By Tenzin Dharpo
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during a rally in Taoyuan, Taiwan on Jan. 8, 2019. photo- CNN
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 13: As Taiwan’s resolution to fend off China’s ‘reunification’ gained a major boost with the landslide victory of Tsai Ing-wen in the Presidential elections, China said that it’s resolve to reunify Taiwan under the ‘one country, two systems’ remains unchanged.
Tsai won re-election on Saturday with an unprecedented 57 percent of the votes beating her nearest rival from the Kuomintang (KMT) party Han Kuo-yu who secured almost 39 percent of the votes. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also held on to its majority in the Taiwanese parliament.
"The results of this election carry an added significance because they have shown that when our sovereignty and democracy are threatened, the Taiwanese people will shout our determination even more loudly back," Tsai said during a news conference following her win.
Tsai’s win, many say, was boosted by the anti-government protests in neighbouring Hong Kong where many called for independence from China and rejected the model of ‘one country, two systems’. J Michael Cole, a senior fellow with the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington DC, told Al Jazeera, "The recent chaos in Hong Kong was a clear reaffirmation to the Taiwanese that unification on Beijing's terms - and it will always be on Beijing's terms - would come with undeniable costs to its political freedoms."
Tsai who is the boldest voice for Taiwan’s sovereignty has repeatedly rejected Beijing’s bottom-line and called for talks with the leadership in Beijing. However, China has said that reunification remains a top priority and that it will even resort to ‘force’ to that end. “No matter what changes there are to the internal situation in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China will not change,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the United States and Japan among others congratulated the Taiwanese President on her victory. In a letter to Tsai, the Tibetan leader wrote, “As someone devoted to fundamental democratic values, I would like to commend the Taiwanese people for not only achieving a flourishing robust democracy but for the achievements made in the economic and educational fields and in the preservation of their rich traditional culture.
“As complicated and difficult as Taiwan’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China is, I feel it is important that the two enjoy good relations, including through expanding people to people exchanges,” he further said.