Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (C) bows before her speech during National Day celebrations in Taipei on October 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Taiwan’s new president has called on China to recognize her government, saying the two sides need to resume talks as soon as possible amid tensions in their relations.
President Tsai Ing-wen said on Monday that Beijing and Taipei should “set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue,” in which she said “anything” could be up for discussion.
China should “face up to the reality” of the Taiwanese government’s existence and of the island’s democracy, she added in her National Day address.
Tsai, who is known as a Beijing-skeptic politician, further stressed that she did not want Taiwan and China to go down “the old path of confrontation,” but said her government would not “bow to pressure” from Beijing.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, wants the new president to endorse its formulation that the two are part of “One China.”
Under an agreement reached in 1992 between Beijing and Taipei, both sides acknowledged the existence of a single Chinese nation, which is comprised of both Taiwan and the mainland.
Tsai, who was elected in January, has neither endorsed nor repudiated the one-nation concept.
A spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office reaffirmed on Thursday that Beijing would oppose any steps toward Taiwanese independence.
The two have had no formal cross-strait diplomatic relations since they divided politically, following the end of Chinese Civil War after 23 years in 1950.
Ties, however, improved between them under the government of former president Ma Ying-jeou, who embraced the One-China concept.
China and Taiwan are physically separated by the Taiwan Strait in the Western Pacific Ocean.