May 20, 2016 12:59 AM

New Taiwan president omits one-China policy in first speech

The Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) New Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen omitted mentioning the one-China policy in her inaugural address Friday, in a move likely to anger Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as its own territory.

Tsai said in her speech that she respected the "joint acknowledgements and understandings" reached between the sides at a landmark 1992 meeting seen by China as underpinning all subsequent contacts and agreements.

However, Tsai made no explicit mention of the concept that Taiwan is a part of China, which Beijing says is crucial to the entire relationship.

Tsai called for Taipei and Beijing to "set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides."

She said her administration would "work to maintain peace and stability" in relations between the sides. However, she added that Taiwan's democratic system and the will of its 23 million people must be respected in the course of cross-strait dialogue.

The government of Tsai's predecessor Ma Ying-jeou repeatedly endorsed the one-China principle and so-called "'92 consensus." During its eight years in power, Ma's government reached a series of economic and civil agreements significantly increasing interactions between the two sides.

China maintains that Taiwan must unify with the mainland eventually, by force if necessary. However, Taiwanese public opinion is strongly against any sort of political union between the sides, instead favoring the status of de facto independence and robust social and economic interactions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said the issue of unification cannot be put off indefinitely and China's military has in recent days staged saber-rattling war games along the coastline facing Taiwan.

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