Taiwan president says won’t bow to Beijing, calls for talks

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s new president Tsai Ing-wen said Monday her self-ruled island will not bow to Beijing’s pressure and that China should recognize her government’s existence and engage with it in talks, in remarks likely to further anger China.

Speaking in a National Day address, Tsai acknowledged that ties between Taiwan and China in recent months have been bumpy.

“But we will not bow to pressure, and we will of course not revert to the old path of confrontation,” she said at a ceremony outside the presidential offices in central Taipei attended by 11,000 people, including more than 360 foreign guests.

China should “face up to the reality” of the Taiwanese government’s existence and of the island’s democracy, Tsai said, adding the two sides should “sit down and talk as soon as possible.”

China claims Taiwan is its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary. Tsai’s election in January upended Beijing’s strategy of using economic inducements to convince Taiwanese that political unification is not only inevitable but also in their best interests.

In her address, Tsai said her government wanted to maintain the status quo — referring to the state of tense but stable peace and robust economic exchanges between the sides. However, China has said it isn’t satisfied with that position and demands she endorse Beijing’s formulation that the two are part of a single Chinese nation.

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