Cooperation between Taiwan and Europe edition:2007 Asia Pacific Round Table location:Brussels date:13-14 October
The aim of this paper is to advance some ideas regarding future cooperation between Europe and Taiwan. The existing channels, such as the regular diplomacy and political lobbying, for some considered as hard diplomacy, as well as academic exchange opportunities are dealt with by respectively career diplomat participants as well as Taiwan Studies academics during other sessions of this conference. To extend the discussion on how to cultivate further Europe-Taiwan dialogue and interaction, the following contribution can be considered as a “soft diplomacy”, a parallel dimension to the above-mentioned “hard diplomacy”. In order to facilitate such soft diplomacy we believe a neutral, non-politicized, access-friendly exchange and dialogue platform should be created, parallel to the two existing contact channels of political lobbying and academic exchange. There is an undeniable importance to enhance the mutual understanding and reciprocal interest for ordinary citizens of Taiwan and Europe to discover common grounds for further cooperation. To this purpose we suggest observing the public sphere and civil society of each region and then identifying common issues for potential cooperation as a natural way to involve Taiwanese and European citizens in meeting, understanding, and collaborating with each other. First we shall present some suggestions for future cooperation within the realm of the public space, followed by a closer look at potential avenues for enhanced contacts between the members of civil society.