PRESIDENT Lee Teng-hui's triumph at the ballot box yesterday could inject a much-needed momentum into breaking the impasse over cross-strait relations. The wide margin of his victory demonstrated the overall ineffectiveness of Beijing's so-called missile diplomacy in intimidating both Mr Lee and Taiwan residents. While Beijing could take some comfort from the apparent drop in popularity of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, it now has to undertake a reassessment of its Taiwan policy. Though Beijing had apparently ruled out Mr Lee, a 'sinner of a thousand antiquities' as a partner for dialogue, the voters' backing for the native-Taiwanese President may convince China that it has to play ball with him. The People's Liberation Army's (PLA) repeated military exercises have focused global attention on the island. At the same time, Mr Lee's electoral triumph has invested him with the status of a world-class 'democracy fighter' - making him a formidable opponent in the cross-Strait argument. Chinese sources said the Chinese Communist Party Politburo, as well as Central Military Commission, would call a meeting shortly to thrash out the next round of policy on Taiwan. Whether Beijing can revise its gameplan - and agree to start talking with Mr Lee or his representatives - depends on whether hardliners, including the PLA generals, can be persuaded to come to terms with reality. At the same time, the larger-than-expected mandate which was secured by Mr Lee on Saturday may give Taipei greater confidence in starting new initiatives towards Beijing. In the past week, the President's close aides have floated trial balloons - including direct trading links and a summit with Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Critics of Mr Lee, however, have warned that his victory - as well as the apparent success of the American armada in forcing the PLA to rein in their manoeuvres - could render him even less willing to make concessions to Beijing. After all, the historic balloting yesterday was marred by the fact that it was, to a certain extent, held under the 'protection' of two battle groups of the US Navy. Domestically, Mr Lee's advisers acknowledge that the voters of the island have given them a strong message to speed up reforms. Taiwan residents, including a substantial portion of those who supported Mr Lee yesterday, are fed up with what the media in Taiwan call the 'collusion between politicians and black money'. The new administration that will come into being on May 20 will no longer be able to muddle through with business as usual. It is an encouraging sign that Mr Lee is said to be considering bringing new faces into the Cabinet, including some politicians from other parties. Opposition and opinion leaders have indicated that they hope Mr Lee will eschew tokenism or pork-barrel politics and pick a few non-KMT politicians who enjoy popular support. Given Lien Chan's apparent decision to step down from the position of premier in May, Mr Lee is said to be considering outsiders including Nobel Prize-winner, Professor Lee Yuan-che.