China: No change on reunification with Taiwan

Former Defense Minister of Australia Christopher Pyne and President Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai won a second term over the weekend with a record 8.2 million votes, an outcome that was seen as a forceful rebuke of China's ongoing campaign to isolate the self-ruled island. Taiwan has always been vulnerable to the ever-present threat of a military incursion from the mainland - which considers it a province - amid fears it could be absorbed by Beijing.

"We do not insert ourselves into or critique Taiwan's elections. We are an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China, Taiwan", she said.

For decades, it was a dictatorship under Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists following their 1949 defeat to the communists in China's civil war. Chinese President Xi Jinping has confirmed his desire to unite and has continued to dramatically exceed Taiwan's defense spending.

Taiwan's Foreign Affairs Ministry noted that President Tsai was congratulated via phone calls and emails from 60 different countries' representatives. "We deserve respect from China". Tsai was recently re-elected president in an electoral battle against pro-China politicians.

Early this week, during a tour of Africa, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had said: "The unification of the two sides of the strait is a historical inevitability".

Ma Xiaoguang said that China will continue to insist on the so-called "Consensus 92, quot; that recognizes the autonomous island and the continent as part of a single Chinese nation".

"Your government will continue to try to improve Taiwan's military capabilities through USA weapons and indigenous defense systems", said Zhang Baohui, professor of political science and director of the Asia-Pacific Studies Center at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

The protest movement in Hong Kong also played a part in strengthening the yearning for democracy in Taiwan and resulting in a landslide victory for Tsai.

Western defense analysts have advocated a "porcupine strategy" for Taiwan that would deter Beijing from military action by making it too painful for China to invade.

Critics accuse Tsai of being needlessly antagonistic towards Beijing. Pompeo praised what he said was "her commitment to maintaining cross-Strait stability in the face of unrelenting pressure".

Tsai has repeatedly said she is willing to talk to Beijing as long as there are no pre-conditions. To this extent, the statement could cause problems for Beijing if the Trump administration listens to her at this stage.

But the strong-arm tactics backfired with voters resoundingly backing Tsai for another four more years.



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