US hails Taiwan leader's re-election, 'robust' democracy

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (C) joins hands with Vice President-elect William Lai (L) and current Vice President Chen Chien-jen at campaign headquarters in Taipei on January 11, 2020; she was re-elected in a lopsided vote seen as a blow to China

The United States congratulated Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen for her re-election Saturday, hailing it as a demonstration of the self-ruled island's "robust democratic system."

The US State Department issued a statement praising Tsai shortly after final results showed her winning by a landslide in what was widely seen as a blow to China.

The US statement praised Tsai for developing a strong partnership with Washington and for her "commitment to maintaining cross-Strait stability in the face of unrelenting pressure."

"Under her leadership, we hope Taiwan will continue to serve as a shining example for countries that strive for democracy, prosperity, and a better path for their people," it said.

Final results showed her winning 57 percent of the vote against 39 percent for the Kuomintang party's Han Kuo-yu, who conceded defeat.

China had ramped up economic and diplomatic pressure on the island under Tsai's first term, but its tactics backfired amid public concern fueled in part by Beijing's hardline response to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The State Department congratulated Taiwan "for once again demonstrating the strength of its robust democratic system, which -- coupled with a free market economy and a vibrant civil society -- makes it a model for the Indo-Pacific region and a force for good in the world."

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (C) joins hands with Vice President-elect William Lai (L) and current Vice President Chen Chien-jen at campaign headquarters in Taipei on January 11, 2020; she was re-elected in a lopsided vote seen as a blow to China