Taiwan's rep. to US: Taiwan stands with world in fight against 'sharp power'

Stanley Kao's letter to the editor was published in the print edition of The Hill on Feb. 13

File Photo of Stanley Kao, Jan. 2017 (By Central News Agency)

WASHINGTON (CNA) -- Taiwan's representative to the U.S. Stanley Kao (高碩泰) emphasized Taiwan's commitment to fighting "sharp power" and championing human rights and economic freedoms in a letter published on a U.S. political newspaper Tuesday.

Kao's letter to the editor of The Hill, titled "Taiwan remains a partner in upholding democratic values," highlighted the country's determination to "continue to work with our friends in upholding universal values of democracy, freedom, and human rights."

The Taiwan official addressed the increasing use of sharp power by authoritarian regimes around the world to undermine democratic rights and the open market.

Sharp power is a term coined by scholars Christopher Walker and Jessica Ludwig of the National Endowment for Democracy referring to the information that certain governments spread in order to manipulate their target audience.

Like soft power, sharp power targets people through non-military influence and information, but unlike soft power, it distorts the perception of reality to achieve the goals of the government wielding it.

In response to the threats of soft power, which Walker and Ludwig have attributed mostly to China and Russia, Kao wrote: "Taiwan firmly stands with the United States and like-minded countries in fighting against such intolerant acts of coercion."

He cited two reports -- Freedom House's annual report and the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom -- to demonstrate how committed to human rights and freedoms Taiwan has been.

Taiwan was ranked the second freest country in Asia, just after Japan, with a score of 93 out of 100 in Freedom House's report, and ranked 13th among 186 economies in the world in the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom. 

(Scanned image of the article from the TECO Office in Washington D.C.)