It is the first time that a premier has publically supported the total autonomy of the island, which will almost certainly cause the wrath of Beijing. Tsai Ing-wen's office backs the President, albeit asserting its dedication to peace in the region and maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Taiwanese Prime Minister William Lai Ching-te has officially stated that he supports Taiwan's independence and that his position is not antithetical to his being "pro-China, loving Taiwan".
Lai, of the Progressive Democratic Party (Dpp), expressed his ideas yesterday at his first state of the nation report to the Taipei Parliament, responding to some opposition questions. "I'm a politician who supports Taiwan's independence," he said, "but I'm also a theoretical pragmatic in favor of Taiwan's independence."
"Being pro-China and loving Taiwan means showing goodwill and shaking hands with China in a friendly way, keeping Taiwan at the center." What's more important, he explained, is to continue trading with "China, Beijing authorities".
Lai is the first person in his position to publicly claim Taiwan's independence, a matter that will almost certainly arouse the wrath of Beijing, especially at this time, a few weeks from the Chinese Communist Party Congress.
Beijing considers Taiwan a "rebel province" and has always threatened to attack it militarily if its government decides to declare independence.
Taiwan has been the seat of the Republic of China since 1949, after Mao Zedong's takeover and Chiang Kai-shek's escape to the island. In the 1970s, the UN recognized the People's Republic of China and Beijing as a member of the UN, rejecting the diplomatic recognition of the Republic of China, accepted by some twenty countries, including the Vatican.
Over the years Taiwan has managed to build a democracy, with an autonomous government and an elected parliament.
Beijing, despite constantly threatening a military invasion, has cultivated strong economic, air, postal and naval relations with the island. These relations are based on the principle of "One China", ie that the continent and the island belong to the same entity, leaving aside the underlying meaning of this unity.
Last May, after his victory as president, Tsai Ing-wen, also of the DPP, did not express his adherence to the "One China" principle, enraging the Beijing government.
Yesterday, the president's office issued a statement saying that Tsai Ing-wen's government has never changed its position that "the Republic of China is an independent and sovereign nation", nor has it changed its dedication to peace in the region and maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait.