YouTuber Goes on a Mission to Visit All of Taiwan’s Allies Around the World
A Taiwanese YouTuber has embarked on a quest to visit the island’s remaining allies — countries that continue to recognize it as the “one true China” amid Beijing’s growing influence in the global arena.
At present, only 17 states recognize Taiwan over mainland China after El Salvador severed diplomatic ties in favor of Beijing back in August.
After completing his mandatory military service in 2017, Ben Wu, 25, decided to visit Taiwan’s allies and document his travels on YouTube.
So far, he has visited six countries in the Pacific and Africa, including Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands and Eswatini (Swaziland).
“I think most young people only know about our allies when there is a termination of diplomatic relations and this is not good,” Wu told AFP in a recent interview. “They should know about the allies in other ways.”
Since 1949, both mainland China (People’s Republic of China) and Taiwan (Republic of China) have asserted themselves as the one true China.
Most countries recognized Taiwan until 1971, when the United Nations expelled Chiang Kai-shek’s military dictatorship and declared the Chinese Communist Party as “the only legitimate representative of China.”
Mainland China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, while the island ceded claim of Beijing as part of its territory after constitutional reform in 1991. For years, Taiwan repeatedly attempted to win back its seat in the UN, but to no apparent avail.
Wu’s ambition to visit Taiwan’s allies began while he read a news article and recognized only three: Haiti, Tuvalu and the Vatican. He decided to share his adventures on YouTube, where he has now 82,000 subscribers and counting.
“I love travel and some of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies are less known and more difficult to reach. I hope to explore these countries that fewer people have traveled to and be a part of ‘people diplomacy,’” he told AFP.
While Wu has received support from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he denied a political motive in earlier interviews and pointed that his quest only arose from sheer curiosity.
“There is nothing political about this project, as I have always wanted to travel to those less-visited places and introduce them to my subscribers from a personal view as a traveler,” Wu said, according to the Taipei Times. “I wondered what these countries, which most Taiwanese have not visited, actually look like.”
Wu plans to visit Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Haiti, Belize, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis this month. He will conclude his journey in Palau and the Vatican in summer.