Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday that she had signed an anti-infiltration bill into law, which aims to curb Chinese influence in the self-ruled island's politics, amid objections from Beijing.
Tsai, who was re-elected to a second term in a landslide victory over the weekend, told an impromptu press conference at the Presidential Office that she had signed the Anti-Infiltration Act into law earlier on Wednesday, emphasizing that her government is against infiltration, but not against exchanges.
Despite a boycott by opposition parties, the legislature, controlled by Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party, passed the bill on Dec. 31 last year, the last day of the legislative session.
The bill was proposed by the DPP after a self-proclaimed Chinese spy confessed last year to Australian authorities that he helped funnel money into Taiwanese elections.
The new law empowers government agencies to ask law enforcement to investigate an individual, group, or organization suspected of engaging in conduct that results in damage to national sovereignty or democratic institutions if the conduct is directed, funded or supervised, by or on behalf of a foreign principal.
In drafting the bill, there was particular concern that China might interfere in the island's politics ahead of last weekend's presidential election.
The main opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which has accused the DPP of forcing the bill through, renewed its threat on Wednesday to seek constitutional interpretation.
Following her victory Saturday, Tsai, as she has in the past, urged Beijing to sit down and talk with her in an international press conference setting.
Tsai reminded Beijing that peace, parity, democracy and dialogue are the keys to positive cross-strait relations.
In her first media interview with the BBC, published on Wednesday, Tsai urged Beijing to "face reality" and show the island "respect."
But, China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang was quick to pour cold water on Tsai's proposal, blaming her party for causing a cross-strait stalemate over the past four years.
Meanwhile, nearly 60 percent of respondents in a poll released on Wednesday said that the two sides should resume dialogue.
The poll, conducted by the Cross-Strait Policy Association after Saturday's elections, showed that 59.5 percent of the respondents said they had confidence in Tsai's handling of cross-strait affairs, while 59.8 percent said the Communist Party of China should resume talks with the DPP.
National Taiwan Normal University political science professor Fan Shih-ping said he suspected Beijing would be willing to resume dialogue with Tsai, who secured 57 percent of the vote, but he urged the Taiwanese public to manage their expectations.
Association President Stephen Tan said the key to a resumption of cross-strait talks will be China's willingness to face up to the reality that the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, does exist.
Beijing contends that the Republic of China, established on the mainland in 1911, ceased to exist after the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
Since then, Taiwan has been governed separately from the mainland and still formally calls itself the Republic of China, while Beijing considers Taiwan to be a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.