China rattles saber – and offers friendship – days before Taiwan’s elections

Reuters
Date: De5cember 30, 2019
By: Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) – With just days to go before Taiwan’s elections, its giant neighbor is trying a push-and-pull strategy on the island Beijing claims as Chinese territory, rattling its saber while trying to coax electors with outwardly friendlier policies.Taiwan, which says it is an independent country, has long been wary of Chinese attempts to sway its elections in favor of candidates who may look more kindly upon Beijing.

FILE PHOTO: A banner is reflected on a polished surface as Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 2, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Fear of China has become a major element in the campaign, boosted not only by the anti-government protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong but also by a speech Chinese President Xi Jinping gave in January outlining China’s “reunification” agenda, including threats of force.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her team are pressing home a message that people need to “protect” Taiwan from China when they vote in the Jan. 11 presidential and parliamentary election.
[FULL  STORY]

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