TAIPEI, Taiwan, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The Chinese government issued a warning on the eve of Taiwan's elections, reiterating its One-China policy that only recognizes the legitimacy of the Beijing government.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Friday that China is opposed to the idea of "two Chinas," South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
"No matter what changes take place in [Taiwan], China's position remains unchanged," Hong said.
Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen has been leading the ruling party candidate Eric Chu by nearly 29 percentage points, and it is likely Taiwan would elect its first female president on Saturday.
But China has insisted Taiwan is a "renegade province" defying unification with the mainland.
The DPP has long sought official independence, but such an announcement could be followed by military action from Beijing, TIME reported.
Taiwan's economy has become increasingly dependent on China, during the two-term presidency of Ma Ying-jeou, the incumbent. His efforts to cultivate closer economic ties with Beijing have annoyed Taiwanese voters who are suspicious of China's motives.
But Tsai, unlike her opposition party predecessor Chen Shui-bian, is expected to be more flexible in her approach to cross-strait relations. China, however, has formerly expressed concern about Tsai's views on the 1992 Consensus between Beijing and Taipei. The candidate does not recognize the validity of the agreement, which, according to Beijing, acknowledges the undivided sovereignty of China.
TIME reported other stark differences divide mainland Chinese views and those of the Taiwanese who are to vote in the upcoming elections.
Mainland exchange students in Taiwan told TIME that democracy in Taiwan "is a joke," reflecting their upbringing in a state ruled exclusively by the Chinese Communist Party.
"I don't care about politics, I just care whether my life is better or not," said Wang Tiancheng, a chemical-engineering student from China studying in Taiwan.