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China factor is the most pressing issue for the nation: Tsai

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The “China factor” is a challenge Taiwan will have to face continuously in the future, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

Tsai made the remarks during her speech at a forum at National Taiwan University yesterday, also saying to local media that there would be no point in meeting with President Ma Ying-jeou if the meeting were merely for show.

Ma said on Monday that he was“never opposed to meeting Tsai, despite the time that planning such a meeting would take.” The president also stated that it was his ultimate hope that the ruling and opposing parties would collaborate.

At the forum, Tsai noted that Taiwan has been facing challenges both from within the country and from other countries. Its major challenges include the rapid development of economic integration in the world, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

“Aside from these developments, Taiwan's high-tech work force and core technologies have been moving to China, allowing the latter to successfully reform its economy ... the Chinese corporations have been recruiting Taiwanese people or imitating our professional skills, and this has become a form of pressure on the Taiwanese merchants in China,” said Tsai.

The core issue of cross-strait relations should be the protection of Taiwan's sovereign rights, Tsai added. “We do not have to be against economic interactions and connections with China, but we have to insist that Taiwan join efforts for economic and trade integration such as the TPP and RCEP ... It is also essential to push for the signing of free trade agreements strategically.”

The DPP is willing to face the long-time differences of opinion between both sides of the Taiwan Strait and search for a way to resolve the disputes between the two sides, said Tsai. “A new mode for interaction and communication is needed in order for cross-strait relations to develop peacefully.”

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