Taiwan vice presidential hopefuls debate on live TV about China and nuclear energy

DPP stands for 'democracy, peace and prosperity': William Lai

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Vice presidential candidates Sandra Yu (left), William Lai (center), Simon Chang (right).

Vice presidential candidates Sandra Yu (left), William Lai (center), Simon Chang (right). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three vice presidential hopefuls received their only chance so far to present their views live on television on Friday (Dec. 20), sparring over China, the economy, and nuclear energy.

Ex-Premier William Lai (賴清德), the running mate of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), ex-Premier Simon Chang (張善政), who is running on the Kuomintang (KMT) ticket with Kaohsiung City Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), and former advertising executive Sandra Yu (余湘), the running mate of People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), were each given three segments of 10 minutes to present their policies or attack their rivals'.

After drawing lots, Chang was the first one to speak. He presented a package of 10 economic policies for a digital society along with a proposed digital innovation committee to be operated directly under the Cabinet.

In his first round, Lai insisted that the future of Taiwan was up to the island’s people to determine. He said that DPP stood for “democracy, peace, and prosperity” and warned against China, which he described as the “Asia Pacific troublemaker.”

Chang and Lai later also expressed diverging views on nuclear energy, with the latter supporting the government’s plan to turn Taiwan into a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 at the latest.

Yu, the only non-politician in the race, emphasized her own credentials as the manager of a listed company. She called on the government to suspend the review of an anti-infiltration bill designed to stop Chinese interference.

The three presidential candidates held their first TV presentations on Dec. 18. Two other rounds are scheduled for Dec. 25 and 27, but only one real debate featuring interaction between contenders and questioning by journalists is being organized, slated for Sunday, Dec. 29.