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Politics Monitor

Taiwan’s president says ready to work with China

Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te said on Sunday he was ready to work with China to achieve “mutual understanding” and “reconciliation”, two days after the end of Chinese military maneuvers around Taiwan.

During an event organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), his political party, Mr. Lai argued that his inauguration speech delivered on Monday recalled that “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are necessary elements to global security and prosperity. In this speech, “I also called on China to jointly shoulder the important responsibility for regional stability with Taiwan,” he continued.

“I also look forward to strengthening mutual understanding and reconciliation through exchanges and cooperation with China… and moving towards a position of common peace and prosperity,” Mr. Lai. “Any country making waves in the Taiwan Strait and harming regional stability will not be accepted by the international community.”

Mr. Lai was inaugurated Monday as president of Taiwan, under the watchful eye of Beijing which considers the island as one of its provinces, which it has not yet succeeded in reunifying with its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war and the coming to power of the communists on the continent in 1949.

China was thus offended by the inauguration speech of the new Taiwanese president. Lai Ching-te notably indicated that “the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (mainland China led by the Communist Party) are not subordinate to each other.” Comments deemed separatist by Beijing.

To demonstrate its opposition to these comments, which it considers separatist, China carried out military maneuvers around Taiwan for 48 hours on Thursday and Friday. This “Joint Sword-2024A” exercise aimed to send a signal of disapproval to the authorities of the island territory claimed by Beijing.

On Sunday morning, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had detected seven Chinese aircraft, 14 combat ships and four Chinese coast guard vessels “around” Taiwan in the past 24 hours.

Sunday evening, the American representation in Taiwan announced that Michael McCaul, Republican Congressman, would lead a visiting delegation to the island from Sunday to Thursday, “to discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and of investment”. A Taiwanese presidential spokesperson, Wen Lii, said the delegation would meet Lai on Monday. The visit “is an expression of support for the new administration and the people of Taiwan through concrete actions,” he said.

Since 2016, China has increased its military and political pressure on Taiwan. And its military ships, drones and combat aircraft maintain an almost daily presence around the island.

This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com

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