Finland-Taiwan Relations: An Overview and Changes after COVID-19 Pandemic
Despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations between Finland and Taiwan, the two sides have maintained a practical relationship through trade, tourism, and educational and cultural exchanges. The COVID-19 pandemic has created some favorable ground for certain breakthroughs, be it in terms of the Finnish government’s action plan to support Taiwan’s meaningful international participation, Finnish reports that offer more diverse views on Taiwan’s society beyond international politics, or a Finnish parliamentarian’s help in implementing Taiwan’s mask diplomacy in the Finnish context. In general, the Foreign Ministry in Finland has been vigilant in ensuring that the One China Policy does not become unnecessarily restrictive. Finland has been quietly raising the profile of bilateral relations with Taiwan. Although trade was disrupted at the beginning of the pandemic, it managed to grow afterwards. According to the Finnish government’s calculation, trade in goods between Taiwan and Finland between January and November 2021 was already higher than the same period in 2020. In sum, the pandemic did stall tourism but not bilateral trade. In addition, Taiwan’s overall visibility appears to have grown in Finnish society, as exemplified in the increasing coverage of Taiwan-related news in Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
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