Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.
It's been a difficult few days for the people of Taiwan. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the island on Saturday and the resulting collapse of a 17-story apartment complex has killed dozens and trapped more than 100, some of whom are believed to still be alive.
The political implications of the tragedy are still unknown, but the disaster comes at the end of President Ma Ying-jeou's term and in the lead up to the inauguration of President-elect Tsai Ing-wen. President Ing-wen is the island's first female president, swept into office last month in a landslide victory that also saw her party, the Democratic Progressive Party, win a majority in Taiwan's legislature for the first time in history.
Bonnie Glaser is director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and she says that while there probably isn't a major world power that would support a fully independent Taiwan (the United States included), greater economic prosperity will give the new presidency room maneuver and assert itself on the world stage.