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China’s Setback in Taiwan

China's Setback in Taiwan

In a significant development, Beijing appears to have suffered a major setback in Taiwan. The self-ruled island is heading to the polls, and the outcome could have far-reaching implications for its future and relations with China. China's Setback in Taiwan

The Political Landscape

On one side of the political divide is the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), while on the other is an alliance of opposition parties that favor closer ties with China. Beijing would undoubtedly have preferred a victory for these parties. However, the opposition is now dramatically split, with 1 party withdrawing from the race and the remaining 2 running Independently. China's Setback in Taiwan

The Opposition’s Dilemma

On Thursday, Taiwan’s opposition presidential hopefuls, including former Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je, KMT leader Hung Hsiu-chu, and billionaire businessman Terry Gou, shared a stage.China's Setback in Taiwan

This was their opportunity to negotiate a united opposition ticket. However, the talks broke down spectacularly, leading to arguments and bickering on live TV.

China's Setback in TaiwanChina's Setback in Taiwan

The fallout from this breakdown is significant. Foxconn founder Terry Gou has dropped out of the race, leaving the other 2 candidates to contend separately. They are also trailing behind the ruling DPP. Together, they might have stood a chance to beat the DPP, but divided, it seems highly unlikely. China's Setback in Taiwan

The Ruling Party’s Momentum

While the opposition is in disarray, the ruling DPP is powering on. President Tsai Ing-wen is barred from running, having served 2 terms in office. Representing her party is Vice President Lai Ching-te, with his running mate being Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s former deputy Ambassador to the United States.

China's Setback in Taiwan
Lai Ching-te, Ruling DPP Candidate

 

China's Setback in Taiwan

China’s Reaction

The divided opposition is a setback for China. When President Tsai Ing-wen was elected for the first time in 2016, Beijing reacted sharply, cutting high-level contact with Taiwan and stepping up military activities. When she won again in 2020, Beijing kept up the pressure, conducting large-scale military exercises.

Rising Tensions in the Taiwan Strait

The tensions in the Taiwan Strait are escalating. On Thursday, an Australian warship sailed through the waterway. Australian Navy vessels regularly transit through the Taiwan Strait, but when Beijing was questioned about this, it asked parties not to take provocative actions. China's Setback in TaiwanChina's Setback in Taiwan

Conclusion

Taiwan is going to elections on January 13th. It’s an election that will be closely watched both by Washington and Beijing and across the world. For the self-ruled island, the stakes are too high. The results could determine the future of China-Taiwan relations and the future of the island. China's Setback in Taiwan

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