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Force Multipliers? U.S. and Taiwanese Interests in Latin America

Date & Time

Oct. 22, 2020
9:00am – 10:30am

Force Multipliers? U.S. and Taiwanese Interests in Latin America

Of Taiwan’s 15 official diplomatic partners, nine are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet as China continues to expand its influence in the region, Latin America has become a battleground for the power struggle between Taipei and Beijing. As the United States and China clash bitterly on a range of issues, Washington increasingly regards Taiwan as a force multiplier in Latin America, including as an alternative to Chinese financing. To fortify Taiwan’s foothold in Latin America, the White House has threatened to punish governments that establish relations with Beijing; in 2018, it pulled its senior diplomats from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Panama in response to their decision to no longer recognize Taiwan.

Please join us for an online discussion on Taiwanese and U.S. cooperation in Latin America to push back against China, and how the increasingly tense cross-strait rivalry complicates relations between Latin America and China and Taiwan.

This event will be a live webcast on this webpage.  You may submit questions for the speakers by emailing or tweeting us @AsiaProgram.

About the Speakers

Julie Chung is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. She was previously the Director for Japan in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary from February-September 2018. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, she held positions as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Cambodia and Economic Counselor in Thailand. She has also served as the Deputy Political Counselor in Bogota. In Baghdad, she served as Chief of Staff coordinating civilian-military foreign assistance with thirteen agencies. She received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California San Diego and an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Scott W. Harold is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, and an affiliate faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He specializes in the foreign and defense policies of China, Japan, North and South Korea, and Taiwan. Prior to joining RAND in August 2008, Harold worked at the Brookings Institution's John L. Thornton China Center from 2006 to 2008. In addition to his work at RAND, since 2006 he has been an adjunct professor of security studies in the Security Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is also an adjunct professor of international affairs in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and an adjunct professor of International Affairs in the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University.

Benjamin N. Gedan is deputy director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program and the director of its Argentina Project. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is a former South America director on the National Security Council at the White House. Previously, Benjamin was responsible for Honduras and Argentina at the U.S. Department of State, and covered Central America and the Caribbean as an international economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As a journalist, Benjamin reported for The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald and other publications. He is a former Fulbright scholar in Uruguay, and earned a Ph.D. in foreign affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor’s in international relations, and received a Master’s in international economics and Latin American studies from SAIS.

Alexander Tah-Ray Yui is Director-General of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs at Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously, he was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Paraguay; Director-General of the Bureau de Geneve, Delegation Culturelle et Economique de Taipei; Deputy Director-General of the Department of Central and South American Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, and a Diplomacy Fellow at the Brookings Institution, among other posts. He received a BA in political science and modern languages, and an MA in Spanish literature, both from Texas A&M University.

Alex L.J Shyy is Deputy Secretary-General of Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund. Previously, he was an adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Mission leader of the Taiwan Investment and Trade Mission in Central America as well as Mission Leader for the Taiwan Technical Mission in Macedonia, among other postings. He has also been a board director of the Skopje Export Processing Zone and Bonum Company of Macedonia, and posted to the Minister’s Office with the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs. He received a BA in international trade from Soochow University, and an MBA from Long Island University.


Alexander Tah-Ray Yui

Director-General, Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan

Alex L.J. Shyy

Deputy Secretary General, International Cooperation and Development Fund, Taiwan

Julie Chung

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Santiago Peña

Former Minister of Finance, Paraguay

Scott W. Harold

Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

Hosted By

Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

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