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Beijing warns Taipei after Tsai discussed 'independence' in interviews

(Global Times)    09:17, October 09, 2016

The Chinese mainland's will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity remains rock solid, a mainland spokesman said Thursday, after Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen spoke with foreign media.

Experts believe the interviews were an attempt to seek support from the US and Japan.

Adhering to the 1992 Consensus, which stresses the one-China principle, is not negotiable, said An Fengshan, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, commenting on Tsai's latest remarks to The Wall Street Journal.

An stressed that the mainland and Taiwan belong to the same China, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"Our position is steadfast on opposing any 'Taiwan-independence' activities. Any forces and any people should not underestimate the resolution of more than 1.3 billion people on the mainland," the spokesman said.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Tsai said Taiwan is "a sovereign, independent country."

She pledged to avoid confrontation with the mainland, saying that both sides should sit down to eliminate misunderstanding, without any preconditions.

"I also hope that [the Chinese mainland] does not misinterpret or misjudge the current situation, or think that it can make Taiwanese bow to pressure … No administration in Taiwan is able to make any decision that goes against the opinion of the people," the female leader said.

Separately, Tsai expressed hope in an interview with Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun on Thursday that the Chinese mainland will display more wisdom in resolving its differences with Taiwan, the Taiwan-based Central News Agency reported on Friday.

She called for Beijing to put to one side "the baggage of history" and resolve cross-Straits differences through constructive communication and interaction without preconditions.

In the interviews, Tsai vowed to avoid conflicts while stating that Taiwan is a sovereign country. The seemingly contradictory remarks shed a light on her less aggressive approach toward independence, Liu Xiangping, deputy head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Nanjing University, told the Global Times on Friday.

However, the eclectic stance cannot mask her real intention to advocate for independence, an approach which did not work out well on the island during the "presidency" of former leader Chen Shui-bian, Liu said.

"All secessionist attempts to seek 'Taiwan independence' are doomed to failure," Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said late September after Tsai delivered an open letter to members of her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in which she urged resistance to pressure exerted by the mainland, according to Xinhua.

Echoing Liu, Jin Yi, an expert at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "Her increasingly hard-line comments are a response to requests of the pro-independence group within the DPP, since the group has gained more say in her decision-making."

Her frequent interviews with Japan and US media aimed to "pour out grievances" and seek more support from the two countries, Jin told the Global Times on Friday.

As Tsai was disappointed with Japan and the US for failing to help Taiwan attend an assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN aviation agency, her subtext in recent interviews is that "the two countries should help Taiwan, otherwise they will embolden the Chinese mainland," Jin said.

The ICAO said arrangements for its assembly, scheduled for September 27 to Friday in Montreal, did not follow the pattern ahead of a meeting in 2013, when China had asked for Taiwan to be invited, Reuters reported.

"ICAO follows the UN's 'one-China' policy," the agency's communications chief Anthony Philbin said.

If Tsai persists in further promoting "Taiwan independence," the mainland will take economic countermeasures, which are expected to deliver heavy blows to the already difficult economy on the island, and military preparation, Jin noted.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Yuan Can, Bianji)

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