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A newspaper front page reporting about Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit is pictured in Taipei.

REUTERS/Ann Wang

Symbolism matters — Taiwan's post-Pelosi politics

Now that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left Taiwan, most of the attention will likely shift to how China responds, how the US responds to China's response, and how this all plays out in US domestic politics. But spare a thought for the self-governing democratic island of 23 million caught in the crossfire between Beijing and Washington.

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

As Pelosi tours Taiwan, China flexes its military muscle

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doubled down Wednesday on America’s support for Taiwan during her controversial visit to the self-governing island, to which China responded with the biggest show of military force since the last major US-China standoff over Taiwan 25 years ago.

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Taiwan's first female president has become a transformational leader for the self-governing island despite the growing threat from China. Here are a few things to know about Tsai Ing-wen, the woman in the world Beijing fears the most.

Gabriella Turrisi

Women in power — Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen

There is perhaps no woman in the world whom China fears more than Tsai Ing-en, president of Taiwan. When Tsai, an outspoken advocate of Taiwanese independence, campaigned for the presidency in 2016, Chinese state media questioned whether a woman could lead the self-governing island. She won, becoming Taiwan's first female leader.

Four years later, Beijing raised doubts about her not only because she is a woman, but because she is unmarried and has no children. She won again, this time in a landslide widely seen as a major blow to Beijing.

Today she is one of the region's most transformational leaders — pushing Taiwan to punch above its weight in global affairs, turning it into a beacon for gender equality in Asia, and overseeing one of the most effective responses to the pandemic. All of this, of course, while dealing with the growing threat that China, under Xi Jinping, will make good on its long-standing pledge to reunify Taiwan with the mainland — by force if necessary.

Here are a few aspects of Tsai's policies and approach that you should know.

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Beijing rebuffs latest offer of talks from Taipei as a 'cheap trick'

January 03, 2021 5:00 AM

BEIJING • China has rebuffed the latest offer of talks from Taiwan, saying the government was engaging in a "cheap trick" and provocation, and noting that it has sought confrontation with Beijing at every turn.

Taiwan says faces daily threat as US notifies of new arms sale

December 08, 2020 10:36 AM

"Authoritarian forces consistently attempt to violate the existing norms-based order," President Tsai Ing-wen said.

China dismisses call by Taiwan leader for 'meaningful talks'

October 11, 2020 5:00 AM

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen yesterday called for "meaningful talks" with China and appealed for the de-escalation of military tensions, but the overture was swiftly rebuffed by Beijing.

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen calls for 'meaningful dialogue' with China

October 10, 2020 11:21 AM

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan wants to have "meaningful dialogue" with China on an equal basis, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Saturday (Oct 10), extending an olive branch at a time of heightened military tension with Beijing, which claims the island as sovereign Chinese territory.

Taiwan President to pledge strong defences as China tensions rise

October 09, 2020 11:15 PM

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will pledge to strengthen the island's defences and work more with regional partners on security in a major speech on Saturday (Oct 10), at a time when tensions with its giant neighbour China have risen dramatically.

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