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Talks needed to avoid cross-strait conflicts: president

2018/05/07 22:41:39

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文; CNA file photo)

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday called for talks between Taiwan and China without any political preconditions on the basis of respect and equality to resolve misunderstandings and avoid misjudgments that could result in conflicts.

Tsai made the remarks in a pre-recorded joint interview with TTV and Unique Broadcasting that aired Monday night.

She was responding to questions related to the historical summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

The way Kim and Moon addressed each other showed that they treated each other with respect and were on an equal footing, Tsai said.

"Only under such a circumstance could there be a possibility for both sides to move toward peace," she said. In the same vein, Tsai said she hoped that both sides of the Taiwan Strait "sit down and talk" based on the principles of mutual respect and equality without any preconditions.

China has tended to interpret recent developments in the region, especially those involving Taiwan, "in a negative light," Tsai said, without elaborating.

Tsai could be referring to recent moves by the United States -- such as enacting the Taiwan Travel Act to promote mutual high-level visits and condemning China for its attempt to pressure U.S. firms to change Taiwan's designation on their websites -- that have displeased Beijing.

The way China interpreted the moves has caused its misunderstanding and misjudgment, which have posed great challenges to stability in bilateral relations, a situation that warrants dialogue between the two sides to avoid possible conflicts, she said.

"Sitting in a remote corner guessing the other side's intention without contacting each other or sitting down and talking is very dangerous," she said.

Tsai has followed a policy of trying to pursue stable relations and maintaining the status quo with China since taking office in May 2016. But Beijing has cut off official contacts because Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party reject the "1992 consensus," which provided the foundation for cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan's previous government under the Kuomintang.

Tsai and her party object to the consensus because it implies that Taiwan is a part of China, something a majority of Taiwanese do not accept.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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