Saturday, January 16, 2016 1:59 pm
Tsai Ing-Wen, leader of Taiwan’s independence-leaning opposition Democratic Progressive Party, has won the island’s presidential election, the first woman to do so and is most likely set off a new anxious moments with giant China.
Already, the ruling party has admitted defeat and Tsai was being expected to give a victory speech.
“Eric Chu disappointed everyone. We lost. The Nationalists have been defeated,” Nationalist presidential candidate Chu said, surrounded by sombre-looking supporters, some in tears, adding he had also resigned as party chairman.
Outside DPP headquarters, supporters also cried, but for joy.
“The Taiwanese people despise the party that gets too close to China,” said Jeff Chang, 35.
Anita Lin, 37, said she was “thrilled”.
“Taiwan’s future is not in China. It’s in the world.”
Tsai will be thrust into one of Asia’s toughest and most dangerous jobs, with China pointing hundreds of missiles at the island, decades after losing Nationalists fled from Mao Zedong’s Communists to Taiwan in the Chinese civil war.
She 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.
Tsai risks antagonising China if she attempts to forcefully assert Taiwan’s sovereignty and reverses eight years of warming China ties under incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalists, whose forces retreated to Taiwan in 1949.
There was no immediate reaction from Beijing.