Taiwan president rejects Beijing rule but China says ‘reunification’ inevitable

Taiwan president rejects Beijing rule but China says ‘reunification’ inevitable
Above, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen attends the inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei on May 20, 2020. (Taiwan Presidential Office via Reuters)
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Updated 20 May 2020

Taiwan president rejects Beijing rule but China says ‘reunification’ inevitable

Taiwan president rejects Beijing rule but China says ‘reunification’ inevitable
  • ‘We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo’

TAIPEI: Taiwan cannot accept becoming part of China under its “one country, two systems” offer of autonomy , President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday, strongly rejecting China’s sovereignty claims and likely setting the stage for an ever worsening of ties.
China responded that “reunification” was inevitable and that it would never tolerate Taiwan’s independence.
In a speech after being sworn in for her second and final term in office, Tsai said relations between Taiwan and China had reached a historical turning point.
“Both sides have a duty to find a way to coexist over the long term and prevent the intensification of antagonism and differences,” she said.
Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party won January’s presidential and parliamentary elections by a landslide, vowing to stand up to China, which claims Taiwan as its own and says it would be brought under Beijing’s control by force if needed.
“Here, I want to reiterate the words ‘peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue’. We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo. We stand fast by this principle,” Tsai said.
China uses the “one country, two systems” policy, which is supposed to guarantee a high degree of autonomy, to run the former British colony of Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997. It has offered it to Taiwan, though all major Taiwanese parties have rejected it.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, responding to Tsai, said Beijing would stick to “one country, two systems” — a central tenet of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Taiwan policy — and “not leave any space for Taiwan independence separatist activities.”
“Reunification is a historical inevitability of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” it said. “We have the firm will, full confidence, and sufficient ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
China views Tsai as a separatist bent on formal independence for Taiwan. Tsai says Taiwan is an independent state called the Republic of China, its official name, and does not want to be part of the People’s Republic of China governed by Beijing.
China has stepped up its military drills near Taiwan since Tsai’s re-election, flying fighter jets into the island’s air space and sailing warships around Taiwan.
Tsai said Taiwan has made the greatest effort to maintain peace and stability in the narrow Taiwan Strait that separates the democratic island from its autocratic neighbor China.
“We will continue these efforts, and we are willing to engage in dialogue with China and make more concrete contributions to regional security,” she added, speaking in the garden of the old Japanese governor’s house in Taipei, in front of a socially-distanced audience of officials and diplomats.
Tsai said that Taiwan will continue its fight to participate in international organizations, and “bolster ties with the United States, Japan, Europe, and other like-minded countries.”
Taiwan has accused China of exerting pressure to keep Taiwan out of the World Health Organization (WHO). China says Taiwan is a Chinese province with no right to the trappings of a state.
The Trump administration has strongly backed Taiwan with arms sales and diplomatic support, even though the United States recognizes only China’s government, becoming another source of already deep tension between Washington and Beijing.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations to Tsai on Tuesday, praising her “courage and vision in leading Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” in a rare high-level message from Washington direct to Taiwan’s government.
China cut off a formal talks mechanism with Taiwan in 2016 after Tsai first won election.
Yao Chia-wen, a senior adviser to Tsai, told Reuters the chance of talks with China was not likely given ongoing tensions.
“We are ready to engage with them any time, but China is unlikely to make concessions to Taiwan,” he said. “In the next four years there’s little chance for the cross-strait relationship to improve.”


Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 16 January 2021

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.