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Confrontation after Taiwan election highlights the intractable divide over the island’s destiny

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — A confrontation erupted the day after Taiwan‘s presidential and parliamentary elections, with Taiwan on Sunday accusing China of constructing “fallacious feedback” and China criticizing the U.S. for congratulating the winner.

The verbal sparring highlighted the seemingly intractable divide over Taiwan’s destiny, a serious flashpoint in U.S.-China relations that dangers resulting in an precise battle sooner or later.

The victory of Lai Ching-te in Saturday’s election was a setback for China’s efforts to deliver Taiwan beneath its management. His Democratic Progressive Occasion advocates sustaining the established order, through which Taiwan governs itself however refrains from declaring formal independence — a transfer that might set off a Chinese language army response. China, in the meantime, requires what it phrases a “peaceable reunification,” however that appears more and more unrealistic as most Taiwanese have come to oppose turning into a part of China.

Taiwan mentioned as a lot, taking concern with China over its often-repeated line that Taiwan is a home Chinese language concern. China regards the island of 23 million folks as a renegade province and says it shouldn’t have its personal president or official relations with international governments.

The Chinese language International Ministry mentioned in a press release on the election that “the Taiwan query is China’s inside affair” and “the essential undeniable fact that …. Taiwan is a part of China won’t change.”

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Taiwan mentioned that assertion “is totally inconsistent with worldwide understanding and the present cross-strait scenario. It goes in opposition to the expectation of worldwide democratic communities and goes in opposition to the need of the folks of Taiwan to uphold democratic values. Such cliches aren’t value refuting.”

The U.S., in a press release attributed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, congratulated Lai on his victory and mentioned it seems to be ahead to working with all of Taiwan’s leaders “to advance our shared pursuits and values.” It congratulated the folks of Taiwan for demonstrating the energy of their democracy, a nod to the Biden administration’s efforts to seek out frequent floor with different democracies within the face of China’s rise.

China’s International Ministry mentioned the U.S. assertion “sends a gravely unsuitable sign to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces” and goes in opposition to a U.S. dedication to sustaining solely unofficial ties with Taiwan.

Lai’s victory means the Democratic Progressive Occasion will proceed to carry the presidency for a 3rd four-year time period, following eight years beneath President Tsai Ing-wen. However he received a three-way race for president with 40% of the vote, lower than the clear majority Tsai received in 2020. He’ll take workplace in Might.

The Democratic Progressive Occasion misplaced its majority within the legislature, ending with one seat fewer than the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Occasion. Neither holds a majority, giving the Taiwan Folks’s Occasion — a comparatively new pressure that received eight of the 113 seats — a doable swing vote on laws.

An announcement from the Taiwan Affairs Workplace in China mentioned that the outcomes confirmed that the Democratic Progressive Occasion doesn’t characterize mainstream public opinion on the island.

Taiwan’s International Ministry, in its response, known as on China “ to respect the election outcomes, face actuality and quit its oppression in opposition to Taiwan.”

The Chinese language army recurrently sends fighter jets and warships into the skies and waters close to Taiwan. Any battle might attract america, which formally would not assist Taiwan’s independence however opposes any try to alter the established order by pressure.

In the meantime, former U.S. nationwide safety adviser Stephen Hadley and former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg arrived in Taipei on Sunday for post-election conferences with political leaders. It was unclear how China would react, because it seeks to nurture a current enchancment in its troubled ties with the U.S. whereas additionally sustaining a agency and unwavering place on Taiwan.

They two may have conferences on Monday, the American Institute in Taiwan, the de-facto U.S. embassy, mentioned in a information launch. The institute mentioned the U.S. authorities had requested Hadley and Steinberg “to journey of their non-public capability to Taiwan.”

China has mentioned that it opposes any official interplay with Taiwan however has not indicated whether or not it considers the upcoming go to an official one.

The U.S. doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, although it maintains an workplace in Taipei, the capital metropolis, and is the primary provider of weapons for the island’s army.


Moritsugu reported from Beijing.


This story has been corrected to indicate that U.S. delegation arrived in Taipei on Sunday.

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