The big victory Saturday of Chiang Wan-an as mayor of Taipei was big news worldwide — primarily because Chiang is the great-grandson of Taiwan’s legendary founding father and first president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Chiang Kai-shek.
But there is much more to the win of the young (43) Chiang and his Chinese Nationalist (KMT) Party over the candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. Even before he has taken office at city hall, Chiang is being promoted as the next president of Taiwan when incumbent Tsai Ing-wen must by law step down in 2024.
The mayor of Taipei is a significant political position. There were two previous presidents of Taiwan who were first Taipei mayors. When Chiang won a landslide re-election to the Yuan (Congress) in 2020, Newsmax immediately focused on him as “someone who will be heard from in the coming years.”
His heritage notwithstanding, Chiang has drawn attention as a member of the Yuan (Congress) for breaking with his party over relations with mainland China.
Where most of the KMT embrace the “one nation, two systems” policy that opponents fear will lead to Taiwan being absorbed by China, young Chiang in January, 2020 denounced the policy and embraced the stance of President Tsai that China must recognize the independence of Taiwan and the values of freedom and democracy held dear by Taiwanese.
In speaking out for the agenda of Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party on China, University of Pennsylvania-educated lawyer Chiang was blasted widely from his own KMT and denounced as a “separatist” throughout social media.
Chiang’s rise to a pivotal office is expected to spark significant discussion in Beijing among the communist government and among neighboring countries such as Japan and South Korea that have concerns about whether the Communist Chinese will strike at Taiwan.
Like Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Philippines President Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos, Jr, Chiang sports a heritage that can only be dubbed illustrious. Great-grandfather Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was the pro-U.S. Chinese leader driven into exile by Mao Zedong's communists in 1949, whereupon he established the Republic of China on Taiwan.
Chiang-Wan-an’s grandfather, Chiang Ching-kuo, served as Taiwan’s president from 1978 to 1988. The lawmaker’s father John Chiang is a past vice premier and foreign minister of Taiwan.
“As to his political future and his attitude toward China,” a senior Taiwan government source told Newsmax, “he still needs to demonstrate to the people that he is capable. The challenges and opportunities are ahead of him. Let’s keep watch and see what will happen in the future.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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