President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that her cross-strait policy would remain unchanged, despite the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) losses in the nine-in-one elections last Saturday, adding that Taiwanese did not vote on cross-strait relations, nor has there been a shift in their general expectation for the future of ties.
Tsai made the remarks when receiving a delegation from the New York-based National Committee on American Foreign Policy at the Presidential Office in Taipei, where she congratulated former US ambassador to Tajikistan Susan Elliott on assuming the presidency of the committee in August.
“Your visit came on the heels of the conclusion of our nine-in-one local elections. I believe you have listened to different opinions about the races, which showed that the people have accumulated discontent over some domestic affairs and reform efforts,” Tsai said.
The president said that her administration has engaged in profound post-election reflection in the hope of ensuring that its reform plans and national development projects could receive more public support moving forward.
“However, it is our belief that the people of Taiwan did not make a choice on the issue of cross-strait policy in the local elections, nor is there a major change [in their expectation for the future of cross-strait ties],” Tsai said.
“As such, our policy to maintain the cross-strait ‘status quo’ will remain unchanged after the elections,” she said.
One day after the elections, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) interpreted the results of the elections — in which the China-leaning Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took control of 15 of the 22 cities and counties — as “an indicator that most people in Taiwan hope to continue enjoying the benefits that the peaceful development of cross-strait relations could bring.”
Amid concerns that the 15 KMT-governed local governments could team up and monopolize cross-strait exchanges to further isolate the DPP government, Tsai said that her stance on cross-strait city-to-city exchanges has always been the same, which is to look at them with an open and positive attitude.
“That said, we hope that there will be no political prerequisites to these city-to-city exchanges. Let exchanges be purely just that and free of the interference of political prerequisites,” Tsai said.
Even though the DPP’s performance in the elections was disappointing, democratic elections remain Taiwan’s most valuable asset, one that sets the nation apart from China, she said.
Taiwan would continue to safeguard the values of freedom and democracy in collaboration with other like-minded nations, she added.
Later yesterday, delegation members met with KMT Chairman Wu Den-yi (吳敦義), who said that the best tactic for Taiwan would be to make peace with China, be friendly toward Japan, and be close to the US and other democratic nations.
“In the future, we will still endeavor to maintain peaceful development of [cross-strait] ties under the premise of the ‘1992 consensus’ and ‘one China, different interpretations,’” Wu said, adding that the US is Taiwan’s most important partner and that he believed Taiwan-US relations would remain strong regardless of which party is in power.
The so-called “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the