SINGAPORE (Jan 23): Taiwan’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen has won re-election with a resounding 57.1% of the votes, leaving her main opponent, Han Kuoyu of the China-leaning Kuomintang (KMT), with only 38.6%. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) confounded pollsters by securing 61 seats, and so retained control of the 113-seat legislature. That Tsai and the DPP achieved this, as the turnout surged to 74.9% from 66% in the last elections in 2016, only added to the convincing nature of her victory.

The question is: What does this mean for Asia and of course for Taiwan, which the Beijing leadership insists is part of China? There are two important ways this election will affect the rest of Asia. First, if China steps up all kinds of pressures on Taiwan, it could become a flashpoint between the US and China. Second, the election could put at risk the territory’s tentative economic revival.

China’s reaction could spell trouble for Taiwan and the rest of Asia

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