New Taiwan president pledges peace, urges China to drop historical baggage


Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (L) receives an official seal after swearing in at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Taipei Photojournalists Association/Pool

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (L) receives an official seal after swearing in at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Taipei Photojournalists Association/Pool

Taiwan’s new president urged China on Friday to “drop the baggage of history” in an otherwise conciliatory inauguration speech that Beijing’s Communist Party rulers had been watching for any move towards independence.

President Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in with Taiwan’s export-driven economy on the ropes and China, which views the self-ruled island as its own, looking across the Taiwan Strait for anti-Beijing sentiment that could further sour economic ties.

Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has traditionally favored independence, won parliamentary and presidential elections by a landslide in January on a voter backlash against creeping dependence on China. It takes over after eight years under China-friendly Nationalist Ma Ying-jeou.

Taiwan’s new president urged China on Friday to “drop the baggage of history” in an otherwise conciliatory inauguration speech that Beijing’s Communist Party rulers had been watching for any move towards independence.

President Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in with Taiwan’s export-driven economy on the ropes and China, which views the self-ruled island as its own, looking across the Taiwan Strait for anti-Beijing sentiment that could further sour economic ties.

Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has traditionally favored independence, won parliamentary and presidential elections by a landslide in January on a voter backlash against creeping dependence on China. It takes over after eight years under China-friendly Nationalist Ma Ying-jeou.

Tsai, Taiwan’s first woman president, said Taiwan would play a responsible role and be a “staunch guardian of peace” with China.

“Cross-Strait relations have become an integral part of building regional peace and collective security,” she told thousands outside the presidential office.

“The two governing parties across the Strait must set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue for the benefit of the people on both sides.”

China, which has never renounced force to take control of what it considers a renegade province, said this month the new Taiwan government would be to blame for any crisis that might erupt.

Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war to the Communists in China in 1949. China has pressured the new government to stick to the “one China” principle agreed with the Nationalists. That allows each side to interpret what “one China” means.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Tsai’s remarks were an “incomplete answer”, warning that China saw any push for Taiwan independence as “the biggest menace to peace across the Taiwan Strait”, according to the official Xinhua news agency

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, asked about the inauguration, merely praised the record of the “one China” policy.

“Regardless of what internal changes take place within Taiwan, China will uphold the one China principle and oppose Taiwanese independence,” she told a briefing.

LET’S SET ASIDE DISPUTES”

In a sign of a deteriorating economy, Taiwan’s export orders fell more than expected in April, their 13th straight month of decline, according to data released on Friday, as demand in China and other global markets remained weak.

Taiwan markets reacted calmly to Tsai’s speech. The main stock index reached an intraday high as she spoke, before closing 0.4 percent higher.

Tsai pledged to abide by the constitution of the Republic of China, Taiwan’s formal name, and promised to safeguard the island’s sovereignty and territory.

She also mentioned the East China and South China Seas, where an increasingly muscular China has been at odds over territorial claims with its neighbors.

“Regarding problems arising in the East China Sea and South China Sea, we propose setting aside disputes so as to enable joint development,” she said.

The American Institute in Taiwan, which represents U.S. interests in the island in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, said it looked forward to working with the new government.

The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979 but is also Taiwan’s biggest ally and arms supplier.

China is deeply distrustful of Tsai’s DPP, whose charter includes a clause promoting “a sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan”.

Voted in by a Taiwanese public equally distrustful of growing economic dependence on China, the DPP also champions Taiwan’s own history. There were massive protests in 2014 that stalled a trade pact with China and were a key element of the DPP’s rise.

(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in WASHINGTON and Megha Rajagopalan in BEIJING; Editing by Paul Tait and Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “New Taiwan president pledges peace, urges China to drop historical baggage”

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3 Comments on “New Taiwan president pledges peace, urges China to drop historical baggage”

  1. Sentinel says:

    DECLAING INDEPENDENCE IN ANOTHER WORD

    “Historical baggage”? Sounds more like an insult than anything. In fact, she is saying indirectly, “Forget reunification. We are free. We are independent. We like it as it is. No change. Get use to it”.

    Well, if that isn’t a declaration of independence, I am a monkey’s uncle!

    Like

  2. Steve says:

    In a deck of unwanted cards, she is the black queen of hearts. The only baggage needed to be dropped is the sovereignty and independence of Taiwan. Tsai’s speech is vague and obscured with no desire for unification. Former President Ma is the best Taiwan leader in at least two decades, but the citizens are not ready to accept his vision for eventual unification. If she was voted in purely by the Taiwanese distrust of their economic dependence on China, then I have to say that Taiwanese are ignorant and arrogant. Taiwan is no longer self dependent, in fact nations are dependent on China’s economic powerhouse. China holds the prosperity cards of Taiwan. China will have a tough decision on Taiwan regarding unification. Tsai is not supporting China’s stance on the ECS and SCS, instead she proposes setting aside disputes for joint development. China should not encourage joint development because it will embolden the province self rulership and pro independence. As it is, Taiwan will have an economic rot.

    Like

  3. Simon says:

    She recieves a Chinese seal of office and sworn her allegiance under the portrait of former Chinese leader Sun Yat Sen and a old Chinese flag.

    Like


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