Tsai Ing-wen, the presidential candidate for Taiwan’s pro-independence opposition party, has called for a more sustainable and consistent relationship with mainland China, Reuters reported.
The chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is on a 12-day, six-city visit to the United States to drum up support from government and business leaders before the island’s presidential vote, slated for January.
Beijing is highly suspicious of the DPP, and its concerns about the pro-independence movement were exacerbated last year when thousands of young Taiwanese occupied the island’s parliament in an unprecedented protest against a planned trade pact involving closer ties with the mainland.
In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal published Tuesday, Tsai wrote that “a more consistent and sustainable relationship with China will be a core goal of my administration”.
“That requires open channels of communication, both with China’s leadership and the Taiwanese people,” she said.
Tsai said the massive sit-in in parliament was a result of local citizens feeling “left out of the discussion” about the future of ties between the two sides.
The protests were primarily driven by young Taiwanese suspicious about China’s intentions regarding the democratically ruled island.
Following the protests, the ruling Kuomintang was routed in local elections in November.
Tsai’s visit to the United States, the island’s strongest ally, is seen as being an important attempt to assuage concerns that a DPP-led government would increase tensions between Taiwan and the mainland.
China deems Taiwan a renegade province to be retaken by force if necessary, particularly if it makes moves toward independence.
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