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C3S Issue Brief X: Role of Mind, Culture, and Politics – Understanding Taiwan’s Strategic Culture an

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

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Issue Brief: 10/2021

C3S launches its Issue Brief initiative. An issue brief is a summary of the knowledge surrounding an issue or a problem. It summarises the issue giving clear, concise, and complete information describing all facets of a particular issue including a detailed illustration in the form of images, data, and facts. It also includes recommendations for action and predictions on the future course of an issue.

Issue Briefs are available for download as PDFs.


The purpose of this paper is to understand the role of mind, culture, history, and politics in defining the characteristics of diplomacy and foreign policy in Taiwan. This paper is based on a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the nature of polity, society and culture.  This paper also attempts to explore this impact upon the conduct and characteristics of national diplomacy and foreign policy as well as the defining role and influence of social history and political culture in Taiwan. There are three major considerations that propel Taiwan’s foreign policy and diplomacy. The first and foremost criteria is to preserve its sovereign characteristics and promote its identity as an independent nation against the challenges that surround Taiwan across the straits. Secondly, its compelling geographic environment and geo-strategic significance in the Pacific Ocean region as well as its unique political geography as a potential ground for competition and co-operation between People’s Republic of China and the West. Lastly, the emerging trends in the economic diplomacy of Taiwan and its economic success that cannot be overlooked. The economic miracle of Taiwan can be compared with the Asian Tiger(s). There is a lively political culture and identity politics that propels this economic orientation. All the above considerations deeply recognize the existence of common cultural background and competing historical narratives surrounding the politics across the straits.  Though culture is a bridge yet there are two leaves to this bridge that Taiwan must therefore preserve its own political lever.  This is the critical component to Taiwan’s identity, politics and foreign policy initiatives.

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About the Author

(Prof. Ramu Manivannan is the Head of the Department of Politics & Public Administration, University of Madras, Chennai-600005, INDIA. This research paper is the result of the author’s affiliation, as MOFA’S Fellow, with the Institute for International Relations (IIR), National Chengchi University (NCCU) from February 2018 to August,2018. Author is indebted for the support and co-operation of the MOFA- Republic of China (Taiwan). He can be reached at The views expressed are personal and does not reflect the views of C3S)

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