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Taiwan says peace ‘only option’ to settle political differences with China

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a "National Day" event in Taipei on October 10, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), says the self-ruled island considers peace as the “only option” to settle political differences with China, which views the island as part of its territory.

Secessionist Tsai, who will leave office in May next year, said during her speech at Taiwan’s “National Day” on Tuesday that the island seeks “peaceful coexistence” with China. She strongly asserted Taipei’s military might against what she called Beijing’s threats to invade.

“Let me reiterate that peace is the only option across the Taiwan Strait. Maintaining the status quo, as the largest common denominator for all sides, is the critical key to ensuring peace.”

“Neither side can unilaterally change the status quo. Differences across the strait must be resolved peacefully.”

China has sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries, including the United States, recognize that sovereignty. However, the US, which has long courted Taipei in an attempt to unnerve Beijing, infuriates China by selling weapons to the self-governed island in violation of its own official policy.

Taiwan’s military purchases from Washington have come under growing military and political pressure from Beijing, including two major sets of Chinese military exercises in the vicinity of the island since August 2022, heightening fears of a conflict which would have global ramifications.

“Since this is a time we can now face the world with confidence and resolve, we can also be calm and self-assured in facing China, creating conditions for peaceful coexistence and future developments across the Taiwan Strait,” Tsai said.

China describes Taiwan as the most sensitive and significant issue in its relations with the US, and the topic remains a constant source of friction between Beijing and Washington.

Beijing has time and again said it will use force, if necessary, to add Taiwan to China’s mainland. President Xi Jinping, in an address to the 20th Communist Party Congress in October 2022, made the same warning.

The Chinese leader said at the time that mainland China would continue to seek peaceful unification with the “greatest sincerity and the utmost effort” but would “absolutely never promise to renounce the use of force” and “reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.”

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