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    Third Party Could Swing Taiwan's Close Presidential Race

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    NTDTelevision

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    Taiwan is holding its presidential election this Saturday. It's a close race between the incumbent Kuomintang Party (or KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (or DPP). But with the race so tight, a third-party candidate, James Soong, may be a deciding factor in this election.

    Soong's People First Party, which split from the KMT in 2000, could take away enough votes from the KMT to make it lose the election. The KMT in recent years has been friendlier to the mainland Chinese regime than the DPP. And if it loses, it could change current relations with China.

    On Wednesday, Soong said if he wins he's willing to engage China immediately.

    [James Soong, Presidential Candidate of People First Party]: (Mandarin, male)
    "I hope that I can send my personal representative to China, the U.S., Japan, Singapore and the European Union before the end of February to express the good will of the new government towards those important international partners."

    While Soong is stuck below 10 percent in recent polls, it could be a repeat of what happened 12 years ago. Soong ran for the presidency in 2000 as an independent candidate—and may have pulled enough votes to allow the DPP the first presidential victory for an opposition party.

    The Chinese regime has not made any overt statements about the Taiwan election. But Chinese leader Hu Jintao reiterated last fall that the Chinese regime opposes Taiwanese independence, and that the re-unification of Taiwan with the mainland is a high priority.