Taiwan criticizes China statement as detrimental to cross-strait ties

Taiwan describes a statement issued by the Chinese government urging the United States to block transit stops by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during a reported trip to three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in Central America next month as an overreaction that is not conducive to the development of cross-strait relations.

Taiwanese media has reported that Tsai — who doubles as chairwoman of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party — plans to visit Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador in January. As part of the trip she will attend the inauguration of the Nicaraguan president and make stopovers in the United States. There has also been speculation that she could meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

In response, China has urged the U.S. not to let her transit there, according to a Reuters report.

In a statement sent to Reuters addressing the possibility of a Tsai stopover in the U.S., China’s Foreign Ministry said the “one China” principle, which states Taiwan is part of China, was commonly recognized by the international community, the report said.

China hopes the U.S. “does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Asked to comment on China’s reported remarks, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that it is equally important for Taiwan to maintain good ties with the U.S. and China, which is not only in the interests of all parties concerned but also the key to peace and stability in the region.

“Such overreaction is unnecessary and is also not conducive to the normal development of cross-strait relations,” Huang said.

The Presidential Office said on Monday that it was nothing more than “media speculation” that Tsai would meet with Trump and his team in New York.

For any state visit by the president or the vice president, a public announcement will be made once the details are finalized, the office said.

The reports of Tsai’s overseas visit in January came days after Trump angered Beijing by accepting a congratulatory phone call from Tsai last Friday in a break with decades of precedent. The call was the first interaction of its kind since the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in January 1979.

In the Reuters report, Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales confirmed that Tsai is due to visit the Central American country on Jan. 11-12.

El Salvador’s government said it was working with Taiwan on plans for a visit by Tsai in the second week of January, the report said, adding that the government of Nicaragua had no immediate comment.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is scheduled to be sworn in for a third consecutive term on Jan. 10.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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