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Taiwan’s Presidential Election: What’s At Stake




Southern Californian Taiwanese, including those pictured in green jackets, have returned to the island to vote in the contest for president.
Southern Californian Taiwanese, including those pictured in green jackets, have returned to the island to vote in the contest for president.
(Photo courtesy of Wendy Yang)

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With Taiwan’s presidential election tomorrow, many in the U.S. are traveling overseas to cast their votes. Under the umbrella of Taiwan’s fraught relationship with China, choosing Taiwan’s leadership is a responsibility many Tawianese-Americans are taking seriously.

Taiwan does not allow absentee voting, leading many to make the flight home to cast their votes. According to LAist, it is estimated about 6,000 Taiwanese residents living in SoCal who still carry Taiwanese citizenship plan to travel back to Taiwan to participate in the elections. Many see their vote as an important part of the larger issue in Taiwan’s relationship with China. 

Taiwan's elections are lively events that generally revolve around economic, public welfare and social justice issues, though China’s threat to annex the self-governing island by force always looms large in the background. “Every one of us must vote!” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen told a late night rally in downtown Taipei. “This is for the sake of Taiwan’s youth, for the sake of their future!”

Polls indicate that the Democratic Progressive Party’s President Tsai Ing-wen is poised to win a second four-year term on Saturday against her opponent, Han Kuo-yu of the Nationalist Party. Taiwan’s presidential elections generally revolve around the island’s relationship with China. Voters have gone back and forth between the tough line that the Democratic Progressive Party says is best to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and the cooperation with China that the Nationalist Party says will foster economic growth.

Read Josie’s story on Taiwanese Americans returning to the island-nation for the election here.

With file from the Associated Press

Guests:

Abe Denmark, Asia Program Director at the Wilson Center in DC

Josie Huang, correspondent at KPCC covering the Asian American communities in the region; her latest piece is on Taiwanese Americans in Southern California who are heading back to the island-nation to vote in the presidential election tomorrow