SNAPSHOTS

In Taiwan, a Failed Referendum Presages More U.S. Trade -- and More Chinese Ire

MIN READDec 21, 2021 | 17:37 GMT

Activists march down a street in Taipei, Taiwan, to protest restarting construction on a nuclear power plant on Dec. 4, 2021.

Activists march down a street in Taipei, Taiwan, to protest restarting construction on a nuclear power plant on Dec. 4, 2021.

(Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

Taiwan’s recent referendum handed a victory to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) -- which champions Taipei’s sovereignty -- limiting democratic obstructionism and presaging greater prospects for a U.S.-Taiwan trade deal, as well as increased Chinese efforts at political coercion on the island. A four-question referendum in Taiwan failed to pass on Dec. 18 as the number of “no” votes exceeded “yes” votes on all questions and the minimum number of voters (a quarter of the electorate) failed to vote “yes” on any of the measures. The referendum included propositions to restart construction on the Lungmen nuclear power plant, relocate a liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminal project away from the Datan Algal Reef, ban imports of U.S. pork with ractopamine additives, and schedule referendums contemporaneously with national elections. Lin wei-chou, deputy secretary-general of Taiwan’s opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, which is more pro-Beijing, resigned to take responsibility for the referendum...

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