Democratic Taiwan just sent a huge message to China – Steve Cardownie

Tsai Ing-wen celebrates her victory with supporters in Taipei, Taiwan. Picture: AP
Tsai Ing-wen celebrates her victory with supporters in Taipei, Taiwan. Picture: AP
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A landslide election victory for Taiwan’s new president shows how strongly the island, claimed by China, feels about democracy and independence, writes Steve Cardownie.

Warm congratulations to President Tsai Ing-wen, who won a second term in last weekend’s election in Taiwan.

I had the pleasure of meeting her last October in Taipei and listened very carefully as she addressed the crowd at an annual rally where she was keen to reassert Taiwan’s independence from China. This was a message that must have resonated with the electorate, leading to her landside victory in this island of 23 million people.

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Concerned about the events in Hong Kong and the example it has set, she went on the record to say: “I want the Beijing authorities to know that democratic Taiwan and our democratically elected government will never concede to threats.”

She is set to resist pressure from China and to safeguard the democratic institutions of the Taiwanese people whilst still wishing a mutually beneficial relationship based on respect and friendship with China.

Just after her victory was assured she told Beijing that “peace, parity, democracy and dialogue are the keys to stability” which demonstrated her constructive attitude, underpinned by a steely resolve to maintain Taiwan’s independence.