Beijing cuts Taipei liaison ties

Beijing said on Saturday it had cut off contact between the main China-Taiwan liaison bodies because of President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation, marking a ratcheting-up of pressure on the new Taiwanese leader.

In a statement posted on the website of the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, spokesman An Fengshan said contacts between bodies responsible for ties had been suspended starting from Tsai’s May 20 inauguration.

“Because the Taiwan side has been unable to confirm the ‘92 consensus’ that embodies the common political foundation of the one-China principle, the mechanism for contact and communication between the two sides has already been suspended,” the statement quoted An as saying.

The ‘92 consensus refers to an arrangement made in 1992 under which both sides acknowledged the existence of a single Chinese nation comprising both Taiwan and the mainland. That understanding underpinned dialogue between the sides that allowed them to build ties and partially overcome enmity stemming from their bitter split amid the Chinese civil war in 1949. Tsai has neither formally endorsed nor repudiated the construct.

The mainland statement, which came after Taiwan protested at Cambodia’s deportation of 25 Taiwanese internet scam suspects to mainland China, appears to signify a significant step in retaliation for Tsai’s pro-Taiwanese independence stance.

Although Beijing says Taiwan has been part of its territory since ancient times, the sides have only been unified for four of the past 120 years. Taiwan functions as an independent country and does not acknowledge Beijing’s claim of authority over it.

Speculation has been rife since Tsai’s inauguration that Beijing would take measures to compel her to endorse the “one-China principle” that it says underpins all political contacts between the sides.