International

Taiwan 2024 Election: Pro China Opposition Splits, Giving Edge To Pro-US Ruling Party

China, which has framed the election as a choice between "peace and war", believes the Pro US Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its presidential candidates are dangerous separatists and has rebuffed offers of talks.

DPP Presidential Candidate William Lai and Running Mate Hsiao Bi-kim at a news conference in Taipei.
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Taiwan's opposition parties, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Taiwan People's Party (TPP), both advocating for closer ties with China, registered separate presidential candidates on Friday. This development, following a failed attempt to form a joint ticket, could potentially strengthen the position of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has been resilient against Beijing's pressure.

The KMT and TPP had initially agreed to collaborate against the DPP but encountered difficulties in reaching a consensus on a united presidential ticket. The proposed "blue-white" ticket, symbolising the respective party colours, aimed to enhance their chances against the DPP. Polls indicated that a candidate backed by both parties had the best potential to challenge the DPP's candidate, Vice-President William Lai Ching-te.

Despite ongoing talks since October, the two opposition parties failed to resolve a dispute over the selection process for the joint candidate during a final round of discussions on Thursday. 

The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) is fielding Hou Yu-ih for the presidency, while Ko Wen-je will run for the smaller Taiwan People’s Party (TPP). The KMT chose pro-China media personality Jaw Shaw-kong as Hou’s running mate while the TPP opted for one of its lawmakers Cynthia Wu.

The DPP, advocating for the people of Taiwan to determine their future, is fielding Vice President William Lai as its candidate, with Hsiao Bi-khim, Taipei’s former envoy in the United States, as his running mate. 

China, which has framed the election as a choice between "peace and war", believes the DPP and its presidential candidates are dangerous separatists and has rebuffed offers of talks.

2024 Taiwan Election:

As Taiwan's voters gear up for the January 13th, 2024 election, the stakes are high. The DPP and KMT, the two main political entities, present opposing cross-strait strategies. The pro-unification KMT aims to ease tensions by reopening dialogue with China, asserting that both sides of the strait belong to one country.

On the other hand, the pro-independence DPP advocates for strengthening ties with the United States and its allies while bolstering military deterrence through increased defence spending and reform. 

Despite the US not officially recognising Taiwan as an independent state, it opposes any forcible change in the status quo and is legally bound to assist the island in self-defence.

A victory for the DPP will do nothing to improve relations with Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland – by force if necessary.

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