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U.S. urges China to act with restraint after Lai's inauguration

05/21/2024 11:20 AM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, May 20 (CNA) The United States has called on Beijing to act with restraint and not use Taiwan's transition as a pretext for provocative or coercive actions following the inauguration of Taiwan's new president, Lai Ching-te (賴清德).

In an email response to CNA on Monday (U.S. time), a State Department spokesperson welcomed the comments made by Lai in his inaugural address in Taipei Monday morning, noting his commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and to maintaining the status quo.

The inauguration was part of a normal, routine democratic process, the spokesperson said, and that if Beijing chose to escalate tensions or pressure Taiwan as a result, it should be seen as the provocateur.

U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed, opposing unilateral changes to the status quo by either side in line with its longstanding commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the spokesperson said.

The U.S. also does not support Taiwan independence but encourages cross-Taiwan Strait dialogue and expects that differences will be resolved peacefully and in a manner acceptable to people on both sides of the strait, according to the statement.

Following Lai's address on Monday morning, China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Chen Binhua (陳斌華) said in a statement that the speech delivered by "the leader of the Taiwan region" "stubbornly insisted on the position of Taiwanese independence," China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chen, who was referring to Lai but did not mention his name once in his statement, also criticized the speech for containing "separatist fallacies" and attempting to "incite division" among people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing will 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, Chen said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Evelyn Yang)

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