World leaders react to election of DPP's William Lai as Taiwan's next president

Messages from around the world.

Brenda Khoo | January 14, 2024, 10:21 AM



Taiwan held its elections on Jan. 13, and William Lai won an unprecedented third presidential term for his party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Succeeding Tsai Ing-wen, Lai's victory evoked reactions from around the world, including global powers China and the U.S.


“Taiwan is China’s Taiwan,” Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Chen Binhua said in a statement carried by state news agency Xinhua, adding that the DPP “cannot represent the mainstream public opinion on the island”.

Chen may have been referring to Lai getting around 40 per cent of the total vote, against his two opponents.

But he added that the vote “will not impede the inevitable trend of China’s reunification”.

While Taiwan has been self-governed since the 1940s, China still claims the island and its outlying territories.

The vote “will not change the basic landscape and development trend of cross-Strait relations,” Chen said. Beijing’s stance on “realising national reunification remains consistent, and our determination is as firm as rock.”

China “firmly oppose[s] the separatist activities aimed at ‘Taiwan independence’ as well as foreign interference”, he added.


The United States does “not support” the independence of Taiwan, President Joe Biden said, after being asked by reporters for Washington’s position on Taiwan’s presidential vote.

In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saluted Lai on his victory and hailed the “robust democratic system and electoral process” of the self-ruled island.

Blinken added that Washington is “committed to maintaining cross-Strait peace and stability, and the peaceful resolution of differences, free from coercion and pressure.”


Japan congratulated the smooth implementation of the democratic election and Lai on his victory.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko said:

“We expect that the issue surrounding Taiwan will be resolved peacefully through dialogue, thereby contributing to the peace and stability in the region,” adding that Taiwan was an “extremely crucial partner” with whom Tokyo aimed to “deepen cooperation.”


Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement that Moscow continued to view Taiwan as an integral part of China.

Moscow has repeatedly shown its support for Beijing's approach to Taiwan.

European Union (EU)

The EU “welcomed” Taiwan’s presidential election and congratulated all the voters who “participated in this democratic exercise”, a statement said, without mentioning president-elect Lai.

“The EU remains concerned about growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and opposes any unilateral attempt to change the status quo,” said the statement by a spokesperson for EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.

“The European Union underlines that peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait are key to regional and global security and prosperity.”

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