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Relations between Germany and Taiwan strengthened in 2022, despite Germany’s reluctant acceptance of Beijing’s One China Policy. Meanwhile, bilateral economic ties with both Taiwan and China have sparked discussions about Germany’s foreign policy goals and whether Berlin is reviving the antiquated diplomatic strategy known as Wandel durch Handel (“Change through Trade”) amidst Europe’s growing security vulnerabilities. In June 2023, Germany and the Chinese state-owned firm COSCO signed a contract for the sale of shares in Hamburg’s seaports. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visits to Taiwan, once unimaginable , were strategically timed to coincide with the contract. Two months later, Germany established an agreement with TSMC, Taiwan’s largest semiconductor company.  Prevailing narratives among policy circles view Wandel durch Handel as a relic from Germany’s regulatory …

East Asia’s rapid economic and military development has captured global attention. Analysis of news coverage demonstrates that regional economies and tensions have been growing in tandem. The South China Sea has historically been of particular interest because of the number of conflicting claims on the islands and sea-lanes it encompasses. Of note, these conflicts have never escalated to a full-scale regional war. Direct extrapolation suggests that previous restraint in military interactions implies the nations involved do not consider the potential benefits sufficient to justify an upset to the balance of power. However, contemporary changes in economic and security conditions complicate the issue.