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Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s president-elect, has steered the island towards democracy and away from China

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s president-elect, has vowed to safeguard the island’s de-facto independence from China and additional align it with different democracies.

Lai, 64, emerged victorious in elections Saturday on the island of 23 million those who China claims as its personal. He’s at the moment vp with the Democratic Progressive Celebration, which has rejected China’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan.

As he confronted his supporters Saturday night time, Lai vowed Taiwan would “proceed to stroll aspect by aspect with democracies from around the globe.”

“We’re telling the worldwide group that between democracy and authoritarianism, we’ll stand on the aspect of democracy,” he stated.

Lai has vowed to strengthen the island’s protection and economic system, which relies upon closely on commerce with China. He has additionally made an effort to melt his earlier stance as a “pragmatic employee for Taiwan independence.”

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On the identical time, the brand new president has expressed need to restart dialogue with China, which has refused to speak with the island’s leaders lately.

“We’re prepared and keen to have interaction to point out extra for the folks on each side of the Taiwan Strait. Peace is priceless and conflict has no winners,” he stated earlier within the week.

His possibilities of success in speaking to China, nevertheless, are near null, analysts say.

“Beijing has repeatedly criticized not simply DPP extra broadly however has really criticized Lai Ching-te by identify,” stated Wen-Ti Sung, a fellow with U.S. suppose tank Atlantic Council. “It’s one thing that Beijing normally solely does once they suppose there’s little or no likelihood of the 2 sides ever repairing ties.”

As an alternative, Sung added, China will doubtless resort to a “most strain marketing campaign,” together with navy and financial coercion.

As vp, Lai helped promote Taiwan’s pursuits internationally.

He stopped in New York and San Francisco on his solution to Latin America in August in a transfer that was criticized by Beijing.

That go to was a part of a diplomatic mission to Paraguay, one in every of a dozen international locations that also maintains formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Many international locations, together with the U.S., formally acknowledge the Individuals’s Republic of China however keep unofficial ties with Taiwan.

Lai stated on the time that it was essential to satisfy overseas counterparts to convey the message that Taiwan “persists in its democracy, human rights and freedom and actively takes half in worldwide affairs.”

President Joe Biden was requested in regards to the election in Taiwan as he left the White Home on Saturday to spend the weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. “We don’t help independence,” he stated.

U.S. Secretary of State congratulated Lai, and likewise “the Taiwan folks for as soon as once more demonstrating the power of their strong democratic system and electoral course of.”

U.S. Home Speaker Mike Johnson stated he can be asking the chairs of the related Home committees to guide a delegation to Taipei following Lai’s inauguration in Could.

Lai has pointed to China’s firing of missiles and different navy drills within the Taiwan Strait in 1996 as a “defining second” that drew him into politics.

In an opinion piece in The Wall Avenue Journal in July, he vowed to keep up the established order, saying that was in the most effective pursuits of Taiwan and worldwide group. He additionally drew a line between Taiwan and Ukraine and the rise of authoritarianism globally “have woke up the worldwide group to the fragility of democracy.”

In that article, he referred to as for a build-up of Taiwan’s navy deterrence capabilities, strengthening financial safety, forging partnerships with democracies worldwide and “regular and principled cross-strait management.”


Schreck reported from Bangkok. Related Press author Seung Min Kim in Washington contributed to this report.

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