Ma, which holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School, defeated
challenger Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman, by 51.6 percent to 45.6 percent.
The 18 million Taiwanese voters preferred President Ma, the leader of the ruling Kuomintang Party, with a margin of almost 800,000 votes
After an election seen as critical to the future of an economy that has enjoyed
an improvement in the decades-old tensions across the Taiwan Strait, President Ma is to press for even warmer relations with Beijing.
"In the next four years," Ma said
, "ties with China will be more harmonious and there will be more mutual trust and the chance of conflict is slimmer. I will ensure a sustainable environment for peace for Taiwan."
Al Jazeera’s journalist Melissa Chan, reporting from Beijing, said
officials in China were "breathing a sigh of relief" because of the victory for the pro-China Ma Ying-jeou.
"Taiwan remains.. a proof of the possibility of a Chinese democratic way, able to combine the tenets of liberal democracy with the immensity of the civilization of the Celestial Empire," University of Bhutan professor of Political Science Matteo Miele said
The Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, is officially recognized by only less than two dozen states and is regarded by Beijing as a "rebel province."