Food serve as catalyst between China and Taiwan?

Taiwan, a country suffers from China’s pressure in every perspectives within the global system, can “food” effect Taiwan’s relationship with China even though Taiwan’s political system still undergoing China’s compression?Even though China does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country but a province that belong to China, they still make business between those two. Food, is part of the business that they trading on.

Start from 311 tsunami in Japan, the food shortage cause people panic that lead to unstable society. Country like Taiwan win political support (not in actual form) from people of japan to the politicians because they support them with food. This act help Taiwan’s political position in Asia under China’s compression, and let worldwide know Taiwan better. The successful example seems to be workable to China as well, however, this is not the case. Due to the preconceived that possess between Taiwan and China, the rescue will not be seen as grateful, not to mention political support. Eventually, Chinese media will frame the rescue as domestic act which decrease the appreciation from people in China. On the business perspective, it is even worse. Most recent years, Exported rice from Taiwan to China has been declined several times. The reason is because the label, “origin” is supposed to be labeled as China Taiwan, instead of Taiwan. Agriculture is an important industry to Taiwan’s economic, especially white rice. The act done by China is no doubt compressing  Taiwan’s economic and restrict Taiwan’s development and eventually has to dependent on China.

Food serves as a catalyst between Taiwan and China? Or it is a way China want to limit Taiwan’s economic? China act as Taiwan’s biggest product export country, literally has power over Taiwan not only on food trade but more fields. The problem is, food catalyst does not work and what is Taiwan’s next plan in order to survive?  

2 thoughts on “Food serve as catalyst between China and Taiwan?

  1. Jade Lauw

    Hi Kevin,

    I found your assessment on food’s role in Taiwan’s relationship with China to be very interesting. I am currently taking a U.S.-China relations class and if there is anything I’ve learned from it, is that China’s relationship with Taiwan is very complex, and economic restraints may just be the tip of the iceberg.
    It is interesting how China continues to export food to Taiwan, despite their historical discourses with one another. The role of food plays a very peculiar role into our everyday lives – and I believe our class covers this phenomena. Unlike how Westerners view food in a reductionist way (or as simply a commodity), it is tied within the social connections we make all over the world. This may be the “catalyst” that you’re talking about – as China has historically been Taiwan’s biggest exporter (making up 28% of their exports) (Quartz, 2016), if this small mutual connection they have to one another is disrupted, it may just be a breaking point for China and Taiwan.
    However, despite of the declining exports being given to China, I highly doubt that this will continue (at least not to the point where it will leave Taiwan in distraught). Xi Jinping is continuously referencing the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” in his most recent speeches and reports, ever since he received reelection. After assessing Xi Jinping’s Speech at the 13th National People’s Congress first session, China’s main focus is steered towards economic expansion, and rejuvenation of the Chinese identity. Breaking ties with Taiwan will most likely not be the answer to this.


  2. Kevin Shih

    Dear Kevin Liang,

    With the things we learned in POLS 385—I like how you focused on the relationship of “food politics” between China and Taiwan. The relationship of China and Taiwan is an ongoing and very controversial thing. China, despite Taiwan’s claim of independence, has always considered Taiwan as its own province. Yet, there is still a major trade of goods that flows between the two “nations”. It is really interesting to see you point this out in response to the complex political relationship between the two countries. And it is important to keep in mind that, even when the complicated relationship, the flow of food and trade is still happening. As Professor Litfin continuously emphasized in class, food is such a major part of lives that it is important to understand the systems behind how the ‘food trade’ works and how it plays in the global systems.
    To reflect on the questions you proposed, “Does food serve as a lubricant between Taiwan and China? Or is it a way China uses to limit Taiwan’s economic?” Yes, we all know China has a major say and role in the global system, and its vast territory allows it to contribute the majority of the food supplies in this world. However, from my personal opinion and perspective, I think food serves as a lubricant that eases the tension between these two countries. What I mean is that, since food is so intricated in our daily lives, and both China and Taiwan have their own different and unique cuisine, it actually facilitates and stimulates the economy of the country because it prompts people to visit and try them out. Food, in my opinion, is a great way to connect people. You don’t have to speak the same languages to interact, all you need is good food that can connect people at the deeper level.


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