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

Joseph B. Hash

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

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Bash, which supports nearer ties with Washington at the cost of Beijing, prevailed on all four concerns put to voters on Saturday. Perhaps most notably, Taiwan voters turned down a proposal that would have banned imports of pork containing trace quantities of the additive ractopamine—a crucial obstacle to a free of charge-trade arrangement with the U.S.

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

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, speaking Saturday night soon after the referendum end result, hailed the vote as a victory for democracy and the folks of Taiwan. “The folks of Taiwan hope to stroll toward the environment and are inclined to actively participate in global affairs,” she said at a news meeting.

In addition to the vote on pork imports, Ms. Tsai’s ruling DPP also prevailed on three other concerns: a single that dealt with the destiny of a suspended nuclear plant, one more that questioned voters to decide on irrespective of whether to relocate a liquefied all-natural gas terminal in buy to defend an algal reef, and a fourth dilemma that, if permitted, would have mandated that referendums be held in conjunction with basic elections.

Regardless of the victory for Ms. Tsai, turnout was rather lower, at just more than forty one% of eligible voters.

For the Biden administration, which has pursued nearer ties with Taiwan, and for Ms. Tsai, the vote on the pork imports averted an end result that would have considerably sophisticated relations with Washington, said

Bonnie Glaser,

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

“There was a high degree of issue within just the Tsai administration that this pork referendum would go,” Ms. Glaser said. If the pork import ban experienced been permitted by Taiwan’s voters, “it just would have been quite consequential for the U.S.-Taiwan trade relationship,” she said.

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


daniel ceng/Agence France-Presse/Getty Photos

Food stuff security has historically rated high on the record of priorities for Taiwan voters. Opposition to the import of pork containing ractopamine experienced by now sparked quite a few road protests, as well as fistfights and the slinging of pig intestines in Taiwan’s legislature.

Sung Wen-ti, who teaches Taiwan studies at Australian National College, said that the end result on pork imports would probable pace alongside a trade offer among Washington and Taipei. “D.C. would presumably be a whole lot much more inclined to go after developments with trade talks among the U.S. and Taiwan,” Mr. Sung said.

When the scope of the referendum was, in concept, confined to the problems at hand, equally the ruling get together and the opposition Nationalist Bash framed the vote as a gauge of assurance in Ms. Tsai’s govt. In that respect, the end result is probable to fortify Ms. Tsai’s hand with a tiny much more than two several years remaining in her 2nd expression. She is barred from running yet again in 2024.

“This referendum—and future kinds like it—point to the trend of how overt partisanship in Taiwan has pushed get-togethers to prioritize scoring political factors,” said Jessica Drun, a nonresident fellow and Taiwan skilled at the Atlantic Council.

Eric Chu, chairman of the Nationalist Bash, blamed the lower turnout on chilly weather and the fact that the referendum was staying held individual from the basic election cycle.

The referendum centered on energy, pork imports and election procedures.


ritchie b tongo/Shutterstock

Observers said the election results marked a blow to Mr. Chu’s opposition get together, which has witnessed its guidance erode in new several years in Taiwan.

Chen Fang-yu, an assistant professor in political science at Taiwan’s Soochow College, characterized the referendum outcome as much more “a failure of the KMT rather of a good results of the DPP.”

Aside from the pork import dilemma, the decision on the LNG plant was intently viewed as a signal of Taiwan’s energy policy. Nuclear electric power is commonly unpopular in Taiwan, offered its place on the earthquake-vulnerable Ring of Hearth.

Ms. Tsai experienced described the LNG plant as very important to Taiwan’s endeavours to changeover absent from coal and nuclear electric power, even though environmental teams experienced objected to the undertaking, citing the effects on the algal reef.

The island’s energy problems jumped into the highlight in the summer, as Taiwan endured big blackouts, raising concerns more than the island’s energy wants at a time when Taiwan is participating in an ever more very important purpose in the worldwide semiconductor industry and source chains much more broadly.

Taiwan is property to what is widely regarded as the world’s most vital chip maker,

Taiwan Semiconductor Producing Co.

, which consumes approximately 5% of the island’s electrical power.

Publish to Joyu Wang at [email protected]

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