About a year ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping fired a warning shot across the straits. Taiwan, he said, “must and will be” reunited with China. Xi addressed the island’s democratically elected leadership, insisting that “independence will only bring hardship” and that unification with the mainland was “an inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.”
This weekend, Taiwanese voters sent Xi their most emphatic response yet by delivering President Tsai Ing-wen a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election. Tsai, who represents the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, won 57 percent of the vote in a three-way race that had a high turnout of 74 percent. It was the biggest election victory since Taiwan held its first free and fair presidential election in 1996.