may want to invest more on the Soft Power whilst engaging in international affairs. Nevertheless, the importance of military power should not be overlooked.
Accordingly, the purpose of the research are as follows: First, define the meaning and origin of “soft power”. Second, analyse the “soft power” of the Ma government. Third, analyse the “soft power” that has been conducted with the Viable Diplomacy and its result.
Overall, the diplomatic space of Taiwan has been constrained by lack of hard power and the severe international environment. Therefore, it is crucial for Taiwan to seek for an alternative path in expanding (and retaining) its diplomatic space. Under the current Ma government a series of alternative diplomatic policies (also known as the Viable Diplomacy) has been practiced. Through data collecting, the paper will try to define the meaning of Soft Power and examine case studies that are related to the category. The paper will also analyse the correlation between Ma’s Viable Diplomacy and soft power. Moreover, the paper will compare the Viable Diplomacy with the Scorched Earth Diplomacy that was practiced under the previous Chen government. The paper will end by analysing the Viable Diplomacy from the Psychological Strategy.
In other words, the paper will start by observing the soft power related actions taken though out the Taiwanese diplomatic history. Followed by analysing the result of the current Viable Diplomacy. Furthermore, the paper will also compare the Viable Diplomacy with the Scorched Earth Diplomacy that was undertaken by the previous Chen government. The paper is determined to clarify which one of two diplomatic strategies is more practical therefore earns more diplomatic space for Taiwan. The paper will also analyse the diplomatic breakthroughs that has been achieved by practicing Flexible Diplomacy and soft power. And how these breakthroughs can be related to the Psychological Strategy.