Tsai Ing-wen, the candidate leading the Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party, has been elected as president of Taiwan. The U.S.-educated former law professor is the first woman to hold office.

According to CNN, Taiwan has been under the government of the pro-China Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party for the past eight years. Since the Democratic Progressive Party has traditionally been in favor of independence, the vote could anger China, which sees Taiwan as a part of its territory that could be taken by force if needed. Beijing has hundreds of missiles pointing at the island.

“My position will move past partisan politics,” Tsai said in her first conference with the media. “Following the will and consensus of the Taiwanese people, we will work to maintain the status quo for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, in order to bring the greatest benefits and well-being to the Taiwanese people.” She added, “I also want to emphasize that both sides of the strait have a responsibility to find mutually acceptable means of interaction that are based on dignity and reciprocity. We must ensure that no provocations or accidents take place.”

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Tsai has promised to bring new growth to Taiwan’s sluggish economy by diversifying trade relations and pledged to tackle youth unemployment, reports The Guardian.

“For me, this is not just about an election victory,” Tsai said. “The results today tell me that the people want to see a government more willing to listen to the people, a government that is more transparent and accountable, and a government that is more capable of leading us past our current challenges and taking care of those in need. They tell me that the people expect a government that can lead this country into a new generation and a government that is steadfast in protecting this country’s sovereignty.”


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

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Image via AP.