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Taiwan tells China to ‘face reality’ after election

Lai, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), had vowed to defend the island from China’s “intimidation” and on Sunday Taipei’s foreign ministry told Beijing to accept the result.

Taiwansnewpresident electLaiChing teTAIPEI: Taiwan told China on Sunday to “face reality” and respect its election result, after voters defied Beijing’s warnings and chose pro-sovereignty candidate Lai Ching-te as president.

Voters spurned Beijing’s repeated calls not to vote for Lai, delivering a comfortable victory for a man China’s ruling Communist Party sees as a dangerous separatist.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its territory and has never renounced force to bring it under its control, responded to Lai’s victory by saying it would not change the “inevitable trend of China’s reunification”.

Lai, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), had vowed to defend the island from China’s “intimidation” and on Sunday Taipei’s foreign ministry told Beijing to accept the result.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the Beijing authorities to respect the election results, face reality and give up suppressing Taiwan in order for positive cross-strait interactions to return to the right track,” it said in a statement.

An unofficial US delegation sent by President Joe Biden’s administration will arrive in Taipei on Sunday, a move sure to draw condemnation from Beijing.

The delegation, including a former US national security adviser and a former deputy secretary of state, will meet “a range of leading political figures” on Monday, the island’s de facto US embassy said in a statement.

China on Sunday condemned a statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulating Lai on his win.

“We strongly deplore and firmly oppose this, and have made serious representations to the US side,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

After a campaign marked by diplomatic pressure from Beijing and near-daily incursions by Chinese fighter jets, Lai beat his nearest rival Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang (KMT) on Saturday by more than 900,000 votes.

In his victory speech, the 64-year-old Lai congratulated voters for refusing to be swayed by “external forces” trying to influence the election.

He said he wanted to cooperate with China — Taiwan’s biggest trade partner — and maintain peace and stability, but pledged not to be cowed by Chinese belligerence.

“We are determined to safeguard Taiwan from continuing threats and intimidation from China,” he told supporters.

Four Chinese naval vessels were seen in waters around the island on polling day, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry, and one high-altitude balloon passed over.

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