|Tsai Ing-wen meets with Marcus D. Jadotte, Assistant U.S. Secretary of Commerce. (Video snapshot)|
Five days after inauguration, Taiwan’s new leader Tsai Ing-wen has already run into problems. On Wednesday, Tsai Ing-wen had a meeting with Marcus D. Jadotte, Assistant U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Awkwardly, Tsai could not find the right words at the beginning of the meeting. She tried to gather her thoughts about 10 seconds, and then eventually said in English, “I have problems saying that in the Chinese language. I’m sorry.” Tsai's behavior came as a shock to many and drew criticism as her stance on cross-Strait ties is closely watched.
Taiwanese media has claimed that Tsai is politically close to the West because of her overseas study experience. "She tried to forget the Chinese language in order to eliminate Chinese culture," a Taiwanese netizen mocked.
Though she may struggle with Chinese, Tsai has no problem propagandizing Taiwan’s intentions to participate in the second round negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). “We are looking forward to the United States publically supporting Taiwan in joining the second round of negotiations,” said Tsai.
File Photo: Taiwan’s new leader Tsai Ing-wen
Several days ago, Tsai claimed that Taiwan took no position on the issue of whether Okinotorishima is a rock or an island. Her declaration pleased the government of Japan while disappointing many people in Taiwan. A Kuomintang member of Taiwan’s legislative body criticized the stance, saying that it was a real humiliation for the Democratic Progressive Party to behave so obsequiously toward Japan right after coming into power. A Taiwanese author, Wong Chi-yin, called Tsai’s claim a “generous gesture” to open Taiwan’s gates to Japan, so that Taiwan could soon became a “happy colony” of Japan.
On the issue of cross-Strait relations, Tsai did not explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus, nor did she offer any concrete proposals to ensure the peaceful and stable growth of relations. Chinese mainland spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang urged Tsai on Wednesday to clarify her stance on cross-Strait ties.