Chi­nese of­fi­cial de­fends Tai­wan trip

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A TOP Shanghai of­fi­cial yes­ter­day de­fended his con­tro­ver­sial visit to Tai­wan as “open and trans­par­ent” as pro­test­ers burnt his photo and ac­cused him of pro­mot­ing the is­land’s uni­fi­ca­tion with China.

Sha Hailin, a stand­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber of the Com­mu­nist Party in the city and head of the United Front Work De­part­ment there, ar­rived in Taipei on Au­gust 22 for a fo­rum on mu­nic­i­pal ex­changes.

He is the high­est-level main­lan­der to visit since cross-strait ties wors­ened un­der Tai­wan’s new gov­ern­ment.

“Ex­pel Sha Hailin!” about 100 an­gry pro­test­ers shouted out­side a ho­tel where the fo­rum is tak­ing place, tear­ing down and burn­ing pho­tos of Mr Sha and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je.

Pro­test­ers had also ral­lied at an air­port and other lo­ca­tions Mr Sha vis­ited, shout­ing slo­gans against com­mu­nism and for in­de­pen­dence for Tai­wan.

“For my visit ... there is no ‘se­cret deal’ as some peo­ple claim. Ev­ery­thing is open and trans­par­ent,” Mr Sha said in re­sponse to the protests.

“The jour­ney for peace­ful devel­op­ment, mu­tual un­der­stand­ing, re­spect and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two sides will not be smooth sail­ing.”

Re­la­tions with China have grown in­creas­ing frosty since Tsai Ing-wen of the Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party won the is­land’s pres­i­dency in Jan­uary. Bei­jing is highly sus­pi­cious of Ms Tsai be­cause her party is tra­di­tion­ally pro-in­de­pen­dence and has warned her against any at­tempt at a for­mal break­away.

China’s Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice saidit had sus­pended of­fi­cial con­tacts with Taipei af­ter Ms Tsai’s gov­ern­ment,

which took of­fice in May, failed to ac­cept the “one China” prin­ci­ple as ex­pected.

Mr Sha re­it­er­ated that “one China” was the ba­sis for ma­jor progress in ties un­der Tai­wan’s pre­vi­ous Kuom­intang gov­ern­ment. He praised Mr Ko for “openly ex­press­ing his un­der­stand­ing and re­spect” of it. –

Photo: AFP

Pro-Tai­wan in­de­pen­dent ac­tivists burn pic­tures of vis­it­ing Sha Hailin, a top Chi­nese of­fi­cial, out­side the 2016 Taipei-Shanghai Fo­rum venue dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony in Taipei yes­ter­day.

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