Taiwan Leader Meets Top US Official After Her Election Win

Taiwan's 2020 presidential election candidate, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, right, and her running mate William Lai celebrate their victory with supporters in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Taiwan's independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen won a second term in a landslide election victory Saturday, signaling strong support for her tough stance against China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Whom do you meet the morning after winning reelection as leader of Taiwan? If you’re Tsai Ing-wen, it’s the Americans.

The Taiwanese president sat down with the top American official in Taipei on Sunday, one day after her landslide victory over challenger Han Kuo-yu of the opposition Nationalist Party.

Brent Christensen, a U.S. diplomat who is director of the American Institute in Taiwan, congratulated Tsai on her win and she thanked him for his support in a meeting at the presidential office loaded with symbolism.

Tsai has sought to deepen relations with the U.S. as she pushes back against pressure from China, and the Trump administration has reciprocated.

The U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan under the “One China” policy but is legally bound to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself against threats. Christensen is the de facto U.S. ambassador to the self-governing island of 23 million people.

China considers Taiwan a part of its territory and opposes any official contact with the U.S. as an interference in its domestic affairs.