Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

China issued a stern warning to Taiwan on Thursday, urging voters to make a judicious choice in the upcoming presidential election. The warning singled out Vice President Lai Ching-te, the leading candidate for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), describing him as a “severe danger” who could jeopardize regional peace by pursuing an “evil path” toward independence.

With the election just two days away, the international community closely watches as the outcome will significantly influence Taiwan’s future relations with a resolute China in a region marked by tension.

Taiwan, a democratic nation, views itself as a separate entity, while China considers it a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to reclaim it. Lai Ching-te, positioning himself as a defender of Taiwan’s democracy, has previously drawn criticism from Beijing for remarks concerning independence, a sensitive issue for China.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office released a statement on Thursday, asserting that Lai’s potential presidency could lead to increased separatist activities and turbulence in the Taiwan Strait. The statement expressed concerns that Lai might propel Taiwan further away from peace and prosperity, moving it closer to a state of conflict.

This warning from China follows the announcement by Washington of plans to send an unofficial delegation to Taiwan after the election. China responded sharply, urging the United States to refrain from interfering in the election process, emphasizing the potential damage to US-China relations.

Despite the warnings, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu criticized China for its “repeated interference” in the election, calling for Beijing to cease meddling in other countries’ electoral processes.

Lai’s opponent, Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang (KMT), running on a platform of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait, rejected accusations of being pro-China. Hou emphasized Taiwan’s democratic values and the importance of preserving the status quo, indicating that reunification with China would not be on the table if he were elected. Meanwhile, tensions persist, with Chinese President Xi Jinping asserting that unifying Taiwan with China is an “inevitability” and Taiwan responding by strengthening its defense ties with the United States.

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