© Reuters. Eric Chu waves to his supporters after winning the presidency of Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang Party, in Taipei, Taiwan, September 25, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote in a congratulatory letter on Sunday to the newly elected leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party, who has vowed to resume talks with Beijing, the situation in the Taiwan Strait is “complicated and bleak”.
Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party elected its leader on Saturday, former New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu. -with-china-2021-09-25), who said he would revive stalled high-level contacts with China’s ruling Communist Party.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory, and has escalated military and political pressure to force the democratically governed island to accept Chinese sovereignty, although most Taiwanese have shown no interest in being ruled by Beijing.
In Xi’s letter, a copy of which was released by the KMT, he said both parties had “good interactions” on the basis of their joint opposition to Taiwan independence.
“At present, the situation in the Taiwan Strait is complicated and bleak. All sons and daughters of the Chinese nation should work together with one heart and move forward together,” wrote Xi, who is also the Communist Party chief.
He expressed the hope that the two sides can cooperate on “the pursuit of peace in the Taiwan Strait, the pursuit of national reunification, and the pursuit of national revitalization.”
Zhou, who narrowly lost the 2016 presidential election to incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen, responded to Xi that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are “all children of the Yellow Emperor” — in other words, they are all Han Chinese.
Zhou blamed Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (NYSE: DPP) for the tensions with Beijing after pursuing anti-China policies.
Zhou, who met Xi in China in 2015, said he hopes to “seek common ground, respect differences, increase mutual trust and friendliness, and strengthen exchanges and cooperation so as to allow the continued peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.”
Under outgoing KMT leader Johnny Chiang for 17 months, high-level contacts with China have stalled amid military tensions and suspicions in Beijing that the party has not been sufficiently committed to the idea that Taiwan is part of “one China”.
In addition to losing the 2016 election, the KMT was defeated in last year’s election after failing to dent the DPP’s accusations that they were Beijingers.
China refuses to speak to Tsai, calling her a separatist. It says that Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, the island’s official name, and that only the people of Taiwan have the right to decide their own future.
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