Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Candidates sparred over the island’s relationship with China, drawing attention from global observers, including Beijing and Washington.

The Democratic Progressive Party’s Vice President Lai Ching-te, emphasizing Taiwan’s sovereignty, faced criticism for pro-independence stances, with opponents expressing concerns about potential threats to Taiwan’s security.

The debate spotlighted the escalating tensions between Taiwan and mainland China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has increased military activities around the self-ruled island. Lai accused Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih of being pro-China, rejecting the idea of reverting to a past of closer ties with Beijing and warning against becoming subservient to “totalitarianism.”

Hou defended the need for communication and exchanges with China, emphasizing the dangers across the Taiwan Strait due to the lack of such engagement. He reiterated his opposition to both Taiwan’s independence and China’s “one country, two systems” policy, previously implemented in Hong Kong and Macau.

Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate Ko Wen-je, despite acknowledging the complexities of cross-strait issues, criticized President Tsai’s approach as chaotic. Ko emphasized the importance of finding a balance in Taiwan’s relations with both the United States and China, contrasting the DPP’s confrontational stance with the KMT’s inclination towards cooperation.

As the election date approaches, the debate underscores the critical role it plays in shaping Taiwan’s future and its intricate ties with an assertive China.

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