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The opposition candidate in Taiwan's presidential election, Ma Ying-jeou, has won, his party says.
According to preliminary results, the Kuomintang's Mr Ma is leading by about 17 percentage points, with more than 90% of votes counted.
Whatever the referendum result, U.N. membership is out of the question with just 23 countries recognising Taiwan, and with China a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.
The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, recognising "one China", but remains the island's biggest ally.
Ma has made it clear, though, that he is not willing to discuss eventual union with Beijing.
Hsieh's DPP favours formal independence while Ma's Nationalist Party wants reunification