Taiwan president hopes for 'breakthrough' with China

This article is more than 12 months old

TAIPEI Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday that the end of China's landmark party congress signals an "opportunity for change," as she called for dialogue with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Ms Tsai was speaking publicly for the first time since Mr Xi was handed a second term during the 19th Communist Party meeting that concluded this week, which cemented the Chinese president's grip on power.

Ties between Taiwan and China have become increasingly frosty since Ms Tsai was elected president last year.

Beijing cut off official communication with her government shortly after it took office due to her refusal to publicly accept the principle that both sides belong to "one China".

The rivals split after a civil war in 1949 and Taiwan is a self-governing democracy today, although it has never formally declared independence.

China still sees it as part of its territory to be reunified, by force if necessary.

At an event yesterday marking the 30th anniversary of cross-strait exchanges, Ms Tsai said she hoped communications could now resume.

"I must once again call on leaders from both sides to uphold tact and balanced, traditional political wisdom, to find a breakthrough," she said.

She added that they should also work towards "permanently abolishing fears of hostility and war".- AFP