China Halts Taiwan Liaison Link on Lack of One-China Support

  • Communications channel stopped after Taiwan leader sworn in
  • China official makes comments in response to Taiwan protest

China has halted a communications channel with Taiwan because the island’s new government has failed to affirm the "one-China" principle.

Taiwan’s president, sworn in on May 20, failed to declare support for the principle that Taiwan is part of China and as a result the mechanism for the two sides to liaise has been suspended, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing An Fengshan, a spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

An made the remarks in response to a protest by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council after Cambodia deported Taiwanese fraud suspects to China, according to Xinhua. The island hopes to have more communications channels with China, which “will help the interactions and development in relations,” Tung Chen-yuan, a Taiwan cabinet spokesman, said by phone Saturday.

In her inaugural address on May 20, President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female leader, acknowledged the historic talks between negotiators from China and Taiwan but did not openly affirm China’s view that the understanding reached at the time, known as the 1992 Consensus, means that both sides are part of one country.

At the time, Xinhua News Agency cited the Taiwan Affairs Office as calling Tsai "ambiguous on the fundamental issue.” The government in Beijing holds the one-China principle as its political bottom line for maintaining ties.

Increasingly Strained

The island’s political relations with the mainland have become increasingly strained since January’s landslide election victory by Tsai, leader of Taiwan’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party. The economic effects of the tensions are starting to be felt by Taiwan, with Chinese tourist groups in May falling 32 percent from a year earlier to 128,999 people.

Further economic repercussions may put Tsai in a difficult position as she struggles to reverse three consecutive quarters of economic contraction amid waning global demand for the island’s exported goods. Taiwan’s exports to China fell 4.6 percent in May from a year earlier, while overall trade was down 3.5 percent, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

— With assistance by Hui Li

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