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Taiwan will follow SWIFT’s lead and will send medical help to Ukraine

A demonstrator holds a placard during a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside a Moscow representative office in Taipei, Taiwan, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

Taiwan will join efforts to prohibit some Russian banks from using the SWIFT international payment system, and has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine to show support for the international “democratic camp,” according to the administration.

The news: Taiwan has joined Western-led partners in imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, expressing cross-party support for the Ukrainian people and drawing parallels with what Taipei sees as Beijing’s threats to the island.

  • Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters that Taiwan’s sanctions decision was in line with that of its democratic friends across the world, and that the government will “cooperate” with what Western countries had decided on SWIFT.
  • Taiwan’s trade with Russia is negligible, thus the move is mostly symbolic. Any transfers to Russia, according to Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission, use SWIFT but are routed through intermediate institutions.
A demonstrator holds a placard during a rally against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine outside a Moscow representative office in Taipei, Taiwan, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

What’s going on: Taiwan is a significant semiconductor producer, and the government has already said that chip businesses are abiding by Russian export restrictions.

  • The Economy Ministry claims it is strictly enforcing the Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for weapons and dual-use items and technologies, which was signed in 1996 by 42 countries.
  • According to Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua, if there is “no good reason” for chip exports to Russia, they will not be approved under the ministry’s restrictions.
  • Separately, the ministry announced that 27 tonnes of medical supplies had been delivered to Ukraine.
  • “The Republic of China, Taiwan, as a member of the international community’s democratic camp, is willing to act in the spirit of ‘Taiwan Can Help’ and based on humanitarian considerations, our country will provide Ukraine with urgently needed medical relief supplies in a timely manner,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said.
  • China has not yet announced any humanitarian relief supplies for Ukraine, despite the fact that it claims Taiwan as its own sovereign territory.

In addition: Since the beginning of Russia’s incursion last week, more than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine to neighbouring nations, according to the head of a United Nations agency. According to EU officials, the war might force 7 million people to flee their homes.

  • The Republic of China, whose forces retreated to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists, is Taiwan’s official name.
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