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President calls for benign cross-strait relations

ROC Central News Agency

2016/12/31 15:59:22

Taipei, Dec. 31 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday urged both sides of the Taiwan Strait to maintain peaceful relations, vowing that the Republic of China (Taiwan) will continue to commit to having positive exchanges with China and extending goodwill but will not succumb to pressure and threats.

"Over the past few months, it's becoming a common feeling for Taiwanese people that a rational and calm position strenuously kept by both sides has been slightly changed," Tsai said when she and Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) briefed both local and international reporters about their work since assuming office on May 20 and the direction of their future administration.

"Beijing has, step by step, backed onto an old track to polarize, pressure and even threaten and intimidate (Taiwan)," said the president.

"We hope that this is not Bejing's adoption of a policy, and want to remind it that such moves have hurt Taiwanese people's feelings and affected stability across the Taiwan Strait," she said.

"To maintain regional peace and prosperity, we once again repeat that our promise and goodwill has not changed but we will not yield to pressure nor return to the old path of confrontation," according to Tsai.

As one example of recent action by China, Beijing and Sao Tome and Principe signed a communiqué to resume diplomatic relations earlier this month after the western African country terminated formal relations with the R.O.C. That leaves Taiwan with just 21 diplomatic allies.

Tsai reiterated that Taiwan hopes to continue to work with China next year to respond to the call for peace from people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

"Whether cross-strait relations take a different path next year depends on our patience, holding steady to our beliefs and how Beijing views the future of cross-strait relations. In other words, whether it is willing to accept responsibility and adopt new thinking and practices to jointly find a new method of interaction between Taiwan and China, and respond to the mutual desire of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and regional neighbors for peace and development," she said.

As long as Taiwan and China share a calm and rational mindset and allow a certain degree of flexibility, many problems could be resolved, she said.

"It is not impossible that there is room for a creative approach," she said.

Asked by reporters how her administration interprets the international view of the "One China" policy, which was the subject of heated debate after being discussed by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Tsai said there is no need to over react to other people's opinion.

Tsai said she made clear in her inauguration speech that "the Republic of China is a sovereign country and this has not changed."

There may be numerous ideas about handling cross-strait relations, which Tsai admits remains a challenge for the Taiwanese people, but she reminded everyone to "remember the shared consensus that we are a sovereign nation."

(By Chen Wei-ting and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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