China on Friday warned Taiwan’s new President Tsai Ing-wen against seeking independence soon after she made her inaugural speech, in which she spoke of maintaining stable relations but left out any reference to consensus on the “one China” policy.
Taiwan is perceived as a “breakaway province” by China, which believes reunification is inevitable and a task that is left over.
In her speech soon after taking oath as Taiwan’s first woman president, Tsai said her administration will work to “maintain existing mechanisms for dialogue and communication across the Taiwan Straits”.
She did not mention the “1992 consensus”, a reference to a meeting held that year when leaders from the two countries decided to maintain the “one China” policy without clearly defining parameters.
She mentioned the 1992 meeting without using the word “consensus”, saying the two sides had reached “various joint acknowledgments and understandings”.
Tsai, who heads the Democratic Progressive Party that is considered to be at least nominally against reunification, also referred to trade ties and said her administration will attempt to move away from over dependence on one economy.
The Chinese government was quick to react to her speech.
“Taiwan independence remains the biggest menace to peace across the Taiwan Straits and the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations,” said a statement issued by Beijing.
“Should ’Taiwan independence‘ be attempted, there would be no peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits,“ it warned. “We will resolutely forestall any separatist action or attempt for 'Taiwan independence' of any form.”
The Chinese mainland's Taiwan affairs authority described Tsai’s remarks on relations across the Taiwan Straits as “an incomplete answer sheet”.
Tsai “was ambiguous on the fundamental issue of the nature of cross-Straits relations, an issue that is of utmost concern to people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits,” the authority said in the statement.
“There was no explicit recognition of the 1992 Consensus and its core implications, and no proposal of concrete ways to ensure the peaceful and stable development of cross-Straits relations,” it added.