President Tsai challenges Beijing by rejecting the principle “one country, two systems”

Taiwan is willing to dialogue with China but cannot accept the political principle “one country, two systems” wanted by Beijing, said Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen when she was sworn in for a second term. China “will never tolerate” a secession from Taiwan, Beijing immediately reacted.

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Are the relations between Taipei and Beijing reaching a historic turning point? This was strongly implied by the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, Wednesday May 20, during her inauguration speech.

“I want to reiterate the words ‘peace, parity, democracy and dialogue’. We will not accept that the authorities in Beijing use the principle ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and harm the cross-strait status quo”, a warned the Taiwanese leader, with reference to the principle which governed the restitution of Hong Kong and Macao to mainland China.

Re-elected in January with 8.2 million votes, an unprecedented score since the first presidential election in 1996, Ms. Tsai called on “the two sides to find a way to coexist in the long term”. Tensions with China and the challenge of Beijing’s sovereignty in Hong Kong were at the heart of the presidential election.

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Beijing ready to “defend national sovereignty”

China “will never tolerate” a secession from Taiwan, Beijing reacted after the speech by President Tsai Ing-wen. “We have unwavering determination, complete confidence and all the capabilities to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Taiwanese Affairs Bureau spokesman Ma Xiaoguang.

“We will never tolerate any secessionist action,” he said, according to remarks reported by the official news agency China New.

China intends to bring Taiwan into its fold, which it considers a renegade province, by making it accept the principle “one country, two systems” which governs its relations with Hong Kong. Beijing has stepped up military exercises near the island since Ms. Tsai’s re-election.

The Taiwanese president said on Wednesday that Taipei has made the greatest efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from China.

“We will continue these efforts, and we are ready to open dialogue with China and to contribute more to regional security,” she said.

With AFP and Reuters

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