Although global attention is focused on the upcoming US presidential election in November 2024, a key regional election looms much sooner — the Taiwanese presidential election on 13 January. The contest to succeed the term-limited President Tsai Ing-Wen has already seen intrigue and drama, with four candidates vying for Taiwan’s highest office and, at one stage, two of them mulling a joint bid to unseat the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. Frontrunner and current vice president William Lai's views on independence have been the source of much discussion and, with high tensions in the Taiwan Strait and belligerent rhetoric from Beijing, the results of the election will hold significant implications for the entire region.

How might the election affect cross-strait relations? What are the possible implications of the election for Australia? How could the election shift Taiwan policies in Washington and other allied capitals?

To answer these questions, USSC hosted a panel discussion with Lowy Institute Senior Fellow for East Asia Richard McGregor, USSC Non-Resident Senior Fellow Dr Lavina Lee and USSC CEO Dr Michael Green in conversation with USSC Research Director Jared Mondschein, with opening remarks from Taiwanese Representative to Australia Douglas Hsu.

Douglas Hsu is Taiwan’s Representative to Australia. He was previously Director General of North American Affairs within Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served in the Political and Congressional Liaison divisions of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Richard McGregor is a Senior Fellow for East Asia at the Lowy Institute and a Senior Associate (Non-resident) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in the United States. He is a former Beijing and Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times and the author of numerous books on East Asia.

Dr Lavina Lee is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University, Sydney. Prior to joining Macquarie University in 2007, she was a political risk consultant with Control Risks Group.

Dr Michael Green is Chief Executive Officer at the United States Studies Centre. Previously Dr Green was Senior Vice President for Asia, Japan Chair, and Henry A. Kissinger Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and served on the staff of the National Security Council from 2001 through 2005.