Tsai Says Taiwan 'Needs to Resist Pressure from China'

Tsai Says Taiwan 'Needs to Resist Pressure from China'
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

What you need to know

Some Chinese critics argue that President Tsai's open letter to the DPP constitutes a 'declaration of war' on China.

An open letter by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members posted on the party’s official website on Sept. 29 has sparked accusations in some circles in China that the president has "declared war" on China.

In the letter, published a day after the 30th anniversary of the party's founding, Tsai wrote, “We need to resist pressure from China and develop relations with other countries,” and “we need to stop being overly dependent on China and build a healthy, normal economic relationship.”

The responses to the letter were varied.

in a Facebook post on Sept. 30, Kuomintang (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) argued that the open letter showed “the Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC) was a burden for Tsai,” adding that “if Tsai doesn’t recognize the country, then she is unqualified to be the president of the ROC.”

An op-ed in the Chinese Communist Party propagandistic outlet China Review said Tsai's letter could be taken as advocating “special state-to-state relations” for using the words “resist China” instead of “resist mainland China.” The author also argued that some people regarded Tsai’s wording as “a declaration of war” on China.

Meanwhile Grace Choi, spokesperson of the U.S. Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in an e-mail to Taiwan’s Central News Agency that the U.S. would benefit from peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations and called on both sides to ease tensions. Choi also encouraged the governments in Taipei and Beijing to start constructive dialogue.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole