January 13, 2024
China’s Influence on Taiwan’s Election: Strategies and Tensions
- As Taiwan prepares for its presidential election, tensions rise with China employing various tactics to influence the outcome. Beijing’s desire for reunification clashes with Taiwan’s pursuit of independence, creating a complex geopolitical scenario. This article explores how China is leveraging military threats, economic pressure, and political alliances to sway the election in favor of the Kuomintang (KMT) opposition.
Military Posturing and Misunderstandings:
- The recent air raid alert in Taiwan, triggered by China’s satellite launch, raised concerns about a potential attack just days before the elections. The incident, marked by a misunderstanding of the warning, underscores the heightened nervousness in Taiwan’s political atmosphere.
Beijing’s Preference for KMT:
- China’s Communist Party seeks a KMT victory, as the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, Lai Ching-te, advocates for Taiwan’s independence. Angela Köckritz, an expert, suggests that despite the CCP’s support for the KMT, societal changes in Taiwan may limit the impact even if the KMT candidate wins.
Pragmatic Relations and Economic Threats:
- China maintains pragmatic ties with the KMT, both parties aligning on the ‘One China’ principle. Economic cooperation, established under the Cross Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), faces challenges as Taiwan imposes trade barriers, leading to potential economic consequences. Beijing’s recent suspension of duty exemptions for Taiwanese imports signals a strategic move with potential electoral implications.
Military Posturing and War Threats:
- China’s military activities around Taiwan intensify, with daily reports of aircraft and vessels operating in the strait. Both the DPP and KMT integrate the threat of war into their election campaigns, each framing the issue differently to attract voters.
- In the virtual realm, a disinformation war unfolds, attributed to Beijing’s cyber army. The widespread use of platforms like TikTok, owned by a mainland-based company, amplifies disinformation, fueling distrust and dissatisfaction among the Taiwanese population.
- China’s multifaceted approach, combining military posturing, economic pressure, and disinformation, underscores its determination to influence Taiwan’s election. As the island navigates these challenges, the outcome will not only shape its political landscape but also impact the delicate balance in cross-strait relations.