Taiwanese election may determine whether Beijing opts to force the issue of reunification (Defense One)

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    Taiwanese election may determine whether Beijing opts to force the issue of reunification – By Meredith Oyen (Defense One) / Jan 10, 2024

    Independence on the ballot?

    When the votes are being tallied in Taiwan’s presidential election, it won’t be only the 23.6 million inhabitants of the island eagerly awaiting a result—in Beijing and Washington, too, there will be some anxious faces.

    The vote of Jan. 13, 2024, is seen as a litmus test for the future of cross-strait relations, coming at a time when the status quo over Taiwan – a territory Beijing claims as an integral part of “one China”—is being challenged. If Taiwan’s incumbent, independence-oriented party stays in power, Chinese leader Xi Jinping might feel he has no choice but to force the issue of reunification.

    Conversely, if the opposition—which agrees with Beijing that Taiwan and the mainland are part of “one China” but not about who governs it—wins, Beijing might feel it has more space to be patient on the issue.

    In the run-up to the vote, Beijing has ramped up military exercises in and around the Taiwan Strait in an apparent warning to Taiwanese voters. On Jan. 6, in one of the most recent incidents, China sent a series of balloons over the island, which the Taiwan government cited as a threat to air travel and an attempt at intimidation.

    CONTINUE > https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2024/01/taiwanese-election-may-determine-whether-beijing-opts-force-issue-reunification/393199/

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