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MAC urges Beijing to be receptive to Lai's overture

05/20/2024 11:34 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has called on Beijing to be receptive to an overture expressed by President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) in his inaugural speech on Monday, which Beijing criticized as an attempt to promote Taiwanese independence.

In a press release, MAC said Lai had extended "the greatest goodwill gesture" in the address by calling for engagements between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait for mutual benefit and joint prosperity.

It urged China to respond to that overture positively and hence meet the expectations of the people from both sides of the strait and the international community.

The agency added that it would closely monitor the situation across the Taiwan Strait and promote, with prudence, cross-strait exchanges in accordance with the constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan's official name).

The comments came hours after Beijing accused Lai of attempting to promote Taiwanese independence during the inaugural speech and reasserted its policy based on the "one China" principle.

In a statement, Chen Binhua (陳斌華), spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, described the speech delivered by "the leader of the Taiwan region" as "stubbornly insist[ing] on the position of Taiwanese independence," China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chen was referring to Lai, who was inaugurated in Taipei on Monday morning, despite not mentioning Lai's name for a single time in the statement.

The Chinese official also criticized the speech for containing "separatist fallacies" with an attempt to "incite division" among people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

He blamed Lai's Democratic Progressive Party for the current tensions between Taipei and Beijing as the party has "refused to acknowledge the '1992 consensus' that embodies the one China principle."

Chen added that Beijing would unwaveringly adhere to the one China principle and the 1992 consensus, which expresses the idea that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China, and work toward its goal of "reunifying" Taiwan.

In his inaugural speech made in the presence of hundreds of foreign dignitaries in front of the Presidential Office building, Lai reaffirmed his commitment to upholding the status quo and his willingness to engage in dialogue with Beijing.

On the other hand, he urged Beijing to recognize the existence of the Republic of China, respect Taiwanese people's choice and cooperate with Taiwan's government, while pledging to continue safeguarding the country's sovereignty.

"I hope that China will face the reality of the Republic of China's existence" and "in good faith...engage in cooperation with the legal government chosen by Taiwan's people," he said, noting that "the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China are not subordinate to each other."

"We have a nation insofar as we have sovereignty," Lai remarked, underlining the need for the people of Taiwan to stay united.

Taiwanese, including members of different political parties, should "come together to safeguard our nation," he said, adding that no individual should "entertain the idea of giving up our national sovereignty in exchange for political power."

(By Teng Pei-ju)

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