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Tsai cannot expunge fact that Taiwan part of China: China Daily editorial

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-13 20:45
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Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen attends a news conference in Taipei April 11, 2018.[Photo/Agencies]

Before her flight to Los Angeles, where she is making a stopover en route to Belize and Paraguay, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen spoke of remaining "firm so that no one can obliterate Taiwan's existence".

And she is right, Beijing must adamantly oppose her attempts to obliterate the truth of the island's existence.

Since her first day in office, Tsai has never stopped trying to obscure the fact that the island is not an independent country but part of China.

Yet although the two Latin American countries that she is visiting are among the few countries that remain on the wrong side of history, they are not the intended mediums for her message. Rather, Tsai intends to use her stopovers in the United States as the stage for her latest pro-independence push in a bid to shore up Washington's support ahead of local elections in Taiwan in November, as she has been facing increasing push back from Beijing against her antics and growing dissatisfaction among residents on the island.

Her visit comes at a time when Washington, which has its own agenda vis-à-vis Beijing, seems keen on goading her in her ambitions. US President Donald Trump appears set on playing the "Taiwan card" more aggressively as he seeks to keep what his administration perceives to be "a challenge to American power" on the back foot. His recent moves challenging the one-China policy, include signing the "Taiwan Travel Act" that aims to increase visits "at all levels" between US officials and members of the island's administration, have emboldened Tsai in her provocations of Beijing.

The island's education authority is now reviewing history textbooks for students and proposing to include China's history as part of East Asia history, so as to further erase the island's true identity.

But such attempts will gain her no reward. As Tsai's remarks on Sunday reveal, she and her administration have encountered setbacks in their bid to expand the space for the island's "independence". In one of the countermeasures Beijing has taken, the mainland civil aviation authority has instructed foreign airlines to ensure Taiwan is correctly identified as part of China on their websites, and almost all carriers have now complied.

Tsai should realize that "independence" is a red line that Beijing has drawn and she should not cross it. Indeed, the closer she seeks to edge toward it, the deeper the predicament she will find herself in.


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