China says 'strongly deplores' US statement on Taiwan election

AFP , Sunday 14 Jan 2024

China said Sunday it "strongly deplored" a statement by the United States on the Taiwan election after Washington congratulated independence-leaning Lai Ching-te on his victory in the self-ruled island's presidential poll.

Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te, also known as William Lai, left, celebrates his victory with running mate Bi-khim Hsiao in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. AP


Lai triumphed over his nearest rival Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang on Saturday by more than 900,000 votes, rounding off an election campaign marked by diplomatic pressure from Beijing and near-daily incursions by Chinese fighter jets.

China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has not ruled out using force to seize the island one day.

The US State Department on Saturday congratulated Lai on his victory and hailed the people of Taiwan "for once again demonstrating the strength of their robust democratic system and electoral process".

On Sunday, a spokesperson for Beijing's foreign ministry said the US statement "sends a gravely wrong signal to the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces".

"We strongly deplore and firmly oppose this, and have made serious representations to the US side," the spokesperson said.

They added that Washington's statement "seriously violates the one-China principle" as well as its pledge to only maintain unofficial ties with Taiwan.

"We urge the US to stop its official interaction with Taiwan and stop sending any wrong signal to the separatist forces for 'Taiwan independence,'" the spokesperson said.

They did not mention the unofficial post-election visit of a US delegation to Taiwan announced Sunday by Washington's de-facto embassy on the island.

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