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Taiwan rejects China’s offer to unify with mainland under Hong Kong model

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, taken on November 19, 2019, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen (C) is seen after registering as a presidential candidate outside the central elections committee in Taipei. (By AFP)

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen has rejected China’s offer to use the “one country, two systems” model in order to unify the self-ruled island with mainland China, claiming that that political arrangement has failed in Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong people have showed us that ‘one country, two systems’ is definitely not feasible,” Tsai said in a New Year speech on Wednesday.

“Under ‘one country, two systems,’ the situation continues to deteriorate in Hong Kong. The credibility of ‘one country, two systems’ has been sullied by the government’s abuse of power,” she claimed.

Hong Kong has been governed under the “one-country, two-system” model since the city, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997.

Since June, Hong Kong has been beset by unrest over a contentious extradition bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspects to mainland courts for trial. The bill has since been fully withdrawn, but the protests have continued, although they have lost much of their steam.

Tsai further vowed to defend what she called Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Her speech came ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on January 11, in which she seeks a second term.

On Tuesday, Taiwan passed a bill to combat what it claims as Chinese efforts to influence politics in the island, further straining ties between Beijing and Taipei.  

China says Taiwan’s ruling party has been using such law revisions to incite hostility and restrict normal exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.

China is Taiwan’s favorite investment destination, with Taiwanese firms having invested over 100 billion dollars there in total, according to private estimates.

Beijing’s relations with Taipei have particularly been strained since Tsai came to power in 2016. She has strong anti-China inclinations and refuses to acknowledge that both sides are part of “one China.”

China considers the self-ruled island part of its territory under the globally-recognized “One China” policy. The policy refers to the diplomatic acknowledgement that there is only one state called China, despite the existence of two governments, one in China and another on the island of Taiwan.

Almost all world countries recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

China has pursued reunification with Taiwan ever since the island broke away from the mainland during a civil war in 1949.

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