China is intently following Taiwan’s presidential election, which has sparked geopolitical tensions. Taiwanese voters backed DPP candidate Lai over Beijing’s warnings, affecting the US-PRC balance. Given its historical claims over Taiwan and regional geopolitics, China’s response to the election results raises worldwide worries.
Beijing’s Displeasure and Taiwan’s Shift
Taiwan’s eighth presidential election on January 13, 2024, affects global influence, especially between the US and China. As Taiwan’s geopolitical relevance grows, the election could affect the delicate relationship between the two countries.
Beijing publicly criticizes the DPP and Lai Ching-te. Taiwan’s national consciousness has grown under President Tsai Ing-wen, further separating it from China. The Hong Kong control dispute has fueled Taiwan’s opposition to deeper integration with China.
Lai Ching-te won the presidential election, but the DPP lost its Legislative Yuan majority. The Kuomintang (KMT) gained, challenging Lai’s national security and defense policies. Lai may struggle to accomplish major priorities in a split legislature.
Challenges Ahead in Global Dynamics
The KMT, preferred by Beijing, ran nonconventional candidate Hou Yu-ih, who criticized the PRC’s “one-country two systems” policy. Even with a KMT win, Taiwan’s unification with China is doubtful. China’s response to the election implies Beijing worries Taiwan would deviate from its expected path, suggesting increasing assertiveness.
In an attempt to deescalate tensions, the Biden administration changed its Taiwan tone. The term “in a manner acceptable to the people on both sides of the strait” emphasizes the need for Taiwanese and Chinese backing, a shift from prior pronouncements. The change shows a nuanced approach to cross-strait ties.
China struggles to unify as Lai Ching-te leads Taiwan. The Chinese Communist Party is unhappy with the election result, raising Taiwan Strait concerns. Global dynamics are changing, making the US’s position in regional security and peace important, laying the stage for geopolitical developments in the coming months.