Emphatic victory underlines growing sense of identity on island that China has vowed to take back by force if necessary.
Taiwan’s independence movement is doomed to “stink for eternity”, China’s top diplomat has warned after the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide re-election victory in a stinging rebuke to Beijing.
Tsai, who has drawn the ire of Beijing for refusing to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China”, secured a record-breaking win in Saturday’s vote.
But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed her victory and warned supporters of Taiwan independence during a week-long tour through Africa.
“Splitting the country is doomed to leave a name that will stink for eternity,” Wang said in a statement on Monday.
The “one-China principle” is a “universal consensus” held by the international community, he said, and one that will “not be affected in the slightest by a local election in Taiwan.”
Beijing, which has vowed to one day take Taiwan by force if necessary, dislikes Tsai, who has pitched herself as a defender of liberal democratic values against an increasingly authoritarian China.
Over the past four years, the Chinese government has ramped up economic, military and diplomatic pressure on the island.
But the strong-arm tactics pushed voters to back Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party, fuelled in part by China’s hardline response to months of huge and violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
After Tsai’s victory, China doubled down on its “one-China principle”, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang emphasising that: “There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China.”
He also criticised those countries that congratulated Tsai for her win, including the US, Britain, and Japan.
“We oppose any form of official exchange between Taiwan and countries that have established diplomatic relations with China,” Geng said in a statement.
Wang issued the warning during a trip that took him to Zimbabwe, Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea and Burundi, highlighting China’s growing political interest and economic clout in Africa.
African leaders on his trip “all clearly expressed adherence to the one-China principle,” said Wang in a statement.
They all see Taiwan as an “inseparable part of China’s territory,” he added.