Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has told the BBC that China needs to "face reality" and show the island "respect".
She was re-elected for a second term on Saturday, winning by a landslide after a campaign in which she focused heavily on the rising threat from Beijing.
The Chinese Communist Party has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the right to take it by force if necessary.
Ms Tsai insisted that the sovereignty of the self-governing island was not in doubt or up for negotiation.
"We don't have a need to declare ourselves an independent state," the 63-year-old president told the BBC in an exclusive interview, her first since the election.
"We are an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China, Taiwan."
Such statements infuriate Beijing, which wants a return to the "One China" principle favoured by the main rival she saw off in the race for president, Han Kuo-yu from the Kuomintang party.
His party traces its roots to the defeated nationalists in the Chinese civil war, who fled to Taiwan and continued to see the island as part of a greater China from which they had been usurped.
In recent years, that concept of One China has proved a useful compromise, Taiwanese supporters of it argue.