Seoul, A major South Korean newspaper has recently praised Taiwan for its achievement in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, attributing the success, as well as its better economic performance over South Korea over the past few years, to Taiwan’s decision to “turn its back on China.”
In an article published on Dec. 31, the influential conservative daily Chosun Ilbo cited International Monetary Fund (IMF) predictions that Taiwan is expected to outperform South Korea in terms of economic growth in 2020.
For 2021, Taiwan’s projected GDP growth of 3.2 percent also surpasses South Korea’s 2.8 percent, according to the IMF.
If that prediction becomes reality, Taiwan’s GDP growths are expected to overtake South Korea’s in the four years between 2017 and 2021 during South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in administration, with the exception of 2018, according to the article.
The article said that both Taipei and Seoul used to be members of “The Four Asian Tigers” in the 1970s and 80s, together with Hong Kong and Singapore, due to their rapid economic growth and industrialization.
However, after South Korea’s GDP per capita surpassed Taiwan’s in 2003, the gap between the two countries has continued to widen, the article said.
This was attributed to the reversal of both country’s attitudes toward China, in particular over the past four years during the administrations of Moon and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Taking both countries’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, the story said that Taiwan was the first country in the world to completely block entry and traffic from China and to build a “Chinese firewall.”
South Korea, however, has not taken any measures to block its economic cooperation with China.
The two governments’ decisions have led to a sharp contrast between the two countries in terms of COVID-19 cases.
As of Dec. 30, Taiwan only had 797 confirmed cases with seven deaths. South Korea, however, had 59,773 cases and 879 deaths.
Economically, Tsai has also continued to encourage Taiwanese businesses based in China to come back to Taiwan to invest since taking office for her first term in 2016.
In contrast, Moon has been kowtowing to China since his inauguration in 2017, the article said.
During his four-day visit to Beijing in 2017, Moon had only two meals with the Chinese leadership. However, this was unable to convince Beijing to lift its retaliatory measures against Seoul over the latter’s deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, it noted.
As more and more countries that were friendly to China have awakened from the “Chinese fantasy” and have decided to turn their backs on Beijing, the article urged the Moon administration to reconsider its approach toward China, warning that the country’s economic situation could continue to deteriorate and fall further behind Taiwan.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel