In a landslide election Taiwan has voted into office its first female president in a victory that could unsettle relations with an already grumbling Beijing.
The new president, Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), secured the office with 56.1% of the vote, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency said.
The previously ruling KMT party also lost control of the legislature, with the DPP now holding 68 of the 113 seats in Taiwan’s parliament –bringing to an end eight years under the government of pro-China Kuomintang (KMT) or Nationalist Party.
China: Threats, censorship and fish in trees
Chinese state-run media wrote that Taiwan should abandon “hallucinations” about independence, saying that movement in that direction would be “poison”.
“We hope Tsai can lead the DPP out of the hallucinations of Taiwan independence, and contribute to the peaceful and common development between Taiwan and the mainland,” wrote the Global Times
Xinhua news agency, another mouthpiece for Beijing, also chimed in:
“If there is no peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s new authority will find the sufferings of the people it wishes to resolve on the economy, livelihood and its youth will be as useless as looking for fish in a tree,” it said.
China also wasted no time in deploying its army of internet censors. Seaches for Tsai Ing-wen’s name were blocked across China Saturday night as the large scale nature of the DPP victory became apparent.
Tsai mostly steered aways from talking about China-Taiwan relations during her campaign but her DPP party has traditionally pushed for formal independence from China, shunning the current de facto independence.
Tsai took the high road during her acceptance speech vowing to “greatly contribute towards peace and stability in the region”.
“During this election I have promised on many occasions that I will build a consistent, predictable and sustainable cross-strait relationship. Following the will and consensus of the Taiwanese people, we will work towards maintaining the status quo for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in order to bring the greatest benefits and wellbeing to the Taiwanese people.”
“I will march forwards, together with the 23 million people of Taiwan. Together we will overcome the challenges that this country faces. We will not be divided by an election. Instead we will become even more united because of our democracy.”
Beijing has 1,000 ballistic missiles facing the island nation from across the Taiwan Strait and has repeatedly vowed to use military force against any attempts at independence.