The Nordic countries have been increasingly vocal about their concerns regarding the rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait. This editorial explores the various reasons behind their focus on this issue and highlights the importance of stability and shared values in the region.
The Nordic countries all have significant trade and economic interests in both China and Taiwan. As such they have a keen interest in security and stability in the region. A war across the Taiwan Strait would mean a severe disruption of current trade routes, impact economic stability, and create uncertainties not only for the entire Asia Pacific but also for the Nordic economies. The implications for the Artic would be of particular Nordic concern.
The Nordic countries are also strong advocates for a rules-based international order and respect for international law since none of them are superpowers. A conflict in the Taiwan Strait would challenge the existing framework of international relations and raise questions about the enforcement of agreements and norms – just as was the case in the war in the Middle East in 1991 to expel Iraq from Kuwait.
Beyond these rational reasons why the Nordic countries increasingly frequently express concern about the rising tension in the Taiwan Strait, there is an even more important emotional reason. Public sentiment in the Nordic countries regarding human rights and democracy is fierce and should not be underestimated. Taiwan has developed into a vibrant democracy, and any threats to its sovereignty or stability would stir up strong emotional commitment to defend the human rights, democracy, and freedom of speech in Taiwan.
Returning to the state of relatively calm co-existence between China and Taiwan should still be a possibility. It requires a commitment from all parties involved to maintain peaceful relations and adhere to diplomatic and peaceful means of resolving differences. However, given the complex nature of the Taiwan Strait issue and the factors at play, it is important to closely monitor the situation. Accidental fumbling or miscalculation by any of the parties involved could quickly lead to an escalation.
Should that happen there is, however, no doubt on which side you would find the Nordic countries.