'No framework' for pursuing Taiwan's formal independence: VP Lai
Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) Taiwan is a "sovereign, independent country," Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 2024 presidential candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) told Bloomberg Businessweek in a recent interview, adding he had no plans to pursue formal independence.
"Taiwan is already a sovereign, independent country called the Republic of China," Vice President Lai said, echoing a stance President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) made public three years ago, in his first interview with an international media outlet since becoming vice president in 2020.
"It is not necessary to declare independence," he said in an interview aired Tuesday while he is on a seven-day trip to the United States and Paraguay. "The Republic of China and the People's Republic of China are not subordinate to one another."
In response to a question by editor Joel Weber about whether he has a roadmap to Taiwan's formal independence, Lai, who has on more than one occasion described himself as a "pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence," said "no such framework exists."
"My responsibility is to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, while protecting Taiwan and maintaining democracy, peace and prosperity," the 63-year-old politician said.
At the same time, Lai pitched himself as a "rational and steady" leader who is able to continue Tsai's policy and work with the U.S. government effectively.
"I have been part of President Tsai's national security team" which has "responsible and clear channels of communications" with Washington, he said.
Lai branded the upcoming presidential election as a decision between further engaging with the international community and working with China through caving in to its political agenda.
Lai, the candidate for the DPP, which has been in power since 2016, is leading in most opinion polls, with Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) of the Kuomintang trailing behind.
While stressing that he remains "open" to engaging in dialogue with the Chinese leader, Lai took note of the security challenges facing Taiwan because of Beijing's "tendency to annex Taiwan" and refusal to denounce the use of force.
These challenges are of global concern, Lai said, adding that the international community must respond to China's actions, which he said "are the reasons for tensions" in the Taiwan Strait.
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