Sorry, China: Taiwan's Leader Re-Elected

Warns China that 'Taiwan and our democratically elected government will never concede to threats'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 12, 2020 7:11 AM CST
Taiwan's Leader Re-Elected in Setback to China
A supporter of Taiwan's presidential election candidate, Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen cheers for her victory and holds a slogan reading "Taiwan Is An Independent Country" in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.   (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-yin)

Tsai Ing-wen was reelected Taiwan's president by a landslide Saturday in a victory that signaled strong support for her tough stance against China among voters determined to defend their democratic way of life. Tsai, from the Democratic Progressive Party, soundly defeated Nationalist Party candidate Han Kuo-yu, receiving 57.2% of the vote to Han's 38.6%. She wasted no time in warning China that "Taiwan and our democratically elected government will never concede to threats," reports the AP. Taiwan's voters have “shown that when our sovereignty and democracy are threatened, the Taiwan people will shout our determination even more loudly.” In a setback for Beijing, Tsai managed to win in areas that traditionally have gone to the China-friendly Nationalists in central and southern Taiwan. Her party also retained its majority in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, though the vote was closer there.

Tsai said the results of the election, with turnout estimated at 74%, proved that Taiwanese are committed to defending their democracy and way of life. Given China's efforts to isolate Taiwan during Tsai's first term, her victory will likely bring on still more deadlock and pressure from Beijing. Xinhua issued a brief report saying she had won reelection as “leader of the Taiwan region," language in keeping with Beijing's refusal to recognize Taiwan as independent and its leader as a head of state. In the past two years, Beijing has cut off all formal ties with Tsai's government, restricted visits by Chinese tourists, excluded Taiwan's representatives from international gatherings, and lured away the island's dwindling diplomatic allies. In recent months, Beijing has held military exercises across the Taiwan Strait, sailed both of its aircraft carriers through the waterway dividing Taiwan from the mainland, and flown air patrols around the island.

(Read more Taiwan stories.)

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