Taiwan's new president-elect will face China's ire

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2024-01-13 | 10:07
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Taiwan's new president-elect will face China's ire
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Taiwan's new president-elect will face China's ire

Taiwan's new president-elect, Lai Ching-te, is likely to face his toughest task yet when he takes office in May and has to deal with the ire of China which has repeatedly denounced him as a dangerous separatist.

Lai, who won Saturday's election, repeatedly said during the campaign that he wanted to keep the status quo with China, which claims Taiwan as its own, and offered to talk to Beijing.

"We don't want to become enemies with China. We can become friends," Lai, widely known by his English name William, told a Taiwanese television station in July.

But in Beijing's view, Lai, 64, is a separatist and "troublemaker through and through" for comments he first made in 2017 as premier about being a "worker" for Taiwan's formal independence - a red line for Beijing.

The next year he told parliament he was a "practical worker for Taiwan independence", causing one Chinese newspaper, the widely read Global Times, to call for China to issue an international arrest warrant for Lai and prosecute him under China's 2005 Anti-Secession Law.

Lai maintains he simply meant Taiwan is already an independent country. On the campaign trail he stuck by President Tsai Ing-wen's line that the Republic of China - Taiwan's formal name - and the People's Republic of China are "not subordinate to each other".

Under Taiwan's constitution the Republic of China is a sovereign state, a view shared by all Taiwan's main political parties. The Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong's communists, who set up the People's Republic.

What worries Beijing is the idea that Lai could try to change the status quo by declaring the establishment of a Republic of Taiwan, which Lai has said he will not do.



Reuters

World News

Taiwan

President

Elections

China

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