China warns on Taiwan independence after election

A supporter of Tsai Ing-wen celebrates on Jan 16, 2016.
A supporter of Tsai Ing-wen celebrates on Jan 16, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - China's Taiwan Affairs Office said on Saturday (Jan 16) it would continue to oppose any Taiwan independence activities, after the leader of Taiwan's pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the island's presidential election.

China's determination to protect its territory and sovereignty was "hard as a rock", it said, in a statement released via the official Xinhua news agency.

Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of DPP, won a convincing victory in the presidential election on Saturday and pledged to maintain peace with China, which claims the island as its own, though vowed to firmly defend Taiwan's sovereignty.

Tsai will be thrust into one of Asia's toughest and most dangerous jobs, with China pointing hundreds of missiles at the island, decades after the losing Kuomintang fled from Mao Zedong's Communists to Taiwan in the Chinese civil war.

Tsai risks antagonising China if she attempts to forcefully assert Taiwan's sovereignty and reverses eight years of warming China ties under incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalists, whose forces retreated to Taiwan in 1949.