Photo from the Cornell Law School Facebook page

ITHACA, N.Y. — A Cornell alumna was elected as the first female president of Taiwan, BBC News reported Saturday.

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According to the report, Tsai Ing-wen is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, which advocates for independence from China.

At an international press conference following her victory, she said:

“For me, this is not just about an election victory. The results today tell me that the people want to see a government more willing to listen to the people…They tell me that the people expect a government that can lead this country into a new generation and a government that is steadfast in protecting this country’s sovereignty. “

She went on to say she is committed to preserving the stability of interactions with China.

“I also want to emphasize that both sides of the strait have a responsibility to find mutually acceptable means of interaction that are based on dignity and reciprocity,” Ing-wen said.

Photo from the Cornell Law School Facebook page

In response to her victory, Reuters reported that China’s official Xinhua news agency said, “We hope Tsai can lead the DPP out of the hallucinations of Taiwan independence, and contribute to the peaceful and common development between Taiwan and the mainland.”

The Xinhua news agency said moves toward independence would be “poison” to the relationship between Taiwan and China.

According to Cornell, Ing-wen was born in Taiwan and graduated from the university in 1980.

She also worked closely with another Cornellian, Lee Teng-hui, Ph.D. ’68, while he was president of Taiwan from 1988-2000. She’s the second graduate to be elected at president of Taiwan.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.