Taiwan President says unofficial communication channels remain with China

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May and has been reluctant to disavow calls for formal independence.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May and has been reluctant to disavow calls for formal independence.PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Saturday (Aug 20) that unofficial communication channels with China remain in place despite Beijing in June suspending contacts because the island's new leader would not endorse the concept of a "One China" principle.

The Chinese government blamed the self-ruled island earlier this week for the breakdown of communications.

China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province, has been unsettled by Ms Tsai, who took office in May, as she has been reluctant to disavow calls for formal independence.

"While the official mechanism of communication has not been restored, unofficial communication channels with the mainland remain available," she told reporters, without elaborating.

"We hope both sides maintain stability, so there won't be any misunderstanding or misjudgment on either side," she said.

Ms Tsai, who heads the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, reiterated that she wanted to maintain the status quo in cross-strait relations, but said "there is no magic medicine" to resolve the existing strains.

China has insisted Ms Tsai must recognize the "1992 consensus" reached between China's Communists and Taiwan's then-ruling Nationalists - the political basis for the One China principal - although each have their own interpretation of what that means.

After the defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan following a civil war with the Communists in 1949, China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.