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Business News/ Elections / Taiwan official seeks greater engagement with China, presidential poll front-runner William Lai says...
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Taiwan official seeks greater engagement with China, presidential poll front-runner William Lai says...

Taiwan's Vice president William Lai hopes to re-open dialogue with China while maintaining Taiwan's independence, as Beijing refuses to communicate with the self-governing island.

Supporters cheer for the Democratic Progressive Party during an elections rally in New Taipei City, Taiwan. Using military threats, diplomatic pressure, fake news and financial inducements for politicians, China is deploying a broad strategy to influence voters in Taiwan’s elections to pick candidates who favor unification. (AP)Premium
Supporters cheer for the Democratic Progressive Party during an elections rally in New Taipei City, Taiwan. Using military threats, diplomatic pressure, fake news and financial inducements for politicians, China is deploying a broad strategy to influence voters in Taiwan’s elections to pick candidates who favor unification. (AP)

Taiwan Polls 2024: On Tuesday Taiwan's Vice president and leading candidate for the upcoming presidential elections William Lai said that he hoped to re-open dialogue with China, while maintaining democratic Taiwan's de-facto independence. 

The statement comes as Beijing has exhibited a near-complete refusal to communicate with leaders of the self-governing island it considers its own territory- Taiwan. Over the years, China has only demanded that Taiwan's leadership concede its claim of ownership over the island before reopening contacts.

Taiwan has been facing the Chinese Communist Party threats to annex it by political, military or economic means.

“Our door will always be open to engagement with Beijing under the principles of equality and dignity. We are ready and willing to engage to show more for the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Peace is priceless and war has no winners," Lai said.

Lai, currently Taiwan's vice president, is broadly seen as the front-runner in the election to succeed President Tsai Ing-wen, who is barred by law from running for a third term.

Taiwan disenfranchises thousands of voters

In a bid to shield Taiwan’s elections from potential interference by China that for years the nation disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.

What bars so many from casting ballots is Taiwan’s insistence that all voting be done in person, a rule that’s been in place since the island of 23 million people first began direct elections almost three decades ago.

Taiwan Polls 2024

William Lai, was projected as the front-runner of the much anticipated polls, well ahead of the main opposition Nationalist Party, or KMT, candidate Hou You-yi, who favors eventual unification with China under its own terms, and the alternative Taiwan People's Party's Ko Wen-je, who has also pressed for renewed dialogue with China and the avoidance of confrontation with Beijing.

Looming over the election has been China's steadily increasing pressure on Taiwan through barring it from major international gatherings, wooing away its diplomatic allies to just a handful, and offering financial inducements to politicians — from the grassroots to top opposition figures who could influence the vote or promote policies increasing Chinese access to the the island's economy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sayantani Biswas
Sayantani is an editor with Livemint. She covers stories of International and Indian politics, conflict
Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
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Published: 10 Jan 2024, 02:27 PM IST
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