Tibet Sun Newsroom
McLEOD GANJ, India, 19 May 2021
Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu has congratulated Sikyong-elect Penpa Tsering on his win in the Tibetan elections announced on 14 May.
Wu in a congratulatory letter to Tsering on 17 May said, “Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on your success in the recent Sikyong election. The result once again has shown the world the Tibetans’ unwavering commitment to building a free and democratic Tibet.”
He said that Taiwan and Tibet are reliable partners, and can work together to safeguard their shared values of democracy, freedom, and human rights.
“Under your leadership, I look forward to working with you and your Administration to advance the close and friendly ties between Taiwan and Tibet,” Wu wrote.
Penpa Tsering, 53, a well-known political figure in the exile Tibetan community, won in the Tibetan elections over his contender Kaydor by more than 5,000 votes out of 63,991 votes cast on 11 April, in a voter turnout of 77% of 83,080 registered voters.
Tsering is to take oath on 26 May, when the incumbent Sikyong, or political leader, Lobsang Sangay will complete his second five-year term. However, it’s not clear who would administer the oath to the new Sikyong due to the dismissal of the Chief Justice of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
Taiwan and Tibet are among the main contentious issues in China’s international relations.
Although China has no control over Taiwan, it claims the independently-governed island nation as part of its territory under its “One-China Principle”, and vows to eventually “unify” Taiwan with the mainland, using force if necessary.
China also claims that Tibet has been a part of its territory since ancient times. But Tibetans say that China occupied an independent Tibet after Mao’s People’s Liberation Army marched into Tibet in 1959.
Tibetans are now seeking autonomy through what they call the ‘Middle-way’ policy, rather than seeking independence, but dialogue with Chinese leaders has been stalled since 2010.
Tsering is a staunch supporter of the ‘Middle-way’ policy. After winning the election, he said that finding a way to resume dialogue will be his top priority.