China ‘will continue to oppose Taiwan independence’ after Tsai Ing-wen’s election victory

Liu Zhen

China will oppose Taiwan independence resolutely while continuing to support the “one country, two systems” model, the senior official in charge of cross-strait affairs said on Sunday, a week after President Tsai Ing-wen’s landslide election victory.

Wang Yang, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, said Beijing would work to strengthen cross-strait ties but act against separatism, according to state news agency Xinhua.

“The situation across the Taiwan Strait will be more complex and grim,” he told officials from the Taiwan Affairs Office at their 2020 work meeting.

“We must uphold the one-China principle and resolutely oppose and contain Taiwan independence activities in any form.”

On Wednesday Tsai said the mainland needed to face the reality that the island was “an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China”.

Speaking after she defeated Han Kuo-yu from the mainland-friendly Kuomintang, securing a record 8.17 million votes, she also warned that invading Taiwan was something that would be “very costly for China”.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be returned to the mainland fold, by force if necessary.

Tsai Ing-wen says Beijing must face reality that Taiwan is ‘an independent country already’

Wang told Sunday’s meeting that Beijing still favoured “peaceful reunification” under the “one country, two systems” model, and said that more efforts would be taken to promote cross-strait exchanges, deepen integrated development and guarantee the well-being of the Taiwanese.

“We must take precise measures to improve the effect of those policies that benefit the Taiwanese people,” he said.

He continued that better conditions would be offered to entice young Taiwanese to study and work in mainland China.

Beijing repeated its opposition to Taiwanese independence. Photo: AP

In the past couple of years Beijing has unveiled a series of measures to give businesses and residents “equal status” with mainlanders in the hope of building ties among people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Wang also told the meeting Beijing’s policies have made “positive progress with laudable achievements” in the past year.

However, relations between the two governments have deteriorated sharply since Tsai was elected in 2016 and refused to accept the “1992 consensus” – that there is only one China, but the two sides may disagree about how to interpret that.

In January last year President Xi Jinping gave a speech to mark the 40th anniversary of Beijing’s call to end military confrontations between the two sides in which he urged Taiwan to adopt Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” model as the basis for talks on reunification.

But Tsai rebuffed the call, saying Taiwan would “never accept one country, two systems”.

Later in the year – following months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong – she used the slogan “Hong Kong today, Taiwan tomorrow” in her successful campaign for re-election.

Chinese Foreign Minister says opponents of Taiwan reunification ‘will stink for 10,000 years’

Taiwan and the mainland have been divided since 1949, when the Nationalist – or Kuomintang – forces fled to the island following their defeat in the civil war.

Since then relations across the strait have often been tense, despite occasional thaws.

Notably, state media’s coverage of Wang’s remarks on Sunday made no mention of the “1992 consensus” that Tsai has rejected.

Sign up now for our 50% early bird offer from SCMP Research: China AI Report. The all new SCMP China AI Report gives you exclusive first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments, and actionable and objective intelligence about China AI that you should be equipped with.

This article China ‘will continue to oppose Taiwan independence’ after Tsai Ing-wen’s election victory first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.