China’s Warning Ignored: Taiwan’s Voters Make History Again
President-elect Lai Ching-te’s Victory in Taiwan’s Presidential Election
Growing Concerns for Korea in Northeast Asia
Following the victory of Lai Ching-te, a candidate from the pro-American and independent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in Taiwan’s presidential election on the 13th, there is growing concern about the need for Korea to prepare for ongoing geopolitical risks in Northeast Asia.
On the 15th, the Korea International Trade Association’s (KITA) International Trade and Commerce Institute reported on the 2024 Taiwan Presidential Election Results and Future Prospects. The report suggested, “With the election of candidate Lai Ching-te, China is likely to intensify its military, economic, and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan” and added, “Resuming official cross-strait exchanges under President-elect Lai Ching-te’s administration is expected to be challenging.”
Significance of the 2024 Taiwan Presidential and Legislative Elections
The Taiwan presidential and legislative elections, held earlier this year, marked the first elections of 2024, dubbed the “year of the super election.” Many nations closely monitored them, as their outcomes could impact cross-strait relations, the security dynamics of Northeast Asia, and the ongoing competition between the United States and China for hegemony.
In the 16th presidential election, DPP candidate Lai Ching-te secured victory, defeating Kuomintang candidate Hou Yu-ih by 6.6% and Taiwan People’s Party candidate Ko Wen-je by 13.6%.
Taiwan’s Ongoing Efforts to Strengthen Relations with the US and Japan
President-elect Lai Ching-te is expected to continue the policies of current President Tsai Ing-wen, focusing on strengthening national defense, fostering closer relations with democratic nations like the United States and Japan, and reducing economic dependence on China.
Taiwan has been actively enhancing its ties with Japan in recent years, seeking security through its most crucial international partner, the United States. As a result, KITA’s analysis anticipates that Taiwan will further strengthen its connections with democratic nations such as the US and Japan.
Notably, President-elect Lai Ching-te opposes recognizing the 1992 Consensus, which China considers a prerequisite for resuming official communication, viewing it as a compromise of Taiwan’s sovereignty. The 1992 Consensus is a cross-strait relations principle established in 1992, signifying “upholding the One China principle but interpreting it differently on each side.”
Jung Hae Young, a senior researcher at the Korea Trade Association, commented, “With the election of candidate Lai Ching-te, tensions in cross-strait relations are expected to persist, making improvements in the Northeast Asia region’s geopolitical risks unlikely in the short term.” “Unless Taiwan actively pursues a pro-independence stance, the chances of maintaining the current state of cross-strait relations are higher than further deterioration, given each nation’s consideration to prevent unnecessary conflicts,” he added.
He emphasized the need to review supply chain pre-inspections and response strategies for various scenarios to prepare for ongoing geopolitical risks in Northeast Asia.