Taiwan Must Not Give Tsai Ing-wen Four More Years

Kent Wang

In January 2020, Taiwan will hold elections for its president and legislature. Campaigning for the presidency has long since commenced, and the prosperity of Taiwan's economy and the continuance of democratic freedoms might depend on whether voters will give President Tsai Ing-wen another four years or elect Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu.

The electoral campaign has entered a crucial moment; the developments of the farce of the Communist Spy Case became the talk of the town in Taiwan. Its dramatic developments have exceeded the tension of a "farce of espionage," making people associate it with the Bullet Gate Shooting Incident Case of 2004.

The Tsai government is indeed forcefully playing the anti-China card. With the catalysis of the protests and demonstrations over the extradition bill, the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, in Hong Kong, it has all the more been pandering "a sense of losing one’s country," while commenting here and there on the Hong Kong question. Thus, it is being considered by the other side of the Strait as "external forces" on a par with the United States. Cross-Strait relations will be destined to further deteriorate, and Taiwan's economy and democracy will be in the doldrums as a result.

First, let's scrutinize Taiwan's economic relationship with China. Since the Tsai government came to office, it has restricted cross-Strait investments, coupled with the New Southward Policy, proclaiming to reduce economic reliance on China, but after implementing the policies for close to four years, the effect is zero, as the reliance of Taiwan’s exports on China has inversely increased to 41 percent. As seen from this, Tsai’s plan to use political force for reducing the reliance of Taiwan's economy on China can never succeed. The pragmatic approach is to handle cross-Strait relations properly, never allowing the economy to be impacted by negative cross-Strait ties.

Certain fundamentalist faction members believe the international trade war will devastate China's economy, thus delinking Taiwan’s economy with that of China. However, this kind of thing will not happen because the structure of China’s economy has changed, with exports occupying less than 20 percent of GDP, and exports to the United States occupying 20 percent of the entire export volume, coupled with the fact that large scale economies themselves have greater room for maneuvering. Therefore, although the trade war is impactful, it won’t devastate China’s economy.

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