Taiwan president calls on China to engage in talks

By J.R. Wu | October 10, 2016 / Reuters

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday urged China to engage in talks, pledging to maintain peace with the island’s giant neighbor, amid a near five-month impasse after Beijing halted official communications with the self-ruled island.However, Tsai, in her first National Day speech, stopped short of conceding a crucial principle that Beijing has said is needed for talks to resume, that Taiwan is a part of China, also referred to between the two sides as the “1992 consensus”.

Tsai’s proponents have said she has been holding out olive branches to China, but also choosing her words carefully so as not to lose her key anti-China support base at home.

“The two sides of the Strait should sit down and talk as soon as possible,” Tsai said in her address, referring to the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the mainland.

The National Day address is used by presidents to lay out their position and outlook on relations with China.

“Anything can be included for discussion, as long as it is conducive to the development of cross-Strait peace and the welfare of people on both sides,” Tsai told foreign and domestic dignitaries in a speech broadcast live on television.

But China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the “1992 consensus” remained the touchstone by which it would engage with Taiwan and judge Tsai.

“Denying the ‘1992 consensus’, inciting confrontation across the Taiwan Strait and severing socioeconomic and cultural ties is an impassable, evil path,” it said. Read more…

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