Taiwan's president-elect on China: ‘We can become friends, don’t have to…' | World News - Hindustan Times
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Taiwan's president-elect on China: ‘We can become friends, don’t have to…'

Jan 13, 2024 08:11 PM IST

Taiwan Election Results: The self-ruled island has managed to see off attempts to influence its election, William Lai said, in a swipe at China.

Taiwan's president-elect William Lai Ching-te said that the self-ruled island “will stand on the side of democracy” as he spoke after winning a crucial election. He said thanking his two opponents for conceding, "I want to thank the Taiwanese people for writing a new chapter in our democracy. We are telling the international community that between democracy and authoritarianism, we will stand on the side of democracy."

Taiwan Election Results: Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate William Lai Ching-te speaks to the media.(AP)
Taiwan Election Results: Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate William Lai Ching-te speaks to the media.(AP)

The self-ruled island has managed to see off attempts to influence its election, he said, in a swipe at China.

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"The Taiwanese people have successfully resisted efforts from external forces to influence this election," he said, adding, "We don't want to become enemies with China. We can become friends. We are determined to safeguard Taiwan from continuing threats and intimidation from China. The president-elect also pledged to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait saying, “I will act... in a manner that is balanced and maintain the cross-strait status quo.”

Read more: Anti-China William Lai set to be Taiwan's president: ‘We cherish democracy’

But “I will safeguard Taiwan from continuing threat and intimidation from China”, he said.

China claims democratic Taiwan, separated from the mainland by a strait, as its own as Beijing has said that it will not rule out using force to bring “unification”. Beijing has also slammed William Lai earlier as a dangerous "separatist" as China's defence ministry vowed to "crush" any move towards Taiwanese independence ahead of elections. Chinese president Xi Jinping also said in his New Year's address that the "unification" of Taiwan with China was "inevitable".

As per Taiwan's elections commission, William Lai won 40.1 percent of the vote with ballots counted from 99 percent of polling stations while his main rival Hou Yu-ih of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) trailed in second place with 33.5 percent.

"When the people have made their decision, we face them and we listen to the voices of the people," Hou Yu-ih said as he conceded.

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