Taiwan president wishes China happy new year, gets warm response

From Reuters - February 14, 2018

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen wished friends in China a happy Lunar New Year on Thursday, drawing a surprisingly warm reaction from Chinese state media which is more used to disparaging her as a dangerous separatist.

Taiwan is one of Chinas most sensitive issues and a potentially dangerous military flashpoint. China considers the self-ruled island its sacred territory and a wayward province and it has never renounced the use of force to bring it under Chinese control.

China has become increasingly hostile to Taiwan since Tsai, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, won election in 2016, believing she wants to push for the islands formal independence, a red line for China.

In a video message to mark Chinese New Year, which falls on Friday, Tsai said the festival was an important one for people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait as they share many of the same traditions.

Through people-to-people exchanges and media broadcasts, this has narrowed the psychological gap between both sides, Tsai said.

I want to use this opportunity to send new years greetings to friends on the other side (of the Taiwan Strait) and ethnic Chinese in other parts of the world.

Chinas state-run Global Times, known for its stridently nationalistic stance and which often calls the islands president provincial governor Tsai, said it would normally criticize her, but in this case would reciprocate the goodwill.


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