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Taiwan responds to Chinese diplomat's threat with call for peace

2017/12/09 20:35:40

CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) Taiwan's government wants peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday in the wake of a comment by a Chinese diplomat that threatened military action by China if U.S. Navy ships are allowed to call at Taiwan ports.

MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told CNA that the Taiwan government has long been pursuing the stable and peaceful development of cross-strait relations and will not go the route of resistance but neither will it cave under pressure.

The issue arose after the U.S. Congress on Nov. 30 passed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes clauses that would allow the U.S. to look at the possibility of reestablishing "regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan" and permits the U.S. Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan vessels.

The Taiwan-related clauses did not sit well with China and prompted a statement by diplomat Li Kexin (李克新) at the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. that the minute a U.S. Navy ship calls at a Taiwan port, China would activate its Anti-Secession Law and unleash its People's Liberation Army.

In response, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) released a statement Saturday, asking China to respect the will of the Taiwan people, maintain the cross-strait status quo, and stick to its views on the development of relations across the Taiwan Strait.

The threat of military action only reflects negatively on China in the eyes of the world, the MAC said.

Both the MAC and the foreign ministry said cross-strait dialogue is important to eliminate discord or animosity.

(By Elaine Hou and Kuan-lin Liu)
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