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New Taiwan prez omits ‘one-China’ principle in first speech

Tsai said in her speech that she respected the "joint acknowledgements and understandings" reached between the sides at a landmark 1992 meeting seen by China as underpinning all subsequent contacts and agreements.

However, Tsai made no explicit mention of the concept that Taiwan is a part of China. Beijing claims the self-governing island as its own territory and says failing to endorse the one-China principle would destabilize relations.

In Beijing, the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement noting Tsai's reference to the 1992 meeting, but saying she had taken an "ambiguous stance" over the nature of the relationship between the sides.

Her failure to explicitly endorse what China calls the "'92 consensus" embodying the principle of one-China, or to offer a "specific proposal to ensure the peaceful and stable development of relations between the sides" had left the question unanswered, the office said.

The statement, issued about five hours after Tsai's speech, also reaffirmed China's rigid opposition to Taiwan's formal independence, stating that: "Today, our determination to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity is unshaken, our capability is strengthened and we will resolutely contain any 'Taiwan independence' separatist acts or plots in whatever form they take." 

In her address, Tsai called for Taipei and Beijing to "set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides." 

She said her administration would "work to maintain peace and stability" in relations between the sides. However, she added that Taiwan's democratic system and the will of its 23 million people must be respected in the course of cross-strait dialogue.

The Nationalist Party government of Tsai's predecessor Ma Ying-jeou had repeatedly endorsed the one-China principle and the "'92 consensus" and reached a series of economic and civil agreements between the sides.

China warns tsai on independence
As China’s strongest critic Tsai Ing-wen assumed power in Taiwan on Friday pledging democracy and close ties with the US, a wary Beijing warned her against seeking independence and said the ‘One-China policy’ remained the corner stone of its relations with other countries.

With tensions rising in the South China Sea, Beijing is keen for Taiwan to be its ally rather than be aligned with rival claimants to the disputed islets in the sea. Commenting on Tsai’s swearing in, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chun Ying said, “I want emphasis that ‘One China policy’ is widely recognised by the world and one-china principle is important corner stone and prerequisite for China to develop relations with other countries. What ever political changes Taiwan may go through, the Chinese government will remain unchanged in sticking to the One-China principle and oppose the Taiwan independence or one China or one Taiwan,” Hua said.

While refraining from any critical remarks against Tsai, Hua reacted guardedly to her remarks to raise the profile of Taiwan by improving trade ties with democratic countries like the US and Japan, which Beijing considers as rivals.

“With regard to foreign relations between Taiwan and other countries the one-China policy is a prerequisite and basis for relations China and other counties,” she said.
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