Don't expect China to be deterred after Taiwan's pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen secured her re-election in a decisive victory over pro-Beijing challenger Han Kuo-yu on Saturday despite China's efforts to sway the vote.
Tsai has pointed to the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong as a possible future for Taiwan should China refuse to scale back its attempts to interfere with Taiwan's governance. But experts think China and its President Xi Jinping may be emboldened by Saturday's results.
"This administration of Xi Jinping, but I would say more broadly the DNA of the Communist Party, does not do well to reflect and recalibrate in a way that signals reconciliation, compromise, or what they would frame as weakness," Jude Blanchette, the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Reuters. "I thoroughly expect that the conversation right now in Beijing is about turning the screws even more."
A Monday editorial in the Chinese state-backed Global Times said "we need to plan to crack down on Tsai's new provocative actions, including imposing military pressure."
Zheng Zhenqing, a Taiwan expert at Beijing's Tsinghua University, agreed that military coercion is a "realistic" tactic for China. "For the mainland, 'one country, two systems' is a basically policy of the state," he said. "How can it be changed because of just one election on Taiwan?" Read more at Reuters.
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