Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says will not bow to China's pressure

China had cut off official communications with the self-ruled island after Tsai took power.

Taiwan president-elect Tsai Ing-wen
Democratic Progessive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen chants slogans during a rally outside the Presidential Office in Taipei August 30, 2008 Reuters

Taiwan's new president Tsai Ing-wen said Monday her country will not bow to pressure from China and urged Beijing to engage in talks with her government.

Speaking at the National Day address, Tsai said ties between Taiwan and mainland china have been far from cordial but that she would not want to revert to the old path of confrontation.

The president, whose election marked a new low in Taiwan-China relations, said Beijing should acknowledge the reality of the "Taiwanese government's existence and of the island's democracy."

China, which claims Taiwan is its own territory, had cut off official communications with the self-ruled island after Tsai took power in Taipei.

"The two sides of the strait should sit down and talk as soon as possible," Tsai said in her speech, which was attended by more than 10,000 people including hundreds of foreigners.

"Anything can be included for discussion, as long as it is conducive to the development of cross-strait peace and the welfare of people on both sides," she added.

Even as she offered an olive branch to the Chinese, Tsai did not appear to make concessions on the '1992 consensus' which had been agreed by a China-friendly Nationalist government.

The agreement endorses the Chinese principle that Taiwan is an integral part of the country. Beijing has not ruled out bringing Taiwan under its control by force if necessary.

China has been deeply distrustful of Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose charter includes a clause promoting "a sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan".

The party, which has traditionally favoured independence from China, took over power after eight years under China-friendly Nationalist Ma Ying-jeou.