On Friday Taiwan’s democratic island vowed, as China said, to defend its sovereignty by increasing exchanges with the objective of involving the nation of 23 million people – most of whom do not wish to be governed by Beijing – in its ‘National Rejuvenation’ plan.
“In our working with Taiwan we must respect our key policies,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the annual National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing.
Li said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which never ruled Taiwan, would ‘resolutely curb separatism,’ promote cross-stract exchanges and collaboration and integrated development and collaborate to create a bright future for national rejuvenation.’
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) was perfectly happy with the status quo.
“We have always fostered peace and stability throughout the Taiwan Strait, and are continuing to strongly defend national sovereignty and Taiwan’s freedom and democracy,” Chiu Chui-cheng, MAC spokesman, told journalists following Li’s comments.
“[We] will continue during the annual NPC session to pay attention to the remarks and actions related to Taiwan,” he said.
Chiu said Taiwan would accept talks only in a mutually respectful manner with Beijing. Beijing refuses to recognise Taiwan as a sovereign entity and insists that its government be referred to as “locals.”
The DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-administration wen’s “respects the Taiwanese people’s opposition to the dwarfs of Taiwan and their continuously negative pressure from the CCP’s United Front.”
“Solving differences gradually through communication will indeed safeguard people’s rights and interests on both sides of the strait,” said Chiu.
Wang Chih-sheng, Taiwan’s Secretary General of Chinese Elite Leadership Association, said Li’s comments on Taiwan showed Beijing’s policy did not change, although its language may have been slightly relaxed by the warlike rhetoric used during last year’s presidential election campaign.
“Last year, more emphasis was placed on independence campaigning when its entire policy in Taiwan seemed to hamper,” said Wang, adding that Li used the adjective ‘peaceful’ once more in connection with Taiwan.