China warns against Tai­wan in­de­pen­dence

Lesotho Times - - International -

BEI­JING — Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party chief Xi Jin­ping warned on Mon­day against Tai­wan be­ing seen as a coun­try as he met the head of the is­land’s rul­ing party, the first such en­counter in seven years.

Mr Xi, who is also na­tional pres­i­dent, wel­comed Kuom­intang (KMT) party head Eric Chu, the of­fi­cial Mr Xin­hua news agency re­ported. Pho­tos showed them smil­ing and shak­ing hands at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple.

The two par­ties fought a civil war that ended in 1949 with Tai­wan split­ting from the main­land.

But both sides stress there is a sin­gle China, a key con­cept for Bei­jing, which is con­stantly wary of the po­ten­tial for Tai­wan even­tu­ally to go its own way and de­clare in­de­pen­dence.

Mr Xi urged against any se­man­tic ero­sions such as “one coun­try on each side” and “one China, one Tai­wan,” Xin­hua said.

Bei­jing still re­gards the is­land as a prov­ince await­ing re­uni­fi­ca­tion, and has never ruled out the use of force to achieve it.

But re­la­tions have been im­prov­ing since Chu’s party — which has a non-con­fronta­tional stance to­wards the main­land — re­turned to power in Taipei in 2008. Mr Xi said Tai­wan would re­ceive “pri­or­ity” on the main­land but did not pro­vide de­tails.

“Our ef­forts to open up to Tai­wan com­pa­tri­ots will be big­ger,” he said.

“The two sides can con­sult with each other on (an) equal ba­sis un­der the prin­ci­ple of One China, and reach a rea­son­able ar­range­ment,” Mr Xi added.

Xin­hua quoted Chu as af­firm­ing that both Tai­wan and the main­land were Chi­nese, and said he hopes that co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two sides would help or­di­nary peo­ple such as the young and small busi­ness­men.

Be­trayal Cross-strait ten­sions mounted dur­ing the 2000-2008 pres­i­dency of the Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party’s ( DPP) Chen Shui Shui-bian,bian, who es­poused pro-in­de­pen­denceep­en­dence views anath­ema to Bei­jing. ing.

Dur­ing that pe­riod Lien Chan in 2005 made the first trip to the main­land by a KMT head since 1949.

The land­mark visit hel­pedelped pave the way for re­la­tions too warm af­ter the KMT’S Ma Ying-jeou-Jeou was elected in 2008.

The same year KMT chair­man Wu Po-hsi­ungng vis­ited the main­land, thehe last holder of the post to do so.

In June 2010 the two sides signed a trade pact known as the Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Frame­work Agree­ment, widely seen as the bold­est step yet to­wards rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Mr Ma was re-elected in 2012 but public sen­ti­ment in Tai­wan has since turned against cosy­ing up too snugly with Bei­jing, with vot­ers say­ing trade deals have been agreed in se­cret and not ben­e­fited or­di­nary cit­i­zens.

In March last year, around 200 stu­dents oc­cu­pied Tai­wan’s par­lia­ment for more than three weeks to demon­strate against a con­tro­ver­sial ser­vices trade pact, while thou­sands ral­lied in sup­port of what be­came known as the “Sun­flower Move­ment”.

The KMT suf­fered its worstever show­ing in lo­cal polls in Novem­ber — seen as a barom­e­ter for pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in 2016 — and Ma even­tu­ally stepped down as party chief to be re­placed by Chu.

In Tai­wan a group of about 30 mem­bers of the rad­i­cal anti-china op­po­si­tion Tai­wan Sol­i­dar­ity Union (TSU) ral­lied out­side KMT head­quar­ters in cen­tral Taipei to crit­i­cise Chu’s visit.

“While in China, Chu be­trays Tai­wan and its sovereignty,” said TSU of­fi­cial Tsai Feng-wen. TSU of­fi­cial Chang Chao-lin said the meet­ing with Mr Xi was part of Bei­jing’s strat­egy to bring the is­land into China’s fold.

The meet­ing comes in the wake of Taipei’s ap­pli­ca­tion to join the China-led Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank be­ing re­jected, with Bei­jing say­ing the is­land could join later un­der an “ap­pro­pri­ate name”.

Tai­wan’s of­fi­cial name is the Repub­lic of China, but the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee refers to it as “Chi­nese Taipei”, and at the Asian Devel­op­ment Bank it is known as “Taipei, China”.

Mr Xi was up­beat on Tai­wan’s de­sire to par­tic­i­pate.

“We wel­come Tai­wan’s will­ing­ness to join the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank,” he said.


Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping

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