Tsai Ing-wen has won reelection as President of Taiwan on Saturday night by a landslide, defeating the populist challenge of her pro-China opponent in a campaign dominated by how to handle growing pressure from Beijing.
As of 8:30 p.m. local time, with the vote still being tallied, she had received a record 7.7 million votes. Han Kuo-yu, of the Kuomintang Party (KMT), had received about 5.2 million votes at that time, according to Bloomberg. Han told supporters Saturday that he called Tsai to congratulate her on her victory, the Associated Press reported.
It’s uncertain what Tsai’s victory means for cross-Strait ties. The self-governing island of 23 million—the world’s 21st biggest economy and an influential technology hub—is an unofficial U.S. ally and a potential flashpoint amid deteriorating relations between Beijing and Washington.
In an exclusive interview with TIME during the campaign, Tsai acknowledges that cross relations with China “have evolved into a regional and even a global issue” given Beijing’s “political expansionist ambitions.”
Tsai, a 63-year-old former lawyer and academic, is mistrusted by China’s ruling Communist Party, which considers Taiwan a wayward province to be politically reunited—by force if necessary. The sweet potato-shaped island has governed itself since effectively splitting from the mainland in 1949 following China’s civil war.
Although ties between the estranged neighbors have warmed over the past few decades, China has dialed up diplomatic and economic pressure since Tsai first came to power in 2016, as her Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan and the mainland belong to “One China,” as the rival Nationalist Party maintains.
More Information: https://time.com/5762629/taiwan-tsai-ing-wen-reelected/