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China spurns Taiwan offer for peace talks

China has spurned Taiwan’s New Year offer for peace talks, saying the island has continued to provoke Beijing by seeking independence from the mainland, according to a Reuters report.

“Taiwan is ready to have meaningful talks with China as equals as long as they are willing to put aside confrontation,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in her New Year’s speech on Friday.

China responded by saying that there was no way of changing the reality that the island was part of China, and the refusal of Taiwan’s government to accept that was the root cause of present tensions.

Since 2016, Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “has continued to provoke by seeking independence, confronting the mainland at every turn, deliberately creating confrontation across the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

“They again talked about so-called dialogue, but where can that come from?” We urge the DPP authorities to stop it with these cheap tricks that dupe people,” the Chinese statement said.

China views the democratic and self-governed island as its own territory, and cut off a formal talks mechanism in 2016 after Tsai was first elected, as she is considered a separatist working for a formal declaration of independence.

Tsai, was re-elected in a landslide victory last year on a pledge to stand up to China and defend Taiwan’s democracy and security. She has stuck to her stand that Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China.

Tensions have risen in recent months with China stepping up its military activities near the island to intimidate Taiwan. Apart from strengthening its Naval presence in the region, China has also flown its fighter jets in Taiwan’s air space.

Taiwan has been left with no option but to seek more support from the US and this has angered Beijing. Washington has increased the sales of military hardware to Taiwan so that it can prop up its defence.