President Tsai Ing-wen says her government’s pledge to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait remains unchanged. Tsai was speaking Friday while meeting an overseas Chinese-language media group.
Relations between Taipei and Beijing have been curtailed since Tsai took office in May last year. That’s because Beijing has boycotted the administration over Tsai's refusal to acknowledge the so-called 1992 Consensus. The idea of “one China, with separate interpretations” had formed a basis for cross-strait dialogue under the previous Ma Ying-jeou administration.
As Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party has taken over from the Kuomintang, Beijing’s preferred partner to deal with, the president urged the Communist Party leadership to face the new reality. She also responded to Beijing’s reference to her inaugural speech last May as an “unfinished written test” – a demand for Taipei to accept its “one China” principle.
“I hope the leader on the other side of the Taiwan Strait is able to accurately interpret the meaning of last year’s [presidential] elections as well as the friendly gestures that Taiwan has continued to since last year. The old written test should not be in use. There is a new question on the new written test. The new question is how leaders on both sides maintain cross-strait peace and prosperity," said Tsai.
Tsai said Taiwan’s ties with diplomatic allies in Central and South America have become stronger and that the government has made practical progress in exchanges with the United States, Japan and European countries over the past year.
The president also defended her efforts to push for pension, labor and judicial reforms.
“I know that a lot of people hope that the reforms can be carried out as soon as possible. But we are a democracy; there is no way Taiwan will return to an authoritarian era. How do we embrace democracy if objections are not allowed? I am not a strongman who makes arbitrary decisions. I am a democratically elected leader who stands firm on pushing for reforms. The reforms that we are doing now are what my predecessors were keen on but were unable to do," said Tsai.