Taiwan president says China will find war with her country costly

Tsai Ing-wen supporters

A Chinese government spokesperson has stressed there is no change in Beijing's policy of seeking reunification with Taiwan, despite the reelection of President Tsai Ing-wen.

China's leadership had made no secret of its desire to see Tsai turfed out because she and her party refuse to acknowledge their view that the island is part of a "one China".

But since the 1980s, it has morphed into one of Asia's most progressive democracies, although it is only diplomatically recognised by a dwindling handful of countries. "We hope China can understand the opinion and will expressed by Taiwanese people in this election and review their current policies", Tsai told reporters in Taipei.

On Monday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed his victory and warned Taiwan's supporters of independence, saying that "dividing the country is doomed to leave a name that will stink for eternity".

By adhering to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle, cross-Strait relations will be improved and developed, and the interests and well-being of Taiwan compatriots will be safeguarded and enhanced, Ma said.

Taiwan's Foreign Affairs Ministry noted that President Tsai was congratulated via phone calls and emails from 60 different countries' representatives.

Western defense analysts have advocated a "porcupine strategy" for Taiwan that would deter Beijing from military action by making it too painful for China to invade.

Tsai opposes unification but has never said that she would formally declare Taiwan's independence, which would provoke Beijing. "We're a successful democracy, we have a pretty decent economy, we deserve respect from China", she said in the interview.

"There are so many pressures, so much pressure here that we should go further", she said.

That's raised the stakes - and the urgency - for Tsai after her landslide election victory Saturday over China-friendly challenger Han Kuo-yo. Taiwan separated from mainland China in 1949 and has since survived with its own flag, currency and a democratic government. To this extent, the statement could cause problems for Beijing if the Trump administration listens to her at this stage.

Following her victory Saturday, Tsai, as she has in the past, urged Beijing to sit down and talk with her in an worldwide press conference setting.

But the strong-arm tactics backfired with voters resoundingly backing Tsai for another four more years.

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