Beijing warns new Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on pushing for independence

Taiwan's new president Tsai Ing-wen (right) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (left) waving to the crowd in Taipei, on May 20, 2016.
Taiwan's new president Tsai Ing-wen (right) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (left) waving to the crowd in Taipei, on May 20, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING (AFP) - Beijing warned Taiwan's newly inaugurated leader against seeking independence on Friday (May 20), saying peace would be "impossible" if the new government attempted to move away from the mainland.

"If 'independence' is pursued, it will be impossible to have peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits," the Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement hours after President Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in.

"Independence is the greatest disaster for the peaceful development of peace in the Taiwan straits and the peaceful development of cross-straits relations," it said.

The statement referred to Ms Tsai as "the new leader of the Taiwan administration", without naming her.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 after the Kuomintang nationalist forces lost a civil war to the Communists. But Beijing has always seen the island as a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

China's state-run media were almost mute about the inauguration itself, with no coverage on national television or in major newspapers such as the People's Daily, the Communist Party's mouthpiece.