After months of tumultuous election campaigns, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected with a record number of votes on Saturday (January 11). Experts who closely observe Taiwan’s elections believe that this election reflects Taiwan’s condemnation of China’s growing authoritarianism.
Gordon Chang, an American scholar, stated on the Voice of America TV program that China advocates Taiwan’s acceptance of Beijing’s one country, two systems plan, and the election result is a clear rejection of China.
He said: “People can see that this model has failed in Hong Kong. The reaction of the people in Taiwan is natural. That is to reject China. Therefore, this is not only a victory for Tsai Ing-wen and the Democratic Progressive Party, but also a victory for the idea of Taiwan independence. “
Observers pointed out that this vote also shows that Beijing’s pressure will be counterproductive. In recent years, China has not only tried to provoke the Tsai Ing-wen government militarily, but also punish Taiwan economically, including restricting Chinese citizens from traveling to Taiwan.
Matsuda Yasuhiro, an expert on China issues at the University of Tokyo in Japan, said on the TV program of the Voice of America that the Chinese factor has a great influence on Taiwan’s presidential election. “China’s so-called’Benefit Taiwan policy’ is actually mainly for China’s own economic development. Hong Kong The recent situation has made many people in Taiwan disgusted with the so-called one country, two systems.”
This vote attracted a large number of voters, and thousands of people made a special trip from abroad to return to vote. They generally believe that this election will determine whether Taiwan will continue the path of democracy and freedom.
Matsuda Kangbo said that the status of the campaign rally does not necessarily match the results of the balloting. The DPP has received more support from young people who do not necessarily attend the rally. This is related to the generational gap.
Kuomintang presidential candidate Han Yu confessed to losing the election on Saturday night, saying that he had called Tsai Ing-wen to congratulate him. Hanguo Yu said to supporters: “I can only say that I have not worked hard enough personally, and I have failed everyone’s expectations of me.”
Huang Qinglong, chairman of the Taiwan Believers Association, said that Han Yu’s visit to the Liaison Office of the Central Committee and his statement on the Hong Kong issue contradicted public opinion and trends. He predicted that the Kuomintang will make adjustments to the personnel layout, and even a situation of “internal fighting” will occur by then.
Ye Yaoyuan, a professor at the International Studies Center of the University of St. Thomas, who participated in the Voice of America TV program, believes that the biggest problem facing the Kuomintang in the next four years is how to win the support of the younger generation. He said: “In Taiwan, it is necessary to emphasize that there are fewer and fewer voters who have the same roots on both sides of the strait.”
The question that the outside world is most concerned about is whether China will change its strategy and increase contact with the Tsai Ing-wen government, or take tougher action, as suggested by some Beijing hawks.
Chinese constitutional scholar Chen Yongmiao said in a TV show on Voice of America that he believes that because there is no pressure for re-election, the Tsai Ing-wen government will maintain the current cross-strait stance and it is less likely to touch the red line; but he said that if Xi Jinping seeks third For this term, he needs to prove to the outside world his progress on the Taiwan issue.
However, Chen Yongmiao also pointed out that China will not behave at the expense of others. He said: “Diplomatic methods have reached the limit, and reducing Taiwan’s dependence on the mainland is also something China does not want to see.”
Bonnie Glaser, an Asian affairs consultant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said during an election observation event held by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, D.C.: “China will not be surprised by the result, but it may be To reconsider the policy towards Taiwan.”
She expects Beijing to increase military and diplomatic pressure on Taipei, but said that China will not take risky military actions against Taiwan in the short term.
In her victory speech, Tsai Ing-wen acknowledged the external pressure facing Taiwan, but she said that she would continue to unite like-minded international allies. During Tsai Ing-wen’s first term, China persuaded seven countries to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan and instead recognize Beijing. Taiwan currently has only 15 diplomatic relations.
The United States is Taiwan’s most powerful ally. After Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected, Randall Schriver, the former Assistant Secretary of Indo-Pacific Affairs of the US Department of Defense, praised Taiwan for setting a democratic example for the Chinese world at an event organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United
Xue Ruifu said: “There are many people in China wondering why we can’t go to the polling station and why we can’t choose our own leader? Every time the Taiwan election is successful, the Chinese people pay attention to and ask themselves why they can’t enjoy the same privileges. And rights?”
Under Tsai Ing-wen’s administration, Taiwan’s relations with the United States have become closer in the past three and a half years. Therefore, some analysts believe that the Taiwan election is like a dispute between the two powers of the United States and China, and Tsai Ing-wen will continue the current “pro-US strategy” in the future to deepen Taiwan-US relations in the fields of military, industry, and technology.
Wang Weizheng, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Adelphi University, stated on the TV program of the Voice of America that Taiwan, sandwiched between the two powers of the United States and China, must still maintain good relations with the United States and China at the same time.
He said: “U.S. President Trump is difficult to predict, or his relationship with China will improve. At that time, whether the Tsai Ing-wen government’s policy on China can be closely integrated with the United States will be questioned.”
In a statement congratulating President Tsai Ing-wen on his re-election, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said: “The United States thanks President Tsai for his leadership in developing a strong partnership with the United States.”
In response to Pompeo’s congratulatory statement, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wu Zhaoxie said: “We are very pleased to have closer cooperation with you in the future.”