China intensified its military activities around Taiwan with its largest drills in weeks, coinciding with the election of Taiwan’s new pro-independence president, Lai Ching-te. The Taiwan Ministry of National Defense reported that the Chinese military conducted significant air and naval operations involving 24 aircraft and five ships near the island.
“The security and prosperity of the Taiwan Strait region are closely related to global development and stability, and are obligations and responsibilities that all parties in the region must share,” Taiwan stated. “The military will continue to strengthen its self-defence capabilities by enemy threats and self-defence needs, and respond to regional threats.”
The recent election saw Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) emerge victorious, marking a historic third consecutive presidential win for the party. Bloomberg News highlighted this as a first for any political party in Taiwan. The DPP’s platform advocates for Taiwan’s political independence and views the island as a sovereign nation, diverging from China’s claims.
In his victory speech, Lai celebrated Taiwan’s democratic commitment and expressed hope for China’s understanding of the Taiwanese people’s determination to preserve their democracy.
“This is a night that belongs to Taiwan. We managed to keep Taiwan on the map of the world,” Lai said following his win. “The election has shown the world the commitment of the Taiwanese people to democracy, which I hope China can understand.”
China, however, has reiterated its stance on Taiwan, with a Foreign Ministry spokesperson stating that changes in Taiwan’s political landscape do not alter the “one China” principle.
“The one-China principle is the solid anchor for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the Chinese spokesperson said. “We believe that the international community will continue to adhere to the one-China principle and understand and support the Chinese people’s just cause of opposing ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities and striving to achieve national reunification.”
The election comes amid heightened concerns over a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Factors contributing to these fears include significant investments in China’s military capabilities, economic challenges within China, and perceived weaknesses in the Biden administration’s foreign policy.