Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured a comfortable win in Saturday's presidential election, a victory that she said was indicative of the value the people place on democracy.
"Regardless of how you voted, by taking part in this election you have put democratic values into practice," Tsai said at an international news conference.
"With each presidential election, Taiwan is showing the world how much we cherish our free democratic way of life and how much we cherish our nation, the Republic of China (Taiwan)," Tsai said.
She also thanked the people who voted for her and her running mate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) and expressed respect for the other two presidential candidates, Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Kuomintang (KMT) and James Soong (宋楚瑜) of the smaller People First Party (PFP).
"I will take your constructive criticism with me into my next term," she said, directing her comments at Han and Soong. "I am confident that although our parties may have different views, we will have many opportunities to cooperate in the future.
According to the Central Election Commission tally, Tsai won with 8.17 million votes, or 57.13 percent of the total, while Han got 5.52 million (38.61 percent) and Soong 608,590 (4.26 percent.)
Tsai not only increased her support from 2016 when she got 6.89 million votes but also set a record for the highest number of votes gained by a candidate since Taiwan's first presidential election in 1996.
In her victory speech, she said the election results also signaled that when Taiwan's sovereignty and democracy come under threat, the Taiwanese people will speak loudly.
"Through China's increasing pressure and proposal of a "one country, two systems" model for Taiwan, it hopes to "force us to accept conditions that are entirely unacceptable," Tsai said.
Despite China's diplomatic pressure and military threats, she said, her administration has maintained a non-provocative, non-adventurist approach that has prevented any serious conflicts in the Taiwan Strait.
"In the face of China's intention to unilaterally change the cross-strait status quo, Taiwan has had no choice but to continue strengthening our democratic defense mechanisms, and establish national defense capabilities that can ensure security in the Taiwan Strait."
At the same time, Tsai said, her administration, over the past three years, has remained firm on its bottom line on Taiwan's sovereignty and has also been willing to engage in healthy exchanges with China.
Tsai said she remained committed to peaceful and stable cross-strait relations, but the responsibility for such relations lies with both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
"Today, I want to once again call upon the Beijing authorities to remind them that peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue are the key to positive cross-strait interactions and long-term stable development," she said, adding that such an approach is the only path to bringing together and benefitting the people on both sides.
She said "peace" means that China must abandon its threats of force against Taiwan, while "parity" means neither side of the Taiwan Strait should deny the fact of the other's existence.
"Democracy" means that the future of Taiwan must be decided by the country's 23 million people, and "dialogue" means sitting down and discussing the future of cross-strait relations, she said.
In the global arena, Taiwan hopes to be given a fair opportunity to participate in international affairs, Tsai said
"The Republic of China (Taiwan) is an indispensable member of the international community," she said. "We are willing to work together with all countries to take on shared responsibility, take part in shared prosperity and help maintain regional peace and stability. All countries should consider Taiwan a partner, not an issue."
On the domestic front, Tsai said, any conflicts that arose during the election campaign should end now that the election is over.
"I ask that none of my supporters attempt to provoke our opponents," she said. "We need to embrace each other and unite under the banner of democracy if we want to overcome the challenges facing our country."