News World

Taiwan’s VP vows ‘unwavering’ support for status quo with China

Taiwan's Lai says US military aid package will 'deter authoritarianism'
Source: Video Screenshot

Taiwan’s vice president and presidential frontrunner vowed on Friday “unwavering” support for the cross-strait status quo, as Taipei faces increasing assertiveness from China which has long claimed the island as its territory.

China and self-ruled Taiwan share an uneasy relationship, in which Beijing has vowed to one day take the island — by force if necessary — while Taipei treads a diplomacy tightrope of not formally declaring independence.

But it has faced ramped-up political and military pressures from China in recent years — particularly since the 2016 election of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, who refuses to accept Beijing’s claim over the island.

Vice President Lai Ching-te, the candidate for Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said he believes the international community can see that the recent tensions are not “because of Taiwan, but because of China”.

“My support for cross-strait status quo will be unwavering,” he said Friday during a press meeting organised by Taiwan’s Foreign Correspondents Club.

“I will uphold President Tsai’s (commitments) which… has enabled the world to clearly see Taiwan for what it is — a source of stability amid the growing global uncertainties.”

He later defended his government from critics — like the pro-Beijing opposition Kuomintang Party — who say the DPP does not have dialogue with China. Communications have been frozen since Tsai’s election.

“The opposition parties currently hope to seek peace through negotiations and exchanges but we have to beware that the precondition for the opposition parties is to accept the ‘one-China’ principle,” Lai said.

“If we lose our sovereignty — even if we have exchanges and collaboration — I don’t think that would be true peace,” said the 63-year-old.

“We are willing to open the door for exchanges and cooperation with China under the condition of ensuring our sovereignty.”

Lai added that “of course China will use all kinds of tactics to interfere with this election”.

“If they succeed in affecting the election results, Taiwan’s democratic system would obviously be undermined,” he said.

The Harvard-educated doctor-turned-politician has been far more outspoken than Tsai about Taiwan’s independence — a red line for Beijing — having previously described himself as a “pragmatic Taiwan independence worker”.

He made stopovers this month in the United States on his way to Paraguay — transits that drew anger from China which launched military exercises around Taiwan after Lai’s return to Taipei.

About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

Daily Newsletter