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International relations

Taiwan counters China's isolation campaign with mask diplomacy

Japan is latest beneficiary of gifts that are boosting island's soft power

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Taiwan and China are in a period of a notably adversarial relationship, and this tension is driving their diplomacy towards each other and the rest of the world. (Source photo by AFP/Jiji and AP) 

TAIPEI -- Elvin Huang never imagined he'd be a general on the front lines of the global battle against the coronavirus pandemic, but that's exactly what he is now. As general manager of the medical product company Taiwan Stanch, he's supplying Taiwan and other countries with an invaluable weapon in this war: surgical masks.

But the masks are dual-use. Not only do they help prevent the spread of the virus in Taiwan, they are helping spread the message that Taiwan can help other countries deal with the pandemic -- if the world chooses to engage it without worrying about upsetting China.

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