China calls Taiwan president frontrunner a destroyer of peace

China calls Taiwan president frontrunner a destroyer of peace

China calls Taiwan president frontrunner a destroyer of peace

Following his remarks during a presidential debate asserting that Taiwan’s sovereignty and independence belong to its people, China’s authorities denounced the front-runner for the island’s next president as “confrontational” and a destroyer of peace.

There are tense ties between Beijing and Taipei at the moment of the presidential and legislative elections on January 13. In an effort to bolster its claims of sovereignty over Taiwan, which is democratically governed, China has been using more military force.

China has taken special offence at Taiwan’s governing Democratic Party (DPP) presidential nominee, Lai Ching-te, who is now serving as vice president and polling well in opinion surveys, claiming he is a dangerous separatist.

Responding late on Saturday to Lai’s comments at a live televised presidential debate earlier in the day, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Lai had “exposed his true face as a stubborn ‘worker for Taiwan independence’ and destroyer of peace across the Taiwan Strait”.

“His words were full of confrontational thinking,” spokesperson Chen Binhua said in a statement.

Since 2016 – when President Tsai Ing-wen took office – the DPP-led government has promoted separatism and is the “criminal mastermind” in obstructing exchanges across the strait and damaging the interests of Taiwan’s people, Chen said.

“As the leading figure of the DPP authorities and current DPP chairman, Lai Ching-te cannot escape his responsibility for this,” he added.

Tsai and Lai have repeatedly offered talks with China, but have been rebuffed.

The DPP says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future, as does Lai’s main opponent in the election, Hou Yu-ih from Taiwan’s largest opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT).

The KMT traditionally favours close ties with China but strongly denies being pro-Beijing. Hou has also denounced Lai as an independence supporter.

The defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong’s communists who founded the People’s Republic of China. The Republic of China remains Taiwan’s formal name.

Lai said on Saturday that the Republic of China and People’s Republic of China “are not subordinate to each other”, wording he and Tsai have used previously which has also riled Beijing.