Elections in Taiwan: A Turning Point?

Probably the only certain aspect of the China-Taiwan relationship is its uncertainty, which has never been more apparent than in the upcoming Taiwanese presidential and legislative elections. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose foundational platform advocates the independence of Taiwan from mainland China, is expected to win the presidency.  And some polls even predict a DPP takeover of the Legislative Yuan, marking the first time in history the DPP controls the legislature. With so many leaders supporting independence from the mainland—just 110 miles away—leaders around the world will be anxiously watching this historic election with Beijing in their periphery.

Current President Ma Ying-jeou, a member of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party, has made major improvements in relations between Taiwan and the mainland—even meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in November. Under the “One China” principle agreed to in the 1992 Consensus, both mainland China and Taiwan acknowledge belonging to the same China, but they also agreed to interpret the meaning of one China according to their own individual definition. The DPP has been outwardly critical of this principle, arguing the 1992 agreement was no “consensus” at all.

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