News / Asia

    'Ominous' China Key Challenge for Taiwan's President-elect

    Taiwan President-elect to Face 'Ominous' Chinai
    X
    William Ide
    January 20, 2016 1:33 AM
    Taiwan's voters gave Tsai Ing-wen and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party a new mandate Saturday, helping it seize control of both the legislature and presidency for the first time. And dealing with the island’s neighbor and political rival, China, will be one of her biggest challenges. VOA’s William Ide reports.
    Taiwan President-elect to Face 'Ominous' China

    Taiwan's voters gave Tsai Ing-wen and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party or DPP a new mandate Saturday, helping it seize control of both the legislature and presidency for the first time ever. Dealing with the island’s neighbor and political rival China will be one of her biggest challenges and concerns.

    Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide victory over the Nationalist Party (KMT) Saturday. The KMT spent the last eight years growing ties with Beijing and Tsai ran on a platform that calls for diversifying the island’s economic ties.

    New chapter

    The victory will open a new chapter in Taiwan’s history, but the China that the island faces today, is much different from the first time Tsai’s DPP won the presidency in 2000.

    Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen waves to supporters as they celebrate her election victory at the party's headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, Jan. 16, 2016.
    Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen waves to supporters as they celebrate her election victory at the party's headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, Jan. 16, 2016.

    “The People’s Republic of China geopolitically, militarily and economically is far more powerful than it was 16 years ago and second of all there is an authoritarian leader in charge in the PRC who I think is in many ways more ominous,” says Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and close watcher of Taiwan’s democratic development.

    Diamond says that there is no democracy in the world that faces the same kind of intimidation and pressure that Taiwan does in the shadow of China. And that, he says, underscores, president-elect Tsai’s need for caution in managing relations with China.

    China Model

    How Beijing treats Taiwan will also be key.

    As China markets itself as an alternative global power, its actions in the South China Sea, crackdown on dissent on the mainland and Hong Kong are increasingly a source of concern.

    “Hong Kong demonstrates that the vision that China has is one that the people who would be subject to it are unhappy with. People in Hong Kong are very unhappy with the attempts by China to put more and more controls on the place,” says Bruce Jacobs, a Taiwan specialist.

    He says that how the relationship develops is really up to Beijing.

    “Actually everyone in Taiwan wants good relations with China and it’s the Chinese that control whether the relationship is good or bad.”

    Democratic identity

    Following the elections, China reasserted its view that the self-ruled island is part of its territory, arguing that the democratic vote would not change as it put it, that “basic fact” or “international opinion.”

    Guards of honor parade at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, Jan. 17, 2016.
    Guards of honor parade at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, Jan. 17, 2016.

    The comments were in sharp contrast to Tsai’s remarks following the elections, who called for respect of Taiwan’s “democracy, national identity and international space.” She also warned that any form of suppression would harm the stability of cross-strait relations.

    “What I think that they sometimes fail to understand — the leaders in Beijing — is that for Taiwanese, democracy is their identity and this political system is definitive of Taiwan,” says Shelley Rigger, a Taiwan scholar at Davidson College in the eastern state of North Carolina.

    For now, analysts say, China will give Tsai some breathing room and wait at least until she delivers her inaugural address. Tsai was elected Saturday, but does not take office until May 20.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora