The rock music was booming, the dancers on stage were gyrating, and the crowd was going wild waving thousands of Taiwan flags.

The Kuomintang’s (KMT) candidate for the 13 January presidential election, Hou You-ih, held a rally against the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), highlighting their potential for war. The KMT is aiming to convince voters to choose between war and peace with China, as Beijing claims Taiwan as its own and has used force in greyzone warfare over the past eight years.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan aims for peace, stability, and progress while maintaining its path. A viral campaign advertisement shows President Tsai Ing-wen driving with presidential candidate William Lai. However, some are skeptical, with many at the KMT rally concerned with the economy and cost of living. Some want to return to peace with the KMT and learn from China’s advanced infrastructure and citizens’ care.

‘A difficult balancing act’

The KMT, a Taiwanese political party, has shifted its stance towards warmer ties with China due to the growing economic intertwining between the two countries. However, the KMT faces balancing its desire to remain relevant in a distancing electorate and the need to maintain a unique Taiwanese identity.

The KMT faces risks in the Taiwanese presidential election due to its rhetoric resembling China’s, potentially affecting voters. The KMT’s rhetoric may be seen as influencing Taiwan, and it’s unclear whether a KMT government can appease Beijing and guarantee peace. The KMT’s war and peace narrative may widen the gap between voters’ preferences and its stance on Taiwan’s relationship with China.