On the 20th of May, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said that “cross-strait relations have reached a historical turning point” and “both sides have a duty to find a way to coexist over the long term and prevent the intensification of antagonism and differences” during her second term inaugural address.
Willing to “hold firm” to her principles, Tsai added that she is also willing to “adopt an open attitude to resolve issues”. She also said, “I also hope that the leader on the other side of the Strait will take on the same responsibility, and work with us to jointly stabilise the long-term development of cross-strait relations.”
Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in as Taiwan’s 15th president and William Lai Ching-te sworn in as vice president respectively yesterday. Tsai delivered her inaugural speech after the ceremony at Taipei Guest House.
The promises Tsai made during her first inaugural speech delivered in 2016 were reiterated by her and she said cross-strait affairs according to the Constitution of the Republic of China and the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area would be continue to be handled by her.
The “1992 Consensus” was not acknowledged by Tsai back in 2016 as she only expressed that she respected the historical fact of the 1992 meeting between Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and mainland China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and that both sides had different interpretations of the “one China” concept in the consensus.
Yesterday, Tsai did not mention anything relating to the 1992 Consensus.
During a press conference yesterday afternoon, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong refrained from commenting on Tsai’s stance, only commenting that “history has turned a new page, and there is no need to talk about it anymore”.
Tsai garnered 8.17 million votes at the presidential elections riding on a wave of anti-China sentiment in Taiwan in January 2020. Tsai delivered her inaugural speech with brimming with confidence due to the international community’s praise for Taiwan’s swift and effective efforts to combat and contain the Covid-19 virus.
A “Taiwanese community” was repeatedly mentioned by Tsai, thanking the citizens for upholding civic virtues like lining up in an orderly manner outside medical dispensaries during the initial stages of the outbreak.
President Tsai went on to thank the Taiwanese people for bearing with the inconvenience of being quarantined or isolated at home for the greater good of others during the Covid-19 pandemic. She said, “This sense of pride in our country, this community’s shared destiny, and the memories of these past months will live on in all of our hearts. This is what solidarity feels like.”
Taiwan’s plans for survival and development in the post-Covid-19 era was elaborated by Tsai, explaining that only those who “take advantage of opportunities in the complex world of tomorrow will be able to set themselves apart on the international stage”.
Taiwanese people were promised to be left “with a better country” by Tsai who also has plans to develop the local industrial segment, ensuring a high level of national security, a safe society, and deepening Taiwan’s stance on democracy.
Tsai also stated Taiwan has made the “greatest effort to maintain peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait over the past four years in regard to cross-straits relations.
The President is open to having more dialogues with China, and make further concrete contributions to maintain regional security. “Peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue” was reiterated as important by Tsai, as she will not “accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo”.
Tsai said that the first thing is to “accelerate the development of our asymmetrical capabilities” whenever conversing about national defence reforms.
She added, “While we work to bolster our defence capabilities, future combat capacity development will also emphasise mobility, countermeasures, and non-traditional asymmetrical capabilities.”
On the other hand, Beijing has clearly stated that Taiwan is a province of China. Any move for independence is likely to worsen Taipei’s poor relations with Beijing.
At the commencement of the Chinese parliament’s annual meeting today, Premier Li Keqiang, said in his opening speech that his country would “resolutely oppose and deter any separatist activities seeking Taiwan independence”.
Premier Li further added, “China will improve policies and measures to encourage exchanges and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait, and protect the well-being of Taiwan’s people. We will encourage them to join us in opposing Taiwan independence and promoting China’s reunification. With these efforts, we can surely create a beautiful future for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
However, many Taiwanese have stated that the Communist government did not rule Taiwan from the beginning, so a reunification is not in order.
China has started to increase its pressure on Taiwan by making its presence clearly felt through the holding of an increased number of “routine” military drills with its naval vessels and air force jets regularly encroaching Taiwanese waters.
22nd May 2020 15:30
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