Published: 11:37, May 24, 2024
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Taiwan leader's stance on cross-Strait ties decried
By Chang Jun in San Francisco
In this undated file photo, the Taipei 101 skyscraper commands the urban landscape in Taipei, China's Taiwan. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

Overseas Chinese communities promoting peaceful reunification across the Taiwan Strait denounced the provocative Lai Ching-te, the new administrative chief of China's Taiwan region, and his pro "Taiwan independence "agenda highlighted in his inauguration speech, calling him "a sheer troublemaker that viciously incites cross-Strait confrontations".

On Monday, Lai delivered his first flamboyant yet self-deceptive speech, making public narratives for his Democratic Progressive Party on ties with the Chinese mainland.

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In his address, Lai adopted a more "sovereignty-affirming" tone by saying, "I hope that China will face the reality of (Taiwan's) existence, (and) respect the choices of the people of Taiwan." He said he would "neither yield nor provoke "Beijing, but would "seek peace".

The words that Lai used to either conceal or sugarcoat his "independence" stance are futile, said Wu Youyi, founding member of the Association for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China in the United States. "His intrigues are unacceptable and doomed to fail. How could a betrayer who refuses to recognize the fundamental 1992 Consensus, the one-China principle, reach peace with the mainland?" Wu asked.

In 2017, Lai drew wide criticism and rebuke from the international community by describing himself as a "pragmatic worker for 'Taiwan's independence'". Although he has deliberately softened his stance since then, Lai used the inauguration to "steal the spotlight and promote his ideology more openly", Wu said.

Anyone following Lai's words and deeds would conclude that his speech "is full of lies and nonsense, and simply revealed his true colors as a hardcore, die-hard 'Taiwan independence' advocate", Wu said.

The mainland displayed tremendous goodwill through a meeting in April between President Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Ma Yingjeou, former chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party, in which Beijing emphasized that compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese, said Eric Zou, a member of the Chinese for Peaceful Unification-Northern California.

"The mainland remains very open-minded and candid by saying that there is no problem that cannot be discussed," Zou said. "It has been hoped that Lai could take this opportunity to respond with goodwill and advance the cross-Strait relations."

However, Lai stuck to his so-called two-state theory, emphasizing in his speech that he would "defend Taiwan in the face of the many threats and attempts at infiltration from China" by hailing the US passage of the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides $8.12 billion to continue efforts "to counter Beijing".

"It is insane for Lai to show no sign of apprehension for regional stability and peace in Taiwan by colluding with external forces," Zou said.

Inalienable part

Regardless of the leadership change in Taiwan, the fact holds true that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, said Wu, adding that the majority of people in Taiwan are pro-dialogue and pro-reunification.

According to a post-election poll in Taiwan earlier this year, more than 60 percent of those surveyed said they approved consistent and constant communication and exchanges between compatriots across the Taiwan Strait and agreed to friendship-building. "However, Lai is turning a deaf ear to the outcry of the Taiwan people and continues to push forward his 'independence' agenda. He treats the cross-Strait relations and public well-being in Taiwan with contempt," Zou said.

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Meanwhile, the Taiwan question is China's internal affair and should be left to the Chinese people, said Zhang Ruwei, a community leader in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"If Lai thought he could play a donkey in a lion's hide by exploiting the power of a few Western countries, he'd better stop the attempt immediately," Zhang said. "China will never allow foreign powers to interfere with the Taiwan question."