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Taiwan elections

Beijing reiterates 'One China' after Tsai's Taiwan election win

The U.S. lauded president for standing up to 'unrelenting pressure'

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on Jan. 6, flanked by Politburo member Yang Jiechi, to his right, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Beijing called on the international community to respect the notion that there is just one China, after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen secured a second term in Saturday's election.

Tsai won a landslide victory while her Beijing-skeptic Democratic Progressive Party held its majority in the legislature, dealing a defeat to the mainland-friendly Kuomintang.

"We hope and believe that the international community will continue adhering to the One China principle, understand and support the just cause of Chinese people to oppose the secessionist activities for 'Taiwan independence' and realize national reunification," Geng Shuang, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said.

Tsai has not accepted the One China principle, under which Beijing insists that Taiwan is an inalienable part of a single China that will be reunified one day.

The U.S., meanwhile, lauded Tsai's victory in a statement that did not mention China by name, but referred to Beijing's hostility toward the Taiwanese president and her party.

"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," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote. "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."

Supporters of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen hold up a banner to show solidarity with Hong Kong protesters at a victory celebration on Saturday in Taipei. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

China, however, insisted that the Taiwan question is a Chinese internal affair

"No matter what happens in Taiwan, the fact that there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China, will not change," Geng said.

He went on to say that the Chinese government opposes Taiwan independence, as well as the concepts of "Two Chinas," and "One China, One Taiwan."

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the mainland's State Council, said, "We uphold the basic principles of peaceful reunification and 'one country, two systems' and the One China principle."

The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that in the case of reunification, the "one country, two systems" arrangement that Beijing currently has with Hong Kong and Macao would be applied to Taiwan.

Ma also said: "On the common political foundation of adhering to the 1992 Consensus and opposing 'Taiwan independence,' we are ready to work with Taiwan compatriots to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait ties, advance the process toward the peaceful reunification of the motherland and jointly open up bright prospects for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."

The "1992 Consensus" is a modified form of "One China," under which both Beijing and Taipei "agree" that there is only one sovereign state encompassing both mainland China and Taiwan, but leave ambiguous which of the two governments is the legitimate government of this state. Tsai has not embraced the 1992 Consensus either.

China's Xinhua News Agency reported on Taiwan elections using wording that indirectly acknowledged Tsai's win.

"Han Kuo-yu, the Kuomintang candidate, on Saturday evening acknowledged his defeat in Taiwan's leadership election. This means the reelection of Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan leader, who won the most votes in Saturday's election, followed by Han," Xinhua reported.

Tsai received messages of congratulations from democracies in Asia and across the world.

"Taiwan is an important partner and a precious friend of Japan," Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in a statement. "We expect that the issue surrounding Taiwan will be resolved peacefully by direct dialogue between the concerned parties and that it will contribute to the peace and stability in the region."

Tsai's victory was also applauded by the European Union and countries including the U.K., which joined in the calls for talks between Beijing and Taipei.

"I hope that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will renew dialogue to resolve differences and build constructive relations across the Strait," U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

Additional reporting by Ken Moriyasu in New York.

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