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23 February 2024

China says Taiwan an internal affair

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen gestures as she celebrates her victory in Taipei. (AFP)

By Agencies

Taiwan is an internal matter for China, there is only one China in the world and the island's election neither changes this reality nor international acceptance of it, China's government said after the pro-independence opposition won a landslide.

Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won a convincing victory in both presidential and parliamentary elections on Saturday.

President-elect Tsai pledged to maintain peace with giant neighbour China, which claims Taiwan as its sacred territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

Shortly after her victory, China's Taiwan Affairs Office warned it would oppose any move towards independence and that Beijing was determined to defend the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In a short statement released just before midnight on Saturday, China's Foreign Ministry said no matter what changes there may be on the island, China would never change its policy of opposing Taiwan's formal independence.

"The Taiwan issue is an internal matter for China," it said.

"There is only one China in the world, the mainland and Taiwan both belong to one China and China's sovereignty and territorial integrity will not brook being broken up," the ministry added.

"The results of the Taiwan region election does not change this basic fact and the consensus of the international community."

China hopes the world will continue to uphold a "one China" principle, oppose any form of Taiwan independence and takes "real steps" to support the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, it added.

Tsai has been thrust into one of Asia's toughest and most dangerous jobs, with China pointing hundreds of missiles at the island it claims, decades after the losing Nationalists fled from Mao Zedong's Communists to Taiwan in the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Tsai will have to balance the superpower interests of China, which is also Taiwan's largest trading partner, and the United States with those of her freewheeling, democratic home.