Taipei: Taiwan's presidential race has revolved around the domestic economy, but it's an international issue that sets the candidates apart. Incumbent Ma ying-jeou wants Taiwan to move closer to China while contender Tsai Ing-wen refuses to accept China's claim over the democratic island.
As the final month of campaigning began Thursday, their neck-and-neck race will be closely watched by Beijing and Washington.
Beijing sees Ma as its best hope of promoting its long-held policy of bringing Taiwan under its control.
The United States officially is neutral in the race. But it sees good cross-strait ties as a key to regional peace and economic development.
Opinion polls indicate the Jan. 14 election is virtually even.
First Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 16:16