October 4, 2023


Imagination at work

Taiwan Voters Back Ruling Party in Referendum, Removing Obstacle to U.S. Trade Deal

TAIPEI—Taiwan’s ruling get together claimed a decisive victory in a intently viewed referendum vote, in a setback for Beijing that eliminates a critical obstacle to a U.S. trade deal with the democratically ruled island.

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Bash, which supports closer ties with Washington at the price of Beijing, prevailed on all four thoughts put to voters on Saturday. Most likely most notably, Taiwan voters rejected a proposal that would have banned imports of pork containing trace amounts of the additive ractopamine—a critical obstacle to a totally free-trade agreement with the U.S.

The final result of the referendum was a surprise setback to Beijing and Taiwan’s opposition Nationalist Bash, or Kuomintang, which seeks closer ties with China. Beijing claims democratically ruled Taiwan as aspect of its territory.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, talking Saturday evening soon after the referendum final result, hailed the vote as a victory for democracy and the individuals of Taiwan. “The individuals of Taiwan hope to wander in direction of the entire world and are eager to actively take part in international affairs,” she reported at a news convention.

In addition to the vote on pork imports, Ms. Tsai’s ruling DPP also prevailed on a few other thoughts: one particular that dealt with the fate of a suspended nuclear plant, a different that asked voters to decide on no matter if to relocate a liquefied normal fuel terminal in order to shield an algal reef, and a fourth dilemma that, if approved, would have mandated that referendums be held in conjunction with general elections.

Irrespective of the victory for Ms. Tsai, turnout was somewhat low, at just around forty one% of eligible voters.

For the Biden administration, which has pursued closer ties with Taiwan, and for Ms. Tsai, the vote on the pork imports avoided an final result that would have enormously complex relations with Washington, reported

Bonnie Glaser,

the Washington-based mostly director of the Asia Software at the German Marshall Fund.

“There was a superior degree of worry within the Tsai administration that this pork referendum would move,” Ms. Glaser reported. If the pork import ban experienced been approved by Taiwan’s voters, “it just would have been quite consequential for the U.S.-Taiwan trade marriage,” she reported.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen hailed Saturday’s vote as a victory for democracy and the individuals of Taiwan.


daniel ceng/Agence France-Presse/Getty Pictures

Meals basic safety has typically ranked superior on the list of priorities for Taiwan voters. Opposition to the import of pork containing ractopamine experienced previously sparked numerous road protests, as perfectly as fistfights and the slinging of pig intestines in Taiwan’s legislature.

Sung Wen-ti, who teaches Taiwan research at Australian Countrywide College, reported that the final result on pork imports would possible pace alongside a trade deal between Washington and Taipei. “D.C. would presumably be a ton more eager to pursue advances with trade talks between the U.S. and Taiwan,” Mr. Sung reported.

Though the scope of the referendum was, in theory, confined to the issues at hand, each the ruling get together and the opposition Nationalist Bash framed the vote as a gauge of self-assurance in Ms. Tsai’s govt. In that respect, the final result is possible to bolster Ms. Tsai’s hand with a minor more than two many years left in her second phrase. She is barred from jogging yet again in 2024.

“This referendum—and long term kinds like it—point to the craze of how overt partisanship in Taiwan has pushed parties to prioritize scoring political details,” reported Jessica Drun, a nonresident fellow and Taiwan skilled at the Atlantic Council.

Eric Chu, chairman of the Nationalist Bash, blamed the low turnout on chilly temperature and the point that the referendum was remaining held separate from the general election cycle.

The referendum targeted on strength, pork imports and election policies.


ritchie b tongo/Shutterstock

Observers reported the election success marked a blow to Mr. Chu’s opposition get together, which has witnessed its assist erode in latest many years in Taiwan.

Chen Fang-yu, an assistant professor in political science at Taiwan’s Soochow College, characterised the referendum consequence as more “a failure of the KMT in its place of a good results of the DPP.”

Aside from the pork import dilemma, the conclusion on the LNG plant was intently viewed as a sign of Taiwan’s strength policy. Nuclear ability is typically unpopular in Taiwan, supplied its spot on the earthquake-inclined Ring of Fireplace.

Ms. Tsai experienced described the LNG plant as very important to Taiwan’s attempts to transition absent from coal and nuclear ability, though environmental groups experienced objected to the venture, citing the affect on the algal reef.

The island’s strength issues jumped into the spotlight in the summertime, as Taiwan suffered main blackouts, boosting thoughts around the island’s strength demands at a time when Taiwan is actively playing an more and more very important function in the world-wide semiconductor industry and provide chains more broadly.

Taiwan is residence to what is widely regarded as the world’s most critical chip maker,

Taiwan Semiconductor Producing Co.

, which consumes practically 5% of the island’s electric power.

Publish to Joyu Wang at [email protected]

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