The writing was on the wall. The re-election of Ms Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan’s presidential polls last Saturday came as no surprise to China – seven months of turmoil in Hong Kong had steadily boosted her appeal and that of her independence-leaning party, while Beijing’s reunification overtures based on the “one country, two systems” model had taken a severe beating.

But sources with ties to the Chinese leadership say President Xi Jinping is undeterred by the Taiwan election outcome and will step up the push for reunification during his watch. “We have been on the defensive too long, trying to prevent Taiwan independence,” one source familiar with the Chinese leadership’s thinking told The Straits Times, requesting anonymity. “It’s time to be on the offensive and promote reunification.”

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