Beijing warns it could cut contacts with Taiwan

Beijing warned Taiwan it would cut off critical contacts with the island if its new president Tsai Ing-wen does not state her support for the concept that there is only “one China”, mainland media reported on Saturday.

The comments came a day after Beijing-sceptic Tsai’s inauguration speech, where she called for “positive dialogue” with the mainland, but stopped short of any compromise on Beijing’s demands that she back its “one China” principle.

That principle was recognised by outgoing president Ma Ying-jeou of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party (KMT), who oversaw an eight-year rapprochement between the former bitter rivals.

Beijing is highly suspicious of Tsai, whose Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is traditionally pro-independence and has warned her against any attempt at a breakaway.

Beijing and Taipei have held regular, official communications since 2014, but that will stop unless Tsai acknowledges the “1992 consensus”, said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency.

The tacit agreement followed a 1992 meeting between mainland officials and the KMT which laid out the “one China” ideology, but allowed each side its own interpretation.

“The communications mechanism between the two departments can only continue if the ’92 consensus’, which represents the common political foundation of the One China principle, is adhered to,” Xinhua quoted Ma as saying.

Tsai and the DPP have never acknowledged the consensus.

In her speech Friday, Tsai reiterated her previous stance of recognising the 1992 meeting took place, but did not endorse its conclusions.

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