People of Taiwan don’t want war with Beijing – so why did they elect a pro-independence ‘president’? — RT World News

The result is certainly a boon for the United States, as it allows it to continue its pressure campaign on China

In the heart of the Asia-Pacific region, the self-governing island of Taiwan – officially the Republic of China – finds itself at the crossroads of history and geopolitics once again in the wake of a pivotal presidential election.

Although important not only for the domestic future of the people of Taiwan and a major global issue, this election saw the emergence of a major third party, demonstrating that the region's political landscape is evolving and that locals are looking to escape the two-party duopoly. They consistently view each session as a vote between “war and peace,” as New Taipei Mayor Ho Yu-a of the Kuomintang described it.

The victory of Lai Ching-te, leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, the party of outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen, appears to represent a strategic win for the United States and the collective West — at least at first glance. Hints. But digging deeper, the election — in which Lai received a plurality of votes (just over 40%) rather than a majority — reflects local residents' deep frustrations with their livelihoods and the fact that they do not accept the DPP's overtures toward formal independence from Beijing. This is seriously.

At the heart of Taiwan's political discourse lies a complex tapestry of identity politics. The island has long grappled with its historical ties with mainland China and the question of independence. President Tsai Ing-wen, the incumbent who can no longer seek re-election but whose policies will continue with Lai, has been a staunch defender of Taiwan's sovereignty, emphasizing the island's separate identity and resisting Beijing's claims of reunification.

However, Lai's main opponent, Hu, echoed a more conciliatory approach. In fact, the KMT has long been the party willing to play with Beijing, tone down its rhetoric, and make concessions. It was the Kuomintang that helped establish the island's status quo through the so-called 1992 Consensus, which saw both sides of the Taiwan Strait agree to the one China principle but disagree over their definition of China – i.e. the Republic of China or the People's Republic. China (People's Republic of China).

In 2022, the KMT had a strong showing in local elections, prompting Tsai Ing-wen to step down as chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party. Newly elected officials from the Nationalist Party have pledged to intensify cross-Strait exchanges with the mainland in hopes of calming tensions and undermining the DPP's use of the “Chinese threat” in this year's elections.

The specter of reunification, embraced by the KMT under the vision of “one country, two systems,” the core idea put forth by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping that maintains the status quo of Hong Kong and Macau, raises questions about the potential impact on Taiwan’s unique cultural and political identity.

But more importantly, Latest opinion poll before the election On the issue of reunification by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council in October 2023, more than 60% of voters were found to support the status quo of the island's indefinite political status. Not only do people prefer not to seek formal independence (which would almost certainly lead to war with mainland China) or reunification, but they don't even seem to believe that a change in the status quo will actually happen, dismissing it as mere hype, and they instead focus on Other issues.

To name a few: In 2023, Taiwan's export-driven economy is estimated to have grown at its maximum rate. The slowest pace in eight years – Only 1.61% – against the backdrop of weak global demand for its high-tech products. the Average monthly wage in Taiwan It was $1,386 in 2022, much lower than other Asian tiger economies, which include South Korea ($1,919), Hong Kong ($2444) and Singapore ($3,776). In addition, Taiwan faces a severe housing crisis. As of November 2023, public housing only form 0.2% of all housing units in Taiwan, a much lower percentage than other developed economies, statistics From the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It is precisely for these reasons that Taiwan People's Party candidate Kuo Wen-je made a strong showing, which upset both sides in the “China threat” debate, which they mostly ignored in favor of pressing domestic issues.

But even if people vote on the issues that most affect their daily lives, it is undeniable that Taiwan's geopolitical location places it in the middle of a turbulent region, with tensions rising between the United States and China.

Taiwan's strategic importance in the broader Indo-Pacific region cannot be overstated. With the United States reaffirming its commitment to defending Taiwan, even sending an immediate delegation to congratulate the winner of the election, tensions are sure to flare – even if they do not amount to all-out war.

Beyond the Taiwan Strait, elections are also a battleground for global influence. As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the cyclical semiconductor manufacturing industry, the world saw how strategically important raw materials and chip production are. This sparked a high-tech trade war between Washington and Beijing, polarizing various countries, including several European Union countries that use US-patented technology, and pushing the Taiwan issue to the forefront.

The DPP's victory means that this dispute is likely to escalate, perhaps to the detriment of local residents, as trade with the mainland has suffered consistently since Tsai's election in 2016. It may also see further implementation of Taiwan's “hedgehog defense strategy”. The island arms itself to the teeth in hopes of deterring aggression from the mainland. More arms deals are sure to be in the works.

Starting this year, 2024, it is also important to realize that President Tsai Compulsory military service has already been extended For young people from four months to a year. According to CNN reports last yearTaiwan's military training is woefully outdated, and with many young people indifferent to the idea of ​​conflict with the mainland, it is clear that the island will not be able to muster a fighting force capable of withstanding an attack from Beijing. This is one of the main reasons why we believe that even with American support, the DPP was never able to achieve formal independence for Taiwan.

Taiwan's presidential election is not just an internal matter; It is a microcosm of the broader geopolitical conflicts that define the twenty-first century. The elections on the island witnessed enormous external pressure, especially from the United States, yet it was clear that political openness presented itself to people who reject the idea of ​​their island being considered a single square on a chessboard. Although Washington has its “man” firmly in power, this is not enough to radically change the tide of global affairs and the reality of unipolar hegemony in the United States.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of RT.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button