Sixty countries including Belize congratulate President Tsai of Taiwan on her re-election

President Tsai greets US delegation

But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed her victory and warned supporters of Taiwan independence during a week-long tour through Africa. "Invading Taiwan is something that is going to be very costly for China".

China insists on its acceptance as a prerequisite for building economic ties with Taiwan, precisely because doing so is an explicit denial of its existence as a de facto island state.

In her first remarks to the press on Wednesday after her reelection, Tsai said that Taiwan's "sovereignty is not in doubt or up for negotiation", daily Taiwan Today reported. "So, if there's anything that runs counter to this idea, they will stand up and say that's not acceptable to us", she said.

That's raised the stakes - and the urgency - for Tsai after her landslide election victory Saturday over China-friendly challenger Han Kuo-yo. This would mean that Taipei's military investments focus on elements of its armed forces that are able to withstand an initial precision bombardment by the Chinese armed forces, harden key facilities, and focus on a standing army that is equipped with short-range defense weapons.

"We don't have a need to declare ourselves an independent state", she said in the interview, which aired on Wednesday.

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Taiwan is set to receive a raft of USA weapons systems in Tsai's second term, including some $8 billion of more than 60 F-16 warplanes from Lockheed Martin Corp. and around $2 billion of M1A2T Abrams tanks from General Dynamics Corp. M1A2T Abrams tanks Tsai built attack submarines domestically built by CSBC Corp., Taiwan.

China has said it would regard such a move as a pretext for military action.

The high-profile USA sales, which Beijing views as a violation of American commitments to withdraw from Taiwan, symbolize Taipei's dependence on US security assurances.

Despite those considerations, Tsai must grapple with the strength of a rival that spends an estimated $250 billion on defense annually, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - about 25 times what Taiwan spends. This was a message that must have been well received by voters and led to their country victory on this island with 23 million inhabitants. The Taiwan Strait is also known for its rough waters.

Concerned about the events in Hong Kong and the example she gave, she said in the file: "I want the Beijing authorities to know that democratic Taiwan and our democratically elected government will never face threats".

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