Treading Choppy Waters: Cross-Strait Relations in Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential Election

By Pamela Kennedy Author

This article was originally published in The Diplomat.

Taiwan’s contentious presidential race is over, and the incumbent, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, has been re-elected with over 8 million votes, a record in Taiwan’s history.

With the ongoing Hong Kong protests and the barrage of fake news during the campaigns, the elections were about cross-strait relations more than any other issue. Voters went to the polls to decide between continuing Tsai’s arms-length policy approach to China or switching to rival candidate Han Kuo-yu’s proposal to renew relations across the strait. They overwhelmingly selected Tsai despite Beijing’s warning that cross-strait relations will worsen under a second Tsai administration. Clearly the voters in Taiwan have decided that if relations remain chilly, it will be because Beijing rebuffs Tsai’s cautious approach to cross-strait interactions.

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