15 Jan 2020
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen urged China on Wednesday to review its policy towards the island.
The controversial plea comes days after she won a landslide re-election victory. Securing more than 8 million votes, the most since Taiwan began directly electing its political leader in 1996, Tsai saw off her main opponent, Han Kuo-yu, winning 57% of the vote to his 39%.
“We hope China can understand the opinion and will expressed by Taiwanese people in this election and review their current policies,” Tsai told reporters in Taipei. She did not elaborate.
China, under President Xi, considers democratic Taiwan its own territory and has tried military threats and serious economic and diplomatic sanctions to get the island of 23 million people to accept its rule. Taiwan maintains it is an independent country.
Taiwan gets limited international attention – perhaps in an effort not to rile the powerhouse of China. But, according to The Washington Post, “after a series of political reforms that began in the 1980s, Taiwan today has one of the most vibrant democracies not just in Asia but in the world — with one of the freest media industries in Asia. Last year, Taiwan became the first in the region to legalize same-sex marriage. Its health-care system is the envy of the world.”
Days before the latest elections, in an editorial the state-run Global Times in Beijing called for a “crack down” on Taiwan, including “imposing military pressure.”
Beijing has also said that those trying to keep Taiwan apart from mainland China would “leave a stink for 10,000 years” meaning they will go down in infamy.
Meanwhile while on a tour of Africa earlier this week, the foreign minister, Wang Yi, said: “The unification of the two sides of the strait is a historical inevitability,” according to the Xinhua news agency.
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