Taiwan wants a ‘new era’ of peace, Tsai tells pope

By J.R. Wu  /  Reuters

Sat, Jan 21, 2017 - Page 3

Taiwan aspires to create a “new era” of peace with China, as military action cannot resolve problems, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a letter to Pope Francis, lauding Taipei’s peaceful intentions at a time of tension with Beijing.

In her Jan. 5 letter to the pope, released by the Presidential Office yesterday, Tsai said upholding peace across the Taiwan Strait needs goodwill and communication.

“Based on many years of experience in cross-strait negotiations during my political career, I am convinced that military action cannot resolve problems,” Tsai said.

“Taiwan and mainland China were once embroiled in a zero-sum conflict that caused tension in the region and anxiety among our peoples. In contrast, today people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait enjoy stable lives and normal exchanges under peaceful separate governance,” she said.

Tsai said that Taiwan was committed to maintaining its democracy and the “status quo” of peace, but would not bow to pressure.

“I urge the governing party across the Strait, together with the governing party in Taiwan, to set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue,” Tsai said.

The Vatican is one of 21 nations that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, though the pope is trying to heal a decades-old rift with China, where Catholics are divided between those loyal to him and those who are members of a government-controlled official church.

Tsai said she sought to heed the pope’s words of peace.

“As the first female president in the ethnic Chinese world, I aspire to live up to your words, as I devote myself to enhancing the well-being of the Taiwanese people and creating a new era for cross-strait peace,” she said.