Michelle Hiu Ying Lo


Organization: Taiwan Alliance in International Development (Taiwan AID) & National Institute of Policy Research
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Year: 2014

MRP/Thesis abstract:

Normalizing the Abnormal or Abnormalizing the Normal? Locating Taiwan in Today’s Global Aid Architecture

Despite decades of providing international development aid, Taiwan’s image as an aid provider has often been overshadowed by its infamous use of ‘dollar diplomacy’ and its unrelenting pursuit of sovereignty. Yet in 2008 with the Ma administration’s “viable diplomacy” policy and the proposed diplomatic truce to cease cross-strait aid rivalry, one comes to question its implications on Taiwan’s aid programs and how Taiwan as a donor figures in the current global aid regime. Using updated literature as well as primary data and insights collected through interviews with government officials, ex-officials and experts on Taiwan’s development assistance, Taiwan’s present aid approach was found to be neither “North” nor “South”. While at the level of discourse it mimicked the North in striving for “normality” in the international community, in practice however, its past aid traditions were largely maintained. Although Taiwan’s “normalcy” is undermined by its abnormal circumstances, namely its contested sovereignty and the ongoing cross-strait tensions, like other “normal” countries, it relies on a myriad of aid strategies to engage in the current global order.