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Time to resume talks, Taiwanese president tells the mainland

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has called on the mainland to resume talks with the island to ensure peaceful cross-strait relations.

Tsai made the call on Wednesday, a day after mainland President Xi Jinping demanded that Taiwan adhere to the “1992 consensus” to maintain the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and exchanges.

The consensus is an understanding that there is only “one China”, though each side has its own interpretation of what constitutes “China”.

Tsai, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has refused to publicly accept the consensus, and cross-strait relations have cooled since she took office in May.

Although Tsai has acknowledged there was such a meeting in 1992 at which both sides preserved their differences to seek common ground, Beijing suspended talks with Taipei in June.

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Calling for the mainland to respect the mainstream opinion in Taiwan, Tsai was quoted by the island’s Presidential Office in a statement as saying, “We hope the Beijing authorities can recognise the strong belief in a democratic system among the Taiwanese people.”

“Both sides should make greater efforts to promote exchanges and dialogue that are constructive and build peaceful and stable cross-strait relations that are persistent,” she added.

Tsai also called on the mainland to recognise the existence of the Republic of China – Taiwan’s official title — and the strong belief in the democratic system shared by the Taiwanese people.

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On Tuesday, Xi pledged resolute opposition to forces supporting Taiwanese independence and their activities, and suggested that the mainland’s Communist Party and Taiwan’s opposition Kuomintang should discuss the possibility of ending cross-strait hostility and reach a peace pact on the basis of the one-China principle

While the DPP and pro-independence lawmakers heaped scorn on Kuomintang chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu for trying to “sell out” Taiwan by bringing up a peace pact in talks with Xi on her visit to Beijing, local academics said Xi intended to use his talks with Hung to tell the Tsai administration she must adhere to the consensus and the one-China principle.