Election news update
The Biden administration says it will send an unofficial delegation comprised of former senior officials to Taiwan shortly after tomorrow's presidential and legislative elections.
A senior administration official has confirmed the plan. No further details have been released concerning who will be traveling to Taiwan but the official says such a face-to-face meeting is the "most effective way" to engage the new Taiwan government and convey US policy in the region for peace and stability.
The official also says the Biden administration opposes any outside interference in Taiwan's election and the administration has repeatedly raised that concern with Chinese officials.
In other election news, the KMT appears to be snubbing former president Ma Ying-jeou, as it has not extended an invitation for him to attend this evening's election-eve rally in New Taipei's Banciao District.
The party has not made any formal statements on the issue. However, Ma's office has released a statement in which it says "he will not attend the rally, as he did not receive an invitation." It's the first time that Ma has not been invited to attend a major KMT election rally. The failure to invite Ma follows comments by the former head of state earlier this week.
Speaking during the interview with German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Ma responded to a question concerning trusting China's leader Xi Jin-ping by saying "as far as cross-strait relations, you have to."
KMT presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih initially responded to Ma's remarks by saying the former president's views are "somewhat different" from his own. And speaking to reporters Thursday, Hou flatly ruled out holding talks with Beijing over unification if elected - saying he will "not touch on the unification issue during his presidency." Hou also dismissed the possibility of "high-level exchanges" with members of China leadership - saying things have changed since the Ma administration due to the deterioration of cross-strait ties under the DPP. However, the KMT presidential candidate went on to stress that he will seek to resume dialogue with China via existing channels to de-escalate tensions.
Meanwhile, the DPP has held its second-to-last major campaign rally. Last night's rally was held on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and the DPP has been describing the event as a "country-defending" rally.
President Tsai Ing-wen told supporters that democracy and freedom are not abstract ideas but "country-protecting mountains" - and that "Taiwan is the only place in the Chinese-speaking world that has remained democratic" while DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te echoed Tsai, emphasizing that democracy cannot afford to veer off course, and that "the country is not an experiment" for an inexperienced and unprepared team.
Lai and his running mate, Hsiao Bi-khim also made what they described as "four guarantees". The first of those guarantees is to safeguard the nation, the second is to be committed to democratic governance, the third is to continue the current administration's defence, diplomatic, economic and energy policies and the fourth and final guarantee is to adhere to the importance of unwavering commitment to ideals.