DPP legislators split on 2020 presidential nominee

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers are divided on supporting a 2020 re-election run by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) said on Monday.

Some legislators are backing Premier William Lai (賴清德), who is rumored to be set to resign from his current post, as the party’s 2020 presidential nominee, with failed Kaohsiung mayoral candidate and former DPP legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) as his running mate, said Huang, according to the Taipei Times.

Tsai’s approval ratings have shrunk since her 2016 ascent to the country’s top office as she has received criticism from pro-independence advocates within the DPP, while the independence-leaning Lai remains popular within the party and among the public. Chen has enjoyed a surge in popularity since losing the Kaohsiung mayoral race to insurgent Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).

Some of Tsai’s supporters are pushing for Lai to become Tsai’s 2020 running mate. DPP Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) said a ticket of Tsai Ing-wen and Lai would make a “golden combination.”

However, Huang expressed a belief that the DPP needs two new candidates to “breathe fresh air into the party” after its Nov. 24, 2018 election defeats.

Tsai Ing-wen has rejected rumors that Lai is set to leave his post as Premier. Lai has given no indication that he is considering a run for President in 2020.


Credit: Reuters / TPG

Taiwan Premier William Lai.

MAC: China does not give Taiwan room to exist

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which handles relations with China, said in a statement on Tuesday that political formulas pushed by China, such as the “one China” principle and the “1992 Consensus,” are unacceptable as they give no room for the Republic of China (ROC) to exist.

The agency echoed President Tsai Ing-wen’s Tuesday “Four Musts” speech on cross-Strait relations, saying Beijing must understand differences between Taiwanese and Chinese society and allow room for Taiwan’s existence.

MAC spokesperson Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) told CNA that China interprets “one China” as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in contrast to the KMT position that the “1992 Consensus” allows for “one China, each side with its own interpretation.”

In her Tuesday speech, Tsai said cross-Strait exchanges must be “healthy and normal” rather than depending on “vague political preconditions or forced submissions to ‘passwords’ or acceptable phrases.”

Chiu said the government now has a responsibility to “make it clear to the public that those formulas promoted by China are hugely detrimental to the sovereignty of the ROC.”

Read More: Tsai Ing-wen Puts Forth 'Four Musts' for Positive Cross-Strait Relations


Credit: Reuters / TPG

Chinese President Xi Jinping's cross-Strait language gives Taiwan no room to exist, per the MAC.

MoFA thanks US for new law containing Taiwan provisions

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) thanked the United States for signing the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law, which contains provisions reaffirming Washington’s commitment to cooperation with and arms sales to Taiwan, on Monday.

The ministry said the timing of the bill was significant as 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, which lays a framework for non-diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Taiwan.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act but reiterated his executive authority to determine the extent of U.S. involvement in the Asia-Pacific region.

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently departed the administration over disagreements with Trump on supporting global U.S. allies after Trump announced the U.S. military would withdraw from Syria.

MoFA said Taiwan looks forward to deepening its ties with the U.S. thanks to the new act, which was also signed 40 years after the U.S. severed its ties with the ROC in favor of the PRC on Jan. 1, 1979.

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Read Next: Syria, Mattis, Chinese Hackers & Taiwan's Place in Trump's Fiefdom

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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