World reactions to Taiwan election

January 15, 2024 - 11:14 AM
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Taiwan President-elect Lai Ching-te speaks on stage at a rally, flanked by his running mate Hsiao Bi-khim, following the victory in the presidential elections, in Taipei, Taiwan, January 13, 2024. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Following are reactions by some foreign leaders and other officials to the result of Saturday’s election in Taiwan, won by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te. Lai’s party champions Taiwan‘s separate identity and rejects China’s territorial claims.

CHINA’S TAIWAN AFFAIRS OFFICE

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Lai’s win would not change the basic landscape of cross-strait relations.

In a statement carried on China’s state Xinhua news agency, Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the office, said the results showed the Democratic Progressive Party cannot represent mainstream public opinion on the island.

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

“We do not support independence…” Biden said, when asked for reaction to Saturday’s elections. Hours ahead of the polls opening, Washington had warned “it would be unacceptable” for “any” country to interfere in the election.

BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER DAVID CAMERON

Cameron congratulated Lai on his win and said he hoped Taiwan and China would renew efforts to resolve their differences peacefully.

“The elections today are testament to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” he said in a statement. “I hope that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will renew efforts to resolve differences peacefully through constructive dialogue, without the threat or use of force or coercion.”

JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER YOKO KAMIKAWA

Japan offered congratulations for Lai’s election and the smooth vote, Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said in a statement.

“We expect that the issue surrounding Taiwan will be resolved peacefully through dialogue, thereby contributing to the peace and stability in the region,” the statement said.

“For Japan, Taiwan is an extremely crucial partner and an important friend, with which it shares fundamental values and enjoys close economic relations and people-to-people exchanges,” it said, repeating Japan’s usual lines about Taiwan.

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, commenting after the vote, said Moscow continued to view Taiwan as an integral part of China.

— Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Compiled by Frances Kerry, Editing by William Maclean