Tsai Ing-wen’s election victory may not have been a landslide, but it was decisive. Pundits of all stripes pretty much agreed long before Saturday that her second term as Taiwan president was virtually guaranteed. All she had to do was to ride on a tidal wave of anti-China sentiments among the island’s voters while her rival, Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang, found his conciliatory stance with Beijing became an electoral liability. It is not the end for the mainland or the Kuomintang. But Beijing must readjust its cross-strait policies if relations are to improve. Taiwan is now permanently entrenched as a two-party polity. Or let us hope so because any emerging third party will likely be advocating independence outright. Taiwan elections: Tsai Ing-wen re-elected as rival concedes defeat Beijing’s old game of playing nice with the KMT and rough with Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party no longer works. In fact, it has become counterproductive. It makes the KMT untrustworthy in the eyes of many Taiwan voters, especially younger ones, and risks turning it into an opposition party. Beijing must learn to work with both parties, no matter which one is in power. Freezing relations or threatening the DPP whenever it is in power will simply push the island further into the arms of Washington. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but it’s time for Beijing to take Tsai seriously and work with her. For starters, Beijing should stop thinking about Taiwan in terms of Hong Kong and vice versa, especially in regard to “one country, two systems”. However flawed and with many cracks showing, the model for national reunification will have to work for Hong Kong for now. Beijing ‘will view Tsai’s victory as setback but not a crisis’ After 2047 when the guarantee of 50 years of no change ends, China can do whatever it likes with the city. In other words, Beijing can make all the mistakes possible and still gets to keep Hong Kong, even if the city is reduced to a wasteland. That is not the case with Taiwan. One country, two systems is dead as a political option for the island’s voters; for them, it’s to be resisted. Meanwhile, the diplomatic isolation of Taiwan is a pyrrhic victory for Beijing. When push comes to shove, it will become a client state of Washington, in a key strategic area to encircle the mainland in a chokehold. For China, that must be avoided at all costs. A peace overture to Tsai seems like the best option.