TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) was selected as the Kuomintang (KMT, 國民黨) standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election on July 15. He will be running against the current president, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, 民進黨).
The Big Feat
Currently the mayor of Kaohsiung, Han quickly gained popularity due to his grassroots background and populist ideas. But, does anyone know Han Kuo-yu’s stance on cross-strait relations?
Winning over Kaohsiung established Han as a formidable opponent and uplifted his reputation, it is indeed a big feat for the KMT. For 20 years, all the mayors of Kaohsiung have been DPP members. In fact, if not for the clout that came from winning office in Kaohsiung back in November 2018, Han’s success in the primaries would have been unforeseeable — perhaps even impossible.
Deciding Taiwan’s Fate
The number one priority in the elections is the policy concerning cross-strait relations. Taiwan is sitting in the middle of seesaw that could tip either way, whatever decision comes next must support the balancing act. Therefore, knowing the presidential candidates’ strategies and thoughts regarding this matter may be the deciding factor next January.
Han Kuo-yu recently stated, and very firmly so, his opposition against the “one country, two systems” policy. It indeed contradicts what he had said earlier in April, especially while he visited Stanford to give his speech for students abroad.
During an interview, afterwards, he had made the analogy that Taiwan is like a rich, fair-skinned girl. She is being courted by three boys — Japan, America and China — with which she can flirt and date but can never marry. If she were to choose one, the other two boys would be jealous and inflict violence on her until she dies.
The inferred meaning behind the analogy seems to be that Taiwan cannot favor its relation with any one of the three countries more than the others, Then logically, Taiwan also cannot outrightly cut off any of the relationships.
Handing Citizens Empty Promises
If Han is telling people what they want to hear, pleasing them, then this strong opposition against China could lead to some serious consequences. Yet, when asked about the Hong Kong protests in June, he claimed to be unaware of the situation seemingly ill-informed.
“I don’t know,” he asserted, raising alarm from many citizens. Han either has a strong stance on cross-strait relations and a plan to carry out or is he being ignorant and handing citizens empty promises.
Not even a year into his term as mayor of Kaohsiung and he is already in the running to be the president of Taiwan. If he wins the elections, it is rumoured he will not be leaving his post in Kaohsiung.
He will be assuming responsibilities for both his city and his country. What is left to consider is whose hands will hold the power of navigating Taiwan’s cross-strait relationship and what results will follow. Taiwan’s hope for a new future is now of the citizens’ choosing.
By Amelia Chea, special to The China Post