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Taiwan president reelected as voters reject China agenda

Tsai Ing-wen was reelected as Taiwan's president by a landslide margin based on a campaign rejecting China's overtures toward the island, according to media reports.

Her victory could further intensify tensions with neighboring China, which considers Taiwan its territory, Reuters reported Jan. 10.

Elections in Taiwan were heavily influenced by protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, which saw the closure of bank branches and the decline in retails sales in the region.

Tsai, who has rejected China's claim to Taiwan under a Hong Kong-like governance model based on a "one country, two systems" arrangement, received about 8.2 million votes, or 57% of the vote, The Wall Street Journal noted in its report, citing preliminary results from the Central Election Commission. That is the most number of votes cast for a single candidate since Taiwan began direct elections of its president, according to media reports.

The treatment of Hong Kong, as well as Chinese moves that included sailing an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, appeared to have influenced voters, The New York Times reported.

"We hope that the Beijing authorities can understand that a democratic Taiwan with a government chosen by the people will not give in to threats and intimidation," Tsai said, according to Reuters. She expressed interest in maintaining a dialogue with China. China's initial response, according to media reports, was to reemphasize its view that Taiwan is part of mainland China.

Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang party, the mayor of the southern city of Kaohsiung, ran against Tsai touting closer relations with China. Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party also appeared to retain a majority of seats in Taiwan's legislature.