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Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb offers course on Taiwan and East Asia

An academic course on Taiwan and East Asia, initiated by the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vienna, and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in Taipei, began in the winter semester of the 2014/15 academic year. This is the first interdisciplinary course in Croatia dedicated to the issues of the economy, politics, international relations, diplomacy, and security of Taiwan, and the East Asia region. Its main goal is to enhance the information and knowledge that students of political science and journalism have about political and economic development and the international environment of Taiwan and of East Asia.

The course is divided into three basic modules, covering the fields of economics, political development, and international relations and security respectively. During the first module held in October, 2014, Dr. Chi Schive from Shih-Hsin University in Taipei gave students an introduction to Taiwan’s economic development. Dr. Schive’s lectures covered Taiwan’s economic modernization, globalization, regionalism, and challenges Taiwan faces, comparisons between the Asian countries, and the role of small and medium enterprises, and direct foreign investment in Taiwan.

The second module, in November, covered the subject of East Asian democratization and its regional implications. Dr. Cheng Tun-Ren from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg in the United States gave lectures examining East Asian democratization, from a comparative perspective, the constitutions and party systems of different countries in East Asia, democracy and its discontents, Taiwan’s democracy, and China and its neighbors.

The last module, in December, dealt with the very current topics of cross-strait relations and Asia-Pacific security. Dr. Saša Istenič from the University of Ljubljana gave lectures on the development of Asia-Pacific security systems, the roles of Taiwan and China in the Asia-Pacific region, cross-strait relations, the United States and the cross-strait conflict, Japan and the cross-strait conflict, and the East and South China Sea disputes. Dr. Istenič’s assistant Dario Kuntić, a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb, covered the complex issues associated with the triangular relationship between Taiwan, China, and the United States, and the implications of China’s rise on the security of East Asia.