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Legislative election in Taiwan may pose problems for United States and China

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Publication Date: January 1992

Publisher(s): East-West Center

Author(s): Ralph N. Clough

Series: AsiaPacific issues ; no. 3

Topic: Government (Foreign relations)
Politics (Political parties and groups)

Type: Report

Coverage: Taiwan China United States


The Legislative Yuan election in Taiwan on December 19, when for the first time all the members will be elected from Taiwan, will be a crucial turning point in the island's domestic politics and carry important implications for Washington and Beijing. The new legislature will want to wield more power than in the past relative to the once-dominant executive branch, and legislators will be under greater pressure from growing special interest groups in Taiwan. Moreover, residents of Taiwan are becoming increasingly resentful of the glaring gap between the island's economic prominence (the 15th largest trading economy in the world) and its second-class diplomatic status. The chief opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party, advocates an independent "Republic of Taiwan," while the ruling Kuomintang envisages the eventual reunification of Taiwan with the China mainland after Beijing has adopted a democratic, free-market system. Growing independence sentiment in Taiwan could lead to a critical confrontation with Beijing, which has threatened to use military force to prevent secession.