Hands off our elections, Taiwan tells China

Kyodo News

Posted at Jan 09 2020 10:05 PM

As Taiwanese voters prepare to head to the polls Saturday, the island's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu admonished China on Thursday to stop meddling in the elections.

Wu said China should not read too much into Taiwan's elections, and, in particular, should not view it as a defeat if the vote does not go how China would like.

"It's not China's election," Wu said in English, adding that if China is so interested in Taiwan's elections, "maybe they could try (holding) their own elections at some point."

Wu made the remarks during a question-and-answer session of an international press conference he called to explain the upcoming elections to international media outlets.

Taiwanese voters will elect a president, vice president and members of the legislature on Saturday, the results of which could have deep implications for the future relationship between the self-ruled island and China.

As incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen remains a strong favorite to win re-election, Wu said that if Tsai is victorious, her government will continue to monitor China's reactions after the elections.

"Our military will always be ready," Wu said. "They are always determined to defend Taiwan."

Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since they split amid a civil war in 1949. Beijing considers the island a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Tsai has promised to build a cross-strait relationship that is "consistent, predictable and sustainable," reassuring Beijing that her administration will conduct cross-strait affairs in accordance with the Republic of China's Constitution, the law governing the relations between the peoples of Taiwan and China, and other relevant legislation.

"We will also continue to uphold our goodwill to China," Wu said. "(But at the same time) we want to make sure that China understands that Taiwan is not going to bow to Chinese pressure."

Wu said his ministry will continue to work with like-minded countries to ensure that the peaceful and stable cross-strait status quo is not unilaterally altered.

On prospects for relations with Japan, Wu said they are reciprocal, dismissing recent comments made by former President Lee Teng-hui that they are "one-sided," meaning that Taiwan would like for Tokyo to be more openly supportive.

"(It) is not just a one-way street in the relations between Taiwan and Japan," Wu said, adding that "(some things) between good friends are usually done in private."