No vacuum in contacts with China: Tsai

by Matthew Strong

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Communication between Taiwan and China will continue next year despite the long period between the presidential election and the inauguration, said Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen.

The opposition leader, who is likely to win the election according to most polls held over the past months, was referring to the period between the presidential and legislative elections on January 16 and the official swearing-in on May 20.

There will be no empty period as far as cross-straits issues and relations between Taiwan and China are concerned, Tsai said in a media interview held Thursday evening. Her comments were interpreted as a sign that the DPP was willing to talk to leading figures in China following the election.

Tsai and her party have often bashed President Ma Ying-jeou for his pro-China policies over the past few years, while promising to make Taiwan’s economy less dependent on the communist nation. The criticism as well as the period in office of the previous DPP president, Chen Shui-bian, have led to concern that cross-straits relations might deteriorate again if, as expected, Tsai wins the election.

In her Thursday interview, she said she would not exclude a Taiwan-China summit if it could help maintain peace and stability and if no preconditions were set. The DPP has slammed President Ma Ying-jeou’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping last November 7 in Singapore because of the lack of transparency and Ma’s alleged weak attitude in defending Taiwan’s interests.

At the time, Tsai already said she did not rule out meeting Xi, but only if no unacceptable conditions were set and if there was respect and equality between both sides. China has often made demands on Taiwan and the DPP which would involve abandoning the party’s Taiwan-centric stance and accepting the “One China Principle.”

Any head of state had to consult with parliament and with the people before undertaking important steps such as dealing with such issues, Tsai said. She said preparations would be made so no vacuum could occur in relations with China between the election and the inauguration of the new administration.

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