Taiwan Elections: Frontrunner Vows to Maintain Status Quo, Engage With China

    Taiwan Elections: Frontrunner Vows to Maintain Status Quo, Engage With China
    Photo: Annabelle Chih/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Taiwan's leading presidential hopeful, Vice Pres. William Lai, told foreign reporters on Tuesday that his potential administration would continue to preserve the island's de facto independence by any means necessary, however, he would be open to engaging with Beijing "under the principles of equality and dignity."

    • The candidate for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also delivered his strongest remarks to date, claiming that Beijing has employed propaganda, military intimidation, cognitive warfare, and fake news to interfere in Taiwan's elections and secure an alleged China-friendly puppet government — accusations Beijing has dismissed.

    The Spin

    Pro-China narrative

    Lai shouldn't expect to achieve different results if he plans to continue his party's policy to militarize Taiwan, seek secession, and resist reunification, particularly as that policy has escalated cross-Strait tensions in the first place. As long as US-backed pro-independence forces remain in control of the island, war will always be a looming threat.

    Anti-China narrative

    It's crystal clear that Beijing has aggravated cross-Strait tensions, including carrying out gray zone operations, in the hope that Taiwanese citizens will be intimidated into supporting the China-friendly KMT. Hopefully, the nation will not cave into this obnoxious strategy that has already failed several other times.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 55% chance that China will annex at least half of Taiwan before 2050, if the DPP wins the 2024 Taiwanese election, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter