Chinese state media blamed Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election on her party’s effective use of “mongering fear” against the Communist Party this weekend.
Taiwan re-elected Tsai by a landslide on Saturday in an election in which she received more votes than any other candidate in the history of the country. After winning 57 percent of the vote, Tsai addressed Beijing’s growing threats against the island nation, declaring that she is willing to engage on the grounds that they respect Taiwan’s sovereignty and right to self-determination.
Taiwan is a sovereign nation that China treats as a runaway province. China prohibits any nation that recognizes Taiwanese sovereignty from also establishing diplomatic ties with Taiwan, including the United States. Only 15 nations in the world recognize Taiwan as a country despite its democratic government and longstanding state institutions like its military, education system, and domestic social programs.
“With each presidential election, Taiwan is showing the world how much we cherish our democratic way of life,” she said at a news conference in Taipei. “We must work to keep our country safe and defend our sovereignty.”
“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,” she continued.
In an editorial in the state-propaganda outlet Global Times, China accused Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of having “exploited administrative resources and crushed their opponents through approaches devoid of a bottom line.”
The Times also blamed the election defeat on the DPP employing the “convenient tactic” of “orchestrating tensions across the straits and mongering fear among the Taiwan people toward the mainland,” despite the fact that China regularly deploys its naval and military forces to intimidate the Taiwanese government.
The Times condemned those who likened the situation in Taiwan with that of Hong Kong, where Chinese-backed security forces have used excessive brutality and violence in response to ongoing anti-China protests. Similar to Taiwan, many Hong Kongers want Beijing to stop interfering in their internal affairs, having agreed upon the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” following its handover from the British Empire in 1997.
China has for decades attempted to convince Taiwan to abandon its sovereignty and adopt “One Country, Two Systems,” instead, which Tsai is vehemently against.
However, the Times insists that although the pro-China candidate lost the election, the forces supporting Kuomintang candidate Han Kuo-yu “are on the rise” because of the public’s supposed “demand for economic development, improvements in people’s living standards, and opposition against fierce confrontation across the straits” can only be achieved by handing back sovereignty to China.
On Sunday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement that Taiwan’s future would remain “China’s internal affair”:
The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. Regardless of what happens in Taiwan, the basic facts won’t change: there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China. The Chinese government’s position won’t change: we stick to the one-China principle and oppose “Taiwan independence”, “two Chinas” and “one China, one Taiwan”. The international community’s consensus on staying committed to the one-China principle won’t change, either. We hope and believe that the international community will continue to adhere to the one-China principle, and understand and support the Chinese people’s just cause of opposing “Taiwan independence” separatist activities and striving to achieve national reunification.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Tsai on the result and praised her for seeking stability with China “in the face of unrelenting pressure.”
“The United States congratulates Dr. Tsai Ing-wen on her re-election in Taiwan’s presidential election,” he said, continuing:
We also congratulate Taiwan for once again demonstrating the strength of its robust democratic system, which—coupled with a free market economy and a vibrant civil society—makes it a model for the Indo-Pacific region and a force for good in the world.
The United States thanks President Tsai for her leadership in developing a strong partnership with the United States and applauds her commitment to maintaining cross-Strait stability in the face of unrelenting pressure,” Pompeo said. “Under her leadership, we hope Taiwan will continue to serve as a shining example for countries that strive for democracy, prosperity, and a better path for their people.