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China Warns Taiwan About Independence

  • VOA News

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen signs her first document at her new desk following the inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen signs her first document at her new desk following the inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016.

China has warned Taiwan against pursuing independence, just hours after the island's first female president was sworn into office Friday.

"If independence is pursued, it will be impossible to have peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits," China's Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement. "Independence is the greatest disaster for the peaceful development of peace in the Taiwan Straits and the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations."

Tsai Ing-wen called for "positive dialogue" with China in her inauguration speech in Taipei. "The two governing parties across the Strait must set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides," she said.

New Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, center, and Vice President Chen Chien-jen, right, attend their inauguration ceremonies in Taipei, Taiwan, May 20, 2016.

New Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, center, and Vice President Chen Chien-jen, right, attend their inauguration ceremonies in Taipei, Taiwan, May 20, 2016.

Tsai's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, won landslide presidential and parliamentary elections earlier this year. DPP triumphed over the Nationalist Party, or KMT, which had spent the last eight years developing ties with Beijing.

US anticipates good relations

The United States said Friday it is looking "forward to working with the new administration, as well as with all of Taiwan's political parties and civil society groups to further strengthen the ties between the people of the United States and Taiwan."

The DPP has recently signaled it intends to get tough on espionage by China that had been made easier by the increased contact between the two sides.

The DPP-controlled parliament says it plans on passing a bill by year's end that would cut pensions for Taiwanese military retirees who spy for China.

China and Taiwan have been separately ruled since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and insists the two eventually unify. It also requires that both sides see themselves as part of a single China before holding any talks. But Tsai prefers for Taiwan to bolster its autonomy rather than veering closer to China.

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