Taiwan tells US it does not want to cause trouble in Taiwan Strait

Envoy says he had good exchanges with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on sidelines of Apec summit in Da Nang

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 4:10pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 10:14pm

Taiwan has assured the United States it has no intention of causing trouble in the Taiwan Strait, the self-ruled island’s envoy to a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders said on Monday.

The comments by James Soong Chu-yu came after he said in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang on the weekend that he had good exchanges with both US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during informal moments between summit events.

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“We don’t want to create trouble in the Taiwan Strait, and lead the US, China and Japan, and all observers, to think we are a troublemaker. The whole world doesn’t hope for Taiwan to be a troublemaker,” Soong said in response to a question on his interactions with Trump and Tillerson.

“We hope to use peaceful means to solve relevant problems.”

Soong also said he had a “natural interaction” with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Relations between Beijing and Taipei have nosedived since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was elected last year. Beijing believes she wants formal independence for Taiwan, which is a red line for the mainland.

For her part, Tsai said she wanted to maintain peace with China but would defend Taiwan’s democracy and security.

Beijing has suspended a regular dialogue mechanism with Taipei since Tsai came to power and stepped up military exercises around the island. It has also increased diplomatic pressure by winning over another two of the island’s dwindling number of diplomatic allies.

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Soong, who is chairman of the Beijing-friendly People First Party, said at the summit that Tsai had repeatedly talked about seeking peaceful relations and stability with the mainland.

This month, Xi told Trump in Beijing that Taiwan was the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-US ties.