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China is responding to the result of the Taiwan elections in a variety of ways, issuing warnings rather than threats. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement lambasting the State Department’s statement on the victory of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te, in which they said, “We look forward to working with Dr. Lai and Taiwan’s leaders of all parties to advance our shared interests and values, and to further our longstanding unofficial relationship, consistent with the U.S. one China policy as guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiqués, and the Six Assurances.” The Taiwan Relations Act and “the Six Assurances” were agreements with Taiwan to which China had not been a party to and which they view as undercutting the three Joint Communiques with the P.R.C. The U.S. has sent two former officials, Stephen Hadley and James Steinberg to Taipei for consultations. No doubt in tandem, the Japanese have also sent a delegation to Taipei.

A day before the election, the PLA had issued a statement to the effect that it was prepared to “smash Taiwan independence” if they dared to move in that direction. So on Jan. 13, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also added his comments. He underlined the fact that the “Cairo Declaration,” which was signed 80 years ago by the war allies, the U.S. Great Britain, and the Republic of China, clearly stipulated that Taiwan, the territory stolen by Japan, should be returned to China. This was reiterated in the Potsdam Declaration, which was also signed by the Soviet Union, he said.

Wang Yi emphasized that Taiwan has never been a country and will never be a country in the future. “Anyone on the island of Taiwan who wants to pursue `Taiwan independence’ is to split China’s territory and will be severely punished by history and law,” he said. In addition, he noted that anyone who violates the one-China principle in the international community is interfering in China’s internal affairs and infringing on China’s sovereignty, and will surely be opposed by the entire Chinese people and even the international community.