The winds of change that swept Taiwan on Saturday, Jan. 16, propelling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Dr. Tsai Ing-wen to a landslide victory — with nearly double the number of votes garnered by her ruling-party opponent, Eric Chu — marks a turning point in both domestic Taiwan politics and also great-power politics. Taiwan’s internal affairs are re-emerging as the small island’s main wellspring of change, rather than pressure from the two behemoths most linked to Taiwan’s destiny: China and the United States.
After several years of relative quiescence, the Taiwan question will be back on the high agenda. Popular sentiment emanating from Taiwan, a self-governing island of about 23 million, is likely to challenge mainland China’s expectation of advancing a more integrated “one China” policy. At the same time, U.S. ambiguity regarding the degree to which it would back a democratic Taiwan in crisis may well be tested anew.
Read the full op-ed in Foreign Policy.