Chinese state-run media on Monday warned Taiwan’s president elect to not take a pro-independence approach toward Chinese relations.
Tsai Ing-wen, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won a landslide victory on Saturday sending shockwaves throughout Chinese leadership.
However, Tsai has in recent months sanitized the position of the DPP toward independence and has vowed to maintain the “Status Quo” toward China, which still views the island nation as a breakaway province.
Nonetheless, several Chinese media outlets took stabs at Tsai’s foreign policy, particularly toward Beijing.
The English-language edition of the state-run tabloid Global Times published an editorial accusing Tsai of leading a “hypocritical cover-up for her pro-independence advocacy.”
An editorial in the Chinese-language edition reflected a similar view.
Zhou Zhihuai, head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Taiwan Studies, wrote that if Tsai “parts ways with the mainland, she will go down a dead end.”
He added that when it comes to cross-strait relations, “the road of peace or antagonism, it’s up to Tsai Ing-wen to make the choice.”
As president, Tsai is challenged to devise a foreign policy that will ease tensions with Beijing while ensuring her supporters that she would defend Taiwan’s sovereignty.
She reiterated the latter in her first address to international media following her victory.
“Our democratic system, national identity and international space must be respected,” Tsai said.
Tsai began to garner support after Taiwan’s citizenry became growingly concerned over closer ties with China under outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou and his Kuomintang (KMT) Party.
Tensions between China and Taiwan can be traced back to 1950 when the nationalists in the mainland lost a civil war against the communists and fled to the island of Taiwan. Beijing has warned it would use force in the event that Taiwan takes a formal approach toward independence.