The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday hit back at China’s repeated assertion of sovereignty over Taiwan during talks with the US in Alaska, saying that the Republic of China is a sovereign nation whose future could only be decided by its 23 million people.
Chinese officials were reportedly “defensive” after the US raised concerns over Beijing’s coercion of Taiwan during high-level talks in Anchorage on Thursday and Friday, their first since US President Joe Biden took office in January.
The two sides on Thursday traded barbs during unusually long opening remarks to reporters, followed by “tough and direct” dialogue during which the US also accused Beijing of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet.
Photo: Wei Chin-yun, Taipei
Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China, the council said, urging Beijing to face up to cross-strait realities, including popular opposition among Taiwanese to China’s political framework.
It also called on China to halt its military and diplomatic pressure against Taiwan and remove its preconditions for dialogue so that the two sides could pragmatically resolve their political differences.
Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was upbeat about the new US administration’s vocal concern over Chinese persecution of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Taiwan, the US and many other nations all share the values of freedom and democracy, but some authoritarian extremists have an outsized effect on the world order, Su said in response to media queries during a visit to the Hygge Healthcare long-term care center in Taoyuan.
While many are worried about totalitarianism, a growing number of people worldwide are also united in the hope that together they can maintain peace and stability, as well as enable the continued viability of freedom and democracy, Su said.
The Anchorage talks marked a change from past practice in that both sides directly addressed their conflicting views, he added.
Since taking office, the Biden administration has clearly expressed its basic stance toward China, Su said, citing its intention to form an alliance of like-minded nations, and concern for China’s persecution of Taiwan and other regions.
It is clear that joining countries that share the same values makes everyone stronger, he added.
However, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) cautioned against hyperbole just as US-China talks have only begun.
The two sides would invariably compete, confront and cooperate with each other, Ma said on the sidelines of a launch event in Taipei for a book written by former Executive Yuan secretary-general Chao Shou-po (趙守博).
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said he has always emphasized that cross-strait relations are not only bilateral, but involve complicated regional and international relationships as well.
Taiwan must examine events as they unfold to grasp shifts in the overall situation and adjust its policies accordingly, he said, urging the government to act fast.
“You cannot miss a beat, or else before you know it, the entire environment would have changed,” Chiang said.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng and Chen Yu-fu
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