US officials reiterated their partnership with Taiwan and Democratic candidate Joe Biden advocated stronger relations with the island after President Tsai Ing-wen swept to victory in an election that pressured voters to pick sides in the battle for influence between America and China.
“You are stronger because of your free and open society,” Biden, the former US vice president, said in a tweet congratulating Tsai. “The United States should continue strengthening our ties with Taiwan and other like-minded democracies.”
He followed comments from US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who highlighted the “strong partnership” between the US and Taiwan. “The American people and the people of Taiwan are not just partners—we are members of the same community of democracies, bonded by our shared political, economic, and international values,” Pompeo said.
The press office of Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a prominent China hawk, tweeted that he “looks forward to strengthening the US-Taiwan relations in years to come.” Todd Young, a fellow Republican Senator from Indiana, tweeted that “democracy has once again prevailed over Communism.”
In response to these comments, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang expressed strong dissatisfaction. Geng said China urges countries to abide by its one-China principle and not to have official exchanges with Taiwan in any form, according to a statement from the ministry.
Tsai declared the world should see Taiwan as a partner, not an issue, after her Democratic Progressive Party won a landslide victory over China-friendly Kuomintang challenger Han Kuo-yu to clinch a second term in elections. Her party advocates for the democratically-run island’s formal independence, so the results deal a blow to Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s hopes of uniting Taiwan with the mainland.
In a strongly-worded commentary following the vote, China’s official Xinhua news agency said her re-election was “no doubt a development that deeply worries people who hope for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
It added that China has “a full
policy toolbox” to curb “Taiwan independence secessionist activities or to benefit Taiwan compatriots.”