lørdag 25. mai 2024

Taiwan's steely leader rewrote the book on how to deal with China

In Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan found an unlikely champion. During her two terms, she carefully yet confidently reset the relationship with Beijing, which has claimed the independently governed island as its own for 75 years. She stood up to an increasingly authoritarian and aggressive China under Xi Jinping; she held on to a vital US alliance under Donald Trump and buttressed it under Joe Biden. At home, she expanded the island’s defence and legalised same-sex marriage, the latter a first for Asia.

While Tsai shied away from the spotlight in Taiwan’s boisterous politics, Xiang Xiang became a celebrity. She played a starring role in Tsai's 2020 re-election campaign, along with the president’s other cat, a ginger tom called Ah Tsai.