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Edition: United States
language: English
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Taiwan reelects ruling party, defying warnings from China

Taiwan reelects ruling party, defying warnings from China

World Desk 13 Jan , 2024 06:01 PM GMT

  • Taiwanese voters reelected ruling party despite warnings from China.

  • New president-elect, Lai Ching-da, and vice president-elect, Xiao Bikim, hold press conference.

  • Two opposition parties conceded election to ruling party.

Taiwan reelects ruling party, defying warnings from China
Campaign rally ahead of the elections in Taipei, Taiwan
Reuters
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Taiwanese voters defied warnings from China and elected the ruling party for a third consecutive presidential term, a decision that could have significant implications for U.S.-China relations. Lai Ching-da and Xiao Bikim, the president-elect and vice president-elect, respectively, addressed thousands of supporters in Taiwan's capital at their first post-election press conference.

The opposition parties, which were seen as being more friendly towards China, conceded earlier in the evening, acknowledging the defeat. The election results were quickly announced mere hours after the polls closed, showcasing Taiwan's efficient electoral system. With a population of just under 24 million, Taiwan does not allow absentee voting, meaning all voters had to cast their ballots in person in their respective hometowns. Despite the logistical challenges, millions of Taiwanese turned out to participate in the election.

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The stakes were high due to China's explicit warnings prior to the election. Beijing framed the choice as one between peace and war, prosperity and decline, suggesting that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), despised openly by China's communist leaders, was unsuitable for governing Taiwan. These warnings were accompanied by provocative actions, such as sending spy balloons over Taiwan's airspace and unveiling imagery of China's advanced aircraft carrier, which experts believe could play a pivotal role in a potential invasion of Taiwan.

New president-elect, Lai Ching-da, and vice president-elect, Xiao Bikim, hold press conference.

Taiwanese voters reelected ruling party despite warnings from China.

Two opposition parties conceded election to ruling party.

However, the supporters of the DPP, who secured a historic third term in office, felt that aligning closely with the United States was the best approach to safeguard Taiwan against the looming threat from China. They believed that prioritizing military, diplomatic, and economic ties with the U.S. would bolster Taiwan's defenses and discourage Chinese aggression. Conversely, the opposition argued that mending fences with China and reevaluating the U.S.-Taiwan relationship would have been a more prudent strategy to de-escalate tensions and prevent a cross-strait conflict.

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Taiwan's decision to reelect the DPP reflects the population's confidence in the party's strategy. The electoral victory signals support for continued alignment with the United States and a commitment to protecting Taiwan's sovereignty. With China maintaining its long-standing claim over Taiwan, despite never having controlled the island, the potential for conflict remains an ongoing concern.

The reelection of the DPP marks a pivotal moment in Taiwan's history as it navigates its relationship with China and the United States. It underscores the Taiwanese people's determination to maintain their autonomy and resist Chinese assimilation. As Taiwan moves forward under the leadership of Lai Ching-da and Xiao Bikim, the world will be watching closely to see how this election outcome will affect regional dynamics and U.S.-China relations.

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