Taiwanese voters sent a clear political message to communist China late last week by electing Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to become the island nation’s next president.
This marks the first time that a political party in Taiwan has won a third straight presidential election, Bloomberg News reported. The DPP has vowed political independence from China and views Taiwan as its own sovereign nation.
“This is a night that belongs to Taiwan. We managed to keep Taiwan on the map of the world,” Lai told supporters after winning. “The election has shown the world the commitment of the Taiwanese people to democracy, which I hope China can understand.”
His election victory came despite warnings from China that Taiwan will be reunited with it either through elections or through the Chinese Military invading the country.
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs lashed out after the election, saying that it does not matter “whatever changes take place in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China will not change.”
“The one-China principle is the solid anchor for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the spokesperson added. “We 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.”
The DPP secured just over 40 percent of the vote while the Kuomintang political party secured one-third of the vote and the Taiwan People’s Party secured just over a quarter of the vote. Kuomintang and the Taiwan People’s Party are friendlier toward China than the DPP.
However, the DPP lost control of the legislature after losing 10 seats which means that no one party will have control over the legislature or over the island’s government.
Lai called his win a “victory for the community of democracies” against authoritarian governments, like China.
“I will act in accordance with our democratic and free constitutional order in a manner that is balanced and maintains the cross-strait status quo,” he said. “At the same time, we are also determined to safeguard Taiwan from continuing threats and intimidation from China. In the future, we hope that China will recognize the new situation, and understand that only peace benefits both sides of the strait.”
President Joe Biden responded to Taiwan’s election results with weakness, saying: “We do not support independence.”