Taiwan leader rejects China's 'one country, two systems' offer

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei Taiwan Thursday Oct. 10 2019

Tsai is now running about 13 points ahead of Kuomintang candidate Han Kuo-yu in Tawian's January presidential election.

China suspects Tsai and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party of pushing for the island's formal independence, and this year threatened it with war if there was any such move.

A military regime for almost 40 years, Taiwan held its first-ever direct presidential election in 1996 and is now one of the region's most vibrant multi-party democracies.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday rejected a "one country, two systems" formula that Beijing has suggested could be used to unify the island and the mainland, saying such an arrangement had set Hong Kong "on the verge of chaos".

New Power Party (NPP) legislative caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that Tsai's address contained two major points: Letting Beijing and the global community know Taiwan's rejection of "one country, two systems" and highlighting the words "Republic of China (Taiwan)" - a consensus beyond party lines.

Delivering her speech in front of the Presidential Office Building, Tsai called on all Taiwanese to stay united.

This is the final Double Tenth Day parade hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen as she is seeking re-election in the next few months.

Ross Darrell Feingold, a Taipei-based lawyer and political risk consultant who has over 20 years' experience advising clients on transactions in Taiwan, told Nikkei the upcoming elections is Tsai's to lose.

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Most people were probably enjoying the long weekend holiday and not actually watching the speech, Feingold said, but noted that Tsai appeared to be the frontrunner in January's presidential election.

Beijing's success in persuading two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies to switch recognition to China in the last month - the Solomon Islands and Kiribati - leaves Taipei with just 15 such partners worldwide.

Tsai, a 63-year-old US -educated law scholar, is ramping up her campaign for reelection before the vote in January.

"China is encroaching on us through their sharp power, but as a crucial member of the region, we know that Taiwan must fulfill its responsibilities to the worldwide community", Tsai said. She says she will work with like-minded countries to preserve the peace in the Taiwan Strait.

Meanwhile, relations between Taiwan and the USA continue to improve. This week, Republican Senator Ted Cruz attended the National Day ceremony - making him the first American senator to attend in 35 years, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ebullience of ROC flag-raisings in Hong Kong was diminished slightly when some of the protesters paused to remember that the founders of the Republic of China, the Kuomintang party, were not exactly libertarian defenders of free speech and vibrant dissent.

"It's important for America and the rest of the world to stand alongside Taiwan", he added.

"Taiwan's very existence, the creation of Taiwan, is standing up to communist oppression", Cruz said.

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