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China rips Taiwan’s Lai for ‘dangerous signal’ in opening speech

Tan KW
Publish date: Mon, 20 May 2024, 10:47 PM
Tan KW
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China sharply criticised the inaugural address of new Taiwan President Lai Ching-te, an early indication he will likely have a rocky relationship with Beijing.

Lai “sent a dangerous signal of seeking ‘independence’ and provoking and undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, fully exposing his true nature as a ‘Taiwan independence worker’,” said Chen Binhua, spokesman for the government department in Beijing that handles affairs related to the democratically run island of 23 million people.

“The motherland must be reunified, and it will be reunified,” Chen said, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

Lai was sworn into office earlier in the day, using his first speech as president to urge China to end its campaign of pressure on the democratic island. Beijing cut off direct communication with Taipei after Lai’s predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, refused to accept the notion that Taiwan is part of China when she came to power in 2016.

Lai also repeated Tsai’s position that the Republic of China - Taiwan’s formal name - and the People’s Republic of China are not subordinate to each other. He also reiterated his previous pledges to maintain the status quo with China.

Beijing has indicated in the past that it takes a dim view of Lai. Late last year when he was vice president campaigning for the top job it referred to him as an “instigator of war”.

Both Lai and Tsai belong to the Democratic Progressive Party, which says the the island is a de facto independent nation deserving of broader international recognition. China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has not ruled out using force to bring the island under its control.

Earlier Monday, Beijing sanctioned three US defence contractors to show its unhappiness with US arms sales to Taiwan. The move is likely to have little or no effect on the companies because US defence companies don’t tend to do business in China. 


  - Bloomberg


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