CONTENT PREVIEW
CBRN Assessment

Taiwan’s reorientation to nuclear power likely to disrupt renewables sector, Chinese interest in KMT-controlled districts to increase

10 December 2018

Key Points

  • KMT is likely to focus on leveraging Mainland Chinese commercial interest to boost its economic growth.
  • The long-term energy development of Taiwan is likely to shift towards nuclear and renewables, with the extension of the life of current nuclear facilities a current policy priority.
  • Imports of natural gas, another key alternative energy source in the prior plan for 2025, face higher political uncertainties over national security concerns.

Event

After the Taiwanese electorate voted overwhelmingly against coal and thermal-powered energy sources, the country is likely to revive its nuclear sector, but this may disrupt planned initiatives involving renewables.

Han Kuo-yu, from the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, gestures after his victory in the Kaohsiung mayor race following local elections in Taipei on 24 November 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)Han Kuo-yu, from the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, gestures after his victory in the Kaohsiung mayor race following local elections in Taipei on 24 November 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)

During the 4 December summit for entrepreneurs across the Taiwan Strait, Mainland Chinese vice-premier Wang Yang announced that "commercial connectivity" with Taiwan will be deepened. The summit followed Taiwan's mid-term 'nine-in-one' local elections on 24 November, which selected district-level leaders including those for Taiwan's 13 counties, six special municipalities, and three city mayors. The results were a clear defeat for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which won only six out of 22 municipal leadership positions. More importantly, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) won three out of six 'special municipalities' cities: New Taipei city, Taichung city and Kaohsiung city, the DPP's stronghold. Following the publication of the results, DPP Chairperson and Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, resigned from her party leadership position (she remains president).

China to seek improved ties with KMT districts

Han Kuo-yu, mayor-elect of Kaohsiung, announced on 29 November that more than 20 companies have notified him of their interest in investing in the city. Mainland Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang announced that Mainland China is likely to introduce new policies to promote cross-strait trade. Going forward, increased Mainland Chinese interest and commercial opportunities are likely to be focused on KMT constituencies. This would strengthen Mainland China's economic influence in Taiwan further, adding to political pressure on the traditionally pro-independent DPP.

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