President Tsai won re-election in 11 Jan presidential elections, winning 57.1% of vote (highest vote share ever won by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate) ahead of Han Kuo-yu of Kuomintang party who won 38.6%; in legislative elections held concurrently, DPP retained majority but lost seven seats, taking 61 of 113 total, with Kuomintang winning 38 seats; turnout 74.9%. Tsai 14 Jan said China needed to “face reality” and show Taiwan “respect”. Chinese State Councillor Wang 13 Jan stated “consensus won’t alter because of a local election”; in response, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council claimed Wang “must face up to reality and stop believing his own lies”. U.S. Sec State Pompeo 11 Jan congratulated Tsai on win and praised her for seeking stability with China “in face of unrelenting pressure”. In lead up to vote, FM Joseph Wu 9 Jan warned Beijing not to retaliate if it did not like result and said China should not “read too much into” elections. U.S. warship 16 Jan sailed through Taiwan Strait; Chinese Foreign Ministry 17 Jan warned U.S. to approach Taiwan issue “cautiously and properly” to avoid “damaging China-U.S. relations and peace and stability”. Chinese military jets, including Xian H-6 bombers and a KJ-500 surveillance aircraft, flew through Bashi Channel, body of water separating Taiwan from Philippines, in military exercises 23 Jan, according to Taiwan’s Defence Ministry who monitored drills.
After drifting toward crisis for much of 2004, the outlook for stability across the Taiwan Strait has improved.
Each side’s most preferred solution for resolving the continuing Taiwan Strait issue – in the case of Taipei, widely recognised de jure independence; and in the case of Beijing, reunification of China on the same ‘one country, two systems’ basis as Hong Kong – are both non-starters.
Apparently irreconcilable positions on the ‘one China’ principle have emerged between China and Taiwan over the last decade, with Taiwan for some time now asserting not only that it is a separate political entity but an independent sovereign country.
China's underlying position on its cross-Strait relations, however strong its current commitment to peaceful diplomacy, is that Taiwan must make sustained, visible progress toward a peaceful settlement or risk a resort to armed hostilities.
In the last decade, Taiwan has moved slowly but surely away from its commitment to the idea of ‘one China’, the proposition, long agreed on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, that Taiwan and the mainland are parts of one country.