Taiwan voters elected Saturday Democratic Progressive Party candidate William Lai over objections and pressure from China, according to Axios.

The election of Lai, who the Chinese foreign ministry called in August a “separatist through and through,” could increase Chinese Communist Party pressure on Taiwan, Axios reported. China claims Taiwan as its territory, and its Taiwan Affairs Office warned voters Thursday that Lai “will trigger cross-Strait confrontation and conflict,” according to the Financial Times.

Lai said Saturday has an “important responsibility to maintain peace and ability in the Taiwan Strait” but affirmed he is “determined to safeguard Taiwan from continuing threats and intimidation from China,” according to Axios.

“In the global election year of 2024, in this most anticipated first election, Taiwan has scored the first victory for democracy, ” Lai said in a speech after his victory, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Countries containing over half the world’s populations are slated to hold consequential elections in 2024, including Russia, India, Mexico, Britain and the United States, according to Reuters.

Lai’s victory gives his party its third term in a row as its President Tsai Ing-wen steps down after hitting his two-term limit, according to the WSJ.

A China Defense Ministry spokesperson said Friday that the Chinese military would “take all necessary measures to resolutely crush any form of secessionist designs for ‘Taiwan independence,” according to the WSJ

Katelynn Richardson on January 13, 2024

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