With cross-strait relations growing frostier and frostier, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed that Taiwan will not succumb to increasing pressure from Beijing.
Since Tsai took office in May, following a landslide victory at the polls in January, China has thrown its considerable diplomatic and economic weight around to try and limit and intimidate her new administration into following a policy of closer relations with the mainland. However, in an hour-long exclusive interview with Charles Hutzler of The Wall Street Journal published yesterday, Tsai said that she is beholden to the people of Taiwan:
“No administration in Taiwan is able to make any decision that goes against the opinion of the people,” Tsai said. “I also hope that mainland China does not misinterpret or misjudge the current situation, or think that it can make Taiwanese bow to pressure. In a democratic society, this kind of pressure is felt by all.”
She also pledged to avoid any confrontations and invited Beijing to hold talks with no preconditions to eliminate misunderstandings that had cropped up over the last 5 months. In June, Beijing stopped all communication with the main Taiwan liaison office over Tsai’s steadfast refusal to endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation since her inauguration. During the WSJ interview, Tsai also declined to adopt the “1992 Consensus” phrasing that Beijing mandates, which declares that there is only “one China,” but allows each side to hold a vastly different interpretation of what exactly that means.
Elsewhere in the interview, Tsai also spoke about the US presidential race, democracy protests in Hong Kong and the South China Sea ruling.
Watch some of the highlights below:
[Video via The Wall Street Journal]