China has rejected Taiwan’s most recent offer of negotiations, describing it as a “cheap trick” and provocation in which the government seeks confrontation with China at any costs.
President Tsai Ing-wen said in her New Year’s address on Friday that Taiwan is keen to engage in “meaningful” negotiations with China on an equal basis if both sides are willing to put their differences aside.
After Tsai was first elected in 2016, China shut off a formal negotiations process, seeing her as a separatist bent on a formal declaration of independence.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement late Friday that there was no way to change the reality that the island was part of China, and that Taiwan’s government’s failure to acknowledge that was the underlying cause of current tensions.
Since 2016, Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “has continued to provoke by seeking independence, confronting the mainland at every turn, deliberately creating confrontation across the Taiwan Strait,” it said.
“They again talked about so-called ‘dialogue,’ but where can that come from?” the office added. “We urge the DPP authorities to stop it with these cheap tricks that dupe people.”
Tsai, who was re-elected by a landslide last year on a promise to stand up to China and safeguard Taiwan’s democracy and security, has stated numerous times that Taiwan is already an independent country known as the Republic of China.
Tensions have intensified in recent months as China has increased its military presence near the island, including flying fighter jets across the narrow Taiwan Strait’s median line, which functions as an unofficial buffer.
China claims it is reacting to “collusion” between Washington and Taipei, which it sees as a result of rising US backing for Taiwan. Beijing sees this as a forerunner to Taiwan formally declaring independence, which would be a red line for China.