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Taiwan to re-evaluate cross-strait situation after Panama severs ties

ROC Central News Agency

2017/06/13 21:05:42

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) Although Taiwan's government has consistently expressed goodwill in the development of bilateral relations with Beijing, government agencies will now re-evaluate the cross-strait situation after cutting ties with Panama on Tuesday, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said.

Huang made the comment when briefing the media after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called a press conference to respond to Panama's announcement earlier in the day that it was switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

Earlier on Tuesday, Panama's Vice President Isabel Saint Malo signed a joint communiqué with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) in Beijing, formally establishing diplomatic relations, in which Panama stressed it would not maintain any official ties with Taiwan.

Panama also agreed to recognize that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of it.

Tsai's move came after Presidential Office Secretary General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) responded to Panama's decision at a press conference.

Describing Beijing's action as a "mistake" that hurts the cross-strait status quo and pushes cross-strait ties from peace toward confrontation, the Presidential Office statement said the government now plans to re-evaluate the cross-strait situation.

When asked whether the statement means Taiwan and China will return to a confrontational relationship, Huang said that since the new government took office in May 2016, it has consistently sought peaceful and stable cross-strait ties and regional security on the basis of goodwill, adding that Taiwan has made every effort to avoid confrontation.

Discussing the ruling Democratic Progressive Party government's China policy, Huang said that the government has displayed the utmost goodwill toward Beijing. It has also consistently called on the Chinese government not to set any preconditions for healthy exchanges and the stable development of bilateral relations, so the two governments can jointly shoulder the responsibility of maintaining regional peace.

In such a situation, the Chinese government also needs to take responsibility, Huang added.

Asked whether Taiwan will change its stance on extending goodwill toward China, Huang said that as an active member of the international community, Taiwan's international responsibility is helping maintain regional peace and stability and cross-strait peace and security.

However, under this principle the government should certainly do everything in its power to protect its territory, Huang said, adding that relevant government agencies will therefore re-evaluate the current cross-strait situation.

(By Claudia Liu and Evelyn Kao)

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