Friday, October 13, 2023

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, October 13, 2023

Authors: Nils Peterson of the Institute for the Study of War 

Data Cutoff: October 12 at Noon ET 

The China–Taiwan Weekly Update focuses on the Chinese Communist Party’s paths to controlling Taiwan and relevant cross–Taiwan Strait developments. 

Key Takeaways   

  1. The Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party are discussing a joint presidential ticket and may form one before the January 13 election.
  2. The Chinese Communist Party blamed the United States and Europe of “biased” support for Israel, indicating that the party aims to delegitimize the United States as a responsible regional actor.

Taiwanese Presidential Election 

The Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) are discussing a joint presidential ticket and may form one before the January 13 election. The KMT aims to overcome its third place standing in the presidential race by partnering with the second place TPP to create a competitive challenge to the leading Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-te. The second place TPP also seeks a joint ticket to increase its competitiveness against Lai. KMT presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih and TPP presidential candidate Ko Wen-je have expressed openness to working together over the past two months but have not agreed on specific measures for cooperation. The KMT and TPP leadership began planning for pre-negotiation discussions during the past week and scheduled the first staff dialogue for October 14.[1] The parties taking tangible steps towards dialogue is consistent with ISW’s October 5 assessment that the TPP could form a joint presidential ticket before the January election.[2]

  • Ko has been open to cooperating with Hou to forge a winning electoral strategy since August but without working toward a joint ticket.[3] KMT Chairman Eric Chu and Hou also have expressed a willingness to work with the TPP in late August.[4] Several local district level KMT leaders called for cooperation between Hou and Ko on September 20.[5]
  • Ko proposed on October 10 to hold three debates with Hou before a third-party poll that would determine the presidential candidate for a joint KMT-TPP ticket. He also nominated his campaign chief Huang Shan-shan and campaign office chair Chou Yu-hsiu for negotiations with the KMT on organizing the debates.[6]
  • Ko leads Hou by 7.4 percentage points in the presidential election, according to the most recent poll by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation from September 25.[7]

ISW assesses that the CCP holds the following leverage points over each of the Taiwanese presidential candidates:

ISW asses that a joint Ko-Hou presidential ticket would have the following implications for the CCP leverage points over the Taiwanese presidential candidates:

Chinese Communist Party in the Middle East

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) blamed the United States and Europe for “biased” support for Israel, indicating that the party aims to delegitimize the United States as a responsible regional actor. The CCP condemned violence between Palestine and Israel but did not condemn Hamas.[8] The party called for all involved parties to remain restrained and immediately implement a cease fire on October 8 and October 9. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed support for the October 11 resolution passed by the Arab League that called for an immediate cessation of Israeli military action in Gaza.[9] CCP English-language propaganda outlets accused American and European countries of hindering the creation of a Palestinian state because of “biased” support for Israel.[10] This narrative places the blame for the current instability in the Middle East on the West. This aligns with the CCP’s messaging during Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine which blamed the United States and NATO expansion for instigating the crisis.[11]

  • The CCP’s October 8 statement called for an immediate ceasefire in order to protect civilians and prevent the situation from deteriorating.[12] PRC Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mao Ning stated on October 9 that the party’s top priority was for the war to end as soon as possible.[13] She also declined to label Hamas’ actions as “acts of terrorism” and refused to state whether the PRC urged Iran to restrain Hamas.[14] This statement came after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met with CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping on October 9 in Beijing. Schumer urged him to “stand with the Israeli people and condemn [Hamas’] cowardly and vicious attacks.”[15]
  • The CCP-controlled English language Global Times claimed on October 10 and 11 that American and European “biased” support for Israel would worsen the situation and reveal the greed of the American military-industrial complex. The outlet also questioned the motives of Secretary of State Blinken’s Israel trip. It asked “But what is he supporting exactly? Is it a retaliatory mass killing?”[16]

The CCP is portraying itself as an ostensible neutral broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The PRC MFA pushed for a two-state solution amid the war.[17] The CCP also framed itself as a neutral broker in the Ukraine War.[18] The similarities in CCP-propagated narratives between Ukraine and Israel indicate that the party will use the claim of neutrality to portray itself as a responsible power compared to the allegedly irresponsible West.

  • The party began portraying itself as a neutral broker via Special Envoy on the Middle East Zhai Jun, who called the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 10 to offer PRC assistance to broker an “immediate ceasefire and cessation of violence, and to provide humanitarian support to the Palestinian people.”[19] Egypt has not publicized its response.  
  • This framing of ostensible neutrality would allow the CCP to build off its March 2023 mediation of Saudi-Iran diplomatic normalization to enhance its political stature in the region.[20] This also advances the CCP narrative of a PRC-led world order as founded on principles of non-intervention and peace compared to the alleged militarism of the United States.[21]
  • The English language CCP propaganda outlets China Daily and Global Times framed the United States' move to deploy the USS Gerald R. Ford near Israel as evidence that the American military-industrial complex perniciously exploits the conflict for profit.[22] Such articles propagate the narrative that the United States is a destabilizing world power.

The Hamas-Israel War is the focus of international attention, and the CCP may exploit the situation to advance its coercion campaign targeting the Republic of China (Taiwan). The table below lists some of the CCP’s coercion efforts, their status, and how the party could advance them.

[1] https://www.cna dot


[3] https://focustaiwan dot tw/politics/202308240025

[4] https://www.chinatimes dot com/realtimenews/20230826000034-260407?ctrack=pc_main_rtime_p06&chdtv

https://udn dot com/news/story/123307/7391422?from=udn-catelistnews_ch2

https://www.chinatimes dot com/realtimenews/20230824003455-260407?chdtv

https://news.ltn dot

[5] https://www.chinatimes dot com/realtimenews/20230920003712-260407?chdtv

[6] https://www.cna dot
https://www.taiwannews dot

[7] https://www.tpof dot org/%e5%9c%96%e8%a1%a8%e5%88%86%e6%9e%90/%e9%80%b2%e5%8f%a3%e9%9b%9e%e8%9b%8b%e9%a2%a8%e6%9a%b4%e3%80%81%e6%94%bf%e9%bb%a8%e7%ab%b6%e7%88%ad%e8%88%872024%e7%b8%bd%e7%b5%b1%e5%a4%a7%e9%81%b8%ef%bc%882023%e5%b9%b49%e6%9c%8826%e6%97%a5%ef%bc%89

[8] https://www.fmprc dot

[9] https://www.fmprc dot

http://www.leagueofarabstates dot net/ar/InFocus/Pages/InfocusDetails.aspx?RID=115

[10] https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202310/1299692.shtml?id=12

[11] dot cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/202202/t20220224_10645282.html dot cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/202203/t20220304_10648111.html dot cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/202204/t20220407_10665501.html

https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202204/1257463.shtml

https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202204/1257494.shtml

https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202204/1257562.shtml

[12] https://www.fmprc dot

[13] https://www.fmprc dot

[14] https://www.fmprc dot


[16] https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202310/1299612.shtml

https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202310/1299649.shtml

https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202310/1299678.shtml

[17] dot cn/fyrbt_673021/202310/t20231012_11160029.shtml

[18] https://www.fmprc dot

http://world.people dot dot cn/politics/leaders/2023-08/07/c_1129791516.htm

[19] https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202310/1299618.shtml#:~:text=Zhai%20said%20that%20the%20fundamental,support%20to%20the%20Palestinian%20people.

[20] https://www.fmprc dot

[21] https://www.fmprc dot

https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202302/1284771.shtml

https://www.fmprc dot

[22] https://www.globaltimes dot cn/page/202310/1299678.shtml