The front-runner in Taiwan’s presidential race said Sunday that she would seek stable relations with mainland China, but did not rule out revisiting the island’s official stance on independence, leaving open questions about how China would respond to her probable victory in next month’s elections.
Tsai Ing-wen, the opposition leader who has firmly held onto a sizeable lead in polls, used her platform during the first debate to warn against the political rapprochement and deepening economic ties with the mainland brought by the ruling Nationalist Party, or KMT, since the 2008 elections.
“We cannot simply be bound to China,” Tsai said. “That’s what worries us most about the past eight years — the sense that that’s the only choice we have. That’s not good for our economy or our security.”
Against the backdrop of a sputtering economy and rising anti-mainland sentiment, the Jan. 16 elections have been framed by both the KMT and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party as a referendum on President Ma Ying-jeou’s China policy. Read more