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Taiwan votes for status quo with China, electing ruling party candidate as next president

China has grown more aggressive in language and action against Taiwan, but winner rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims over the island.

Published: January 13, 2024 7:46am

Updated: January 13, 2024 9:52am

In an election with global implications, Taiwan’s voters on Saturday chose Lai Ching-te as their next president, staying the course with a candidate from the country’s ruling party that rejects mainland China’s claims over the island.

Lai, a member of the governing Democratic Progressive Party, was declared the winner over Hou Yu-ih, a member of the more China-friendly Nationalist Party. Hou conceded hours after voting ended.

Lai secured 5.5 million votes while his opponent Hou Yu-ih of the Nationalist Party got 4.6 million votes. Former mayor of the capital Taipei, Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People’s Party, finished third with 3.6 million votes.

China has grown more aggressive in language and action against Taiwan, which it claims is still part of the mainland communist country, and strongly opposed Lai. China’s president recently suggested that reunification of the two was inevitable.

During his victory speech, Lai said that his win represented a "victory for the community of democracies.”

“We are telling the international community that between democracy and authoritarianism we will stand on the side of democracy, the Republic of China, Taiwan will continue to walk side by side with democracies from around the world,” he said, according to The Epoch Times.

Lai and incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen, a fellow party member, reject China’s claims over Taiwan, a former Japanese colony that split from the mainland after World War II.

But Lai has offered to restart talks with China, something that Beijing has repeatedly rejected.

Lai will take office for four years beginning on May 20. 

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