TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan is documenting its experiences with China’s alleged attempts to interfere in elections next week and will publish its analysis soon after the vote.
Taiwan’s government has pointed to military and economic pressure as well as Chinese-subsidised trips to China for local Taiwanese officials, as evidence of Beijing’s alleged interference ahead of the Jan. 13 presidential and parliamentary election.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has called Taiwan’s elections a “purely an internal Chinese matter” and that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is trying to call any kind of interactions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait election interference.
“Taiwan is taking measures to counter China’s interference and is documenting its experiences. Analysis will be published soon after the elections in consultation with international experts,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu wrote in the latest issue of The Economist, without giving details.
Taiwan’s presidential and parliamentary elections are taking place against a backdrop of what the island’s government says is a concerted effort by China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, to sway the vote to get electors to vote for candidates Beijing may prefer.
China has cast the election as a choice between war and peace, and says Taiwan’s government has been “hyping up” a military threat from China for electoral gain.
“Should China succeed in shaping the outcome of voting in Taiwan, it will apply the same tactics to other democracies to promote its preferred international order,” Wu wrote.
He urged the international community to pay more attention to China’s efforts to undermine Taiwan’s democracy through influence and disinformation campaigns, as well as hybrid warfare, including cyberattacks.
“Our desire is to turn Taiwan’s experience into a positive contribution to the rules-based international order, thereby helping the free world’s fight against authoritarian powers bent on eroding democratic systems,” Wu wrote.
“It is our belief that democracy will prevail.”
Taiwan’s government rejects China’s sovereignty claims.
China has aimed its ire at the DPP’s presidential candidate, current Vice President Lai Ching-te, accusing him of being a dangerous separatist.
Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but been rebuffed.
Both the DPP and Taiwan’s largest opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT), which traditionally favours close ties with China but denies being pro-Beijing, say only Taiwan’s 23 million people can decide their future.
But the KMT also says it strongly opposes Taiwan independence.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)