Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 13, 2020

The overwhelming, earth-shattering, landslide re-election victory of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen sends a shocking message to Beijing: If you plan to take Taiwan, prepare for greater opposition than you got from Hong Kong. But, like the house cat who doesn’t know it’s not God, let alone that it’s not any tiger, they won’t ever decrypt the message. Beijing will be emotionally hurt, insulted, and will thus froth with rage.

Choosing former Premier William Lai as her Vice running mate was wise. Not only is he loved for—perhaps only for—his intractable stance against corruption, he also views Taiwan as having an already de facto independent status. While President Tsai prefers status quo—a peacefully unresolved dispute with China—Vice President Elect Lai views any Taiwanese declaration of independence from China as no more than a formality for how things already are anyway.

This choice of William Lai strengthens her position. If she were to step down, a president would take her place with an even stronger stance against Chinese expansionism. So, even her political opponents would want her to remain in office.

Taiwan’s position is stronger, not only in US relations, but also within Taiwan. Expect actions from China that result in Taiwan responding with moves toward even greater independence than status quo already boasts.


Taiwan election: Tsai Ing-wen wins second presidential term, beating Beijing-friendly rival // HKFP

Taiwan election: Tsai Ing-wen wins second presidential term // BBC News

In Blow to Beijing, Taiwan Re-elects Tsai Ing-wen as President // NY Times

Taiwan election: Tsai bids for second term against contender Han // BBC News

Taiwan election hit by fears of Beijing’s influence and fake news // CNN

Hong Kong

Hong Kong protests: Nearly 2 million adults showed symptoms of PTSD during unrest // CNN

Hong Kong protest ‘grandma’ reportedly detained in China // Quartz

Explainer: HSBC, Spark Alliance and the law behind the latest fury in Hong Kong protests // SCMP

Hong Kong Protests Force Louis Vuitton To Close A Store; Will More Follow Its Lead? // Forbes