Expatriates, Taiwanese on tenterhooks over U.S. election result

11/04/2020 02:39 PM
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Taipei. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020
Taipei. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020

Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) Expatriates and Taiwanese gathered Wednesday in Taipei to watch the U.S. election unfold with nervous anticipation as they cheered and showed their support for their respective candidates.

As the U.S. presidential election map takes shape, some 80 international residents made their way to a live poll count event at Brass Monkey, a popular haunt for expats in northern Taiwan.

American John Eastwood, Democrats Abroad Taiwan chair, the main organizer of the event, told CNA that his party places importance on Taiwan because of its free and democratic elections and its approval of same-sex marriage.

"So there are a lot of ways that Taiwan, as a leader for human rights, civil rights, democracy, is absolutely appreciated within the Democratic Party," said Eastwood, who has been living in Taiwan for 20 years with his family.

John Eastwood. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020
John Eastwood. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020

Even though both the U.S. Republican and Democratic parties appreciate Taiwan, he said he feels Joe Biden is a more reliable friend for Taiwan over incumbent Donald Trump.

"This is because Trump changes all the time and he makes bad decisions. He changes his mind and he does a lot of things based on his own personal self-interest," Eastwood said.

Also expressing his support for Biden was university instructor American Dave Hall, who has lived in Taiwan for nine years.

"Biden and Trump know the dangers of China and they both will support Taiwan, but I think Trump's support is very shallow," Hall said. "I mean to be truthful, if China offered a Trump Towers in Beijing to him, he would give up Taiwan in a second."

CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020
CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020
CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020
CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020

However, a Taiwanese, who identified himself as Leo Chen, said he felt the opposite and commended Trump's friendliness to Taiwan through his selling of high-end weapons to the country.

"Trump's win is extremely vital because he is very friendly to Taiwan. You can tell from the U.S. selling MQ-9 Reaper (drones) to Taiwan," Chen said.

Leo Chen. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020
Leo Chen. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020

Meanwhile, Brass Monkey owner, Canadian Alex Whalen, said his establishment is trying to stay impartial during the watch party.

Another similar gathering was organized by the New Power Party (NPP), where some 20 people were watching the election unfold.

The party, the only political organization in Taiwan to hold a gathering for the U.S. elections, hopes to expand its focus on international affairs, said Jerry Liu (劉仕傑), NPP director of international affairs.

Jerry Liu of the New Power Party. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020
Jerry Liu of the New Power Party. CNA photo Nov. 3, 2020

Liu, a former foreign diplomat, said that future U.S. policy on China and Taiwan is worth observing and that no matter who is elected, the U.S. government can continue to maintain a friendly tone toward Taiwan.

It is sometimes said that NPP supporters are more in favor of Trump, but he emphasized that as a political party, the NPP remains neutral and will send congratulatory letters to whoever is elected, Liu said.

Paul Huang (黃柏彰), a Taiwanese non-resident fellow at the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, said that no matter who is elected, the U.S. must face the rise of China's economic and military power.

Taiwan should also not hold on to the illusion of relying on the U.S. for protection, as the country's influence in the Asia-Pacific region will slowly diminish, Huang predicted.

(By Emerson Lim, Lee Hsin-Yin, and William Yen)

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