RELATIONS with China will be a key priority for the new president of Taiwan, elected on Saturday January 16, as the island nation’s first female leader.
Democratic Progressive party candidate Tsai Ing-wen has not been officially declared president but has established an unassailable lead over her nearest competitor for the post Eric Chu of the Nationalist party who has conceded defeat.
The 59-year-old told a throng of her supporters, numbering in the tens of thousands, ““We will put political polarisation behind us and look forward to the arrival a new era of politics in Taiwan.”
Her election is sure to disappoint China, which contends sovereignty over Taiwan and hopes to one day re-establish control over the island. Relations between the two have been fraught at times, with Taiwan relying on US backing to maintain its independence, although there had been a significant thawing in their relationship under the former Taiwanese administration.
The former London School of Economics graduate capitalised on perceptions that, despite the improving relationship, the economy failed to enjoy the expected benefits.
Taiwan operates on a basis of de facto self-rule but does not possess formal sovereignty, widespread recognition, or a place at the United Nations under its terms.
The Democratic Progressive party is in favour of attempting to acquire full sovereign status and recognition, a move which the Chinese government has said could lead to a serious confrontation.