Why Taiwan's assistance to Hong Kong matters

Foreign Policy
Taiwan's government is signaling its status as a regional beacon for democracy and human rights—in contrast to South Korea, which frames assistance to North Korean refugees as helping ethnic brethren. Taiwan's recent move might look like a straightforward humanitarian response to the intensifying crisis in neighboring Hong Kong, but there's more to the emerging policy framework than meets the eye. In fact, what Taiwan is doing solidifies a particular nationalist path that differs from others in Asia and has the potential to fundamentally alter the region's power dynamics. A comparison helps to make the distinctiveness of Taiwan's approach clear. Taiwan has framed its assistance program as humanitarian, aimed at aiding the fight for democracy and human rights. While that might seem obvious, it contrasts with the way another democracy in the region, South Korea, characterizes its resettlement program for North Korean refugees: assisting ethnic brethren.