Taiwan Election Victory Sparks Cheers in the West, Worries in Beijing
Lai Ching-te’s Victory in Taiwan’s Presidential Election and International Reactions
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Congratulations and Biden’s Caution
While the United States, Japan, and Europe welcomed the presidential election victory of Lai Ching-te, a hardline independent of the pro-American ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), China expressed discomfort.
On the 13th (local time), U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Lai Ching-te’s victory: “We look forward to working with Dr. Lai and Taiwan’s leaders of all parties to advance our shared interests and values and to further our longstanding unofficial relationship, consistent with the U.S. one-China policy.” The U.S. is expected to continue its close diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, including in the economic sector such as semiconductors, with another pro-American regime for four more years following the existing Tsai Ing-wen government. However, the U.S. kept its remarks within the bounds of not provoking China. Before his departure for Camp David, President Joe Biden took a cautious approach, reaffirming the longstanding U.S. position against supporting Taiwan’s independence. Emphasizing the importance of peaceful cross-strait relations, Biden clearly articulated that the United States does not endorse Taiwan’s independence.
European Union’s Statement and UK Foreign Secretary’s Remarks
European countries also conveyed their congratulations on Lai’s election. The European Union (EU) opposed any attempt to change the current situation, saying in a statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) that “peace in the Taiwan Strait is the key to global prosperity” and congratulating the voters. UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said, “The elections today are a testament to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” and expressed hope that “the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will renew efforts to resolve differences peacefully through constructive dialog, without the threat or use of force or coercion.”
Japan expressed its approval of Lai Ching-te’s election victory. The night before, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa congratulated Lai Ching-te’s win and the smooth execution of the democratic elections. Kamikawa also mentioned Japan’s intention to enhance cooperation and exchanges with Taiwan further.
China’s Discomfort and Russia’s Concern
On the other hand, China and Russia showed disappointment at the news of the defeat of the pro-China Kuomintang candidate, Hou Yu-ih. A spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office stressed that “Taiwan is ‘China’s Taiwan'” and added, “We believe that the international community will continue to support the ‘One China’ principle and support China’s reunification with Taiwan.”
Russia, maintaining its stance that Taiwan is part of China, called on “external forces attempting to pressure China” to abstain from provocative actions that could jeopardize regional stability and international security.