President Tsai Ing-wen rejected the “one country, two systems” model proposed by Beijing as the future path of cross-Taiwan Strait relations during her National Day address to the nation on Thursday.
“The overwhelming consensus among Taiwan’s 23 million people is our rejection of ‘one country, two systems,’ regardless of party affiliation or political position,” Tsai said at the Double Ten celebration, which commemorates the start of the Xinhai Revolution on Oct. 10, 1911 that led to the founding of the Republic of China.
She said that there would be no space for the ROC’s existence if that framework were to be imposed in Taiwan, citing the violence in Hong Kong as an example.
“Hong Kong is on the verge of chaos due to the failure of one country, two systems,” she said.
She said that as Taiwan’s president, standing up to protect Taiwan’s national sovereignty is not a provocation to China but a fundamental responsibility, and she urged the public to stand with her in defending freedom and democracy.
“One country, two systems” is a framework formulated by Beijing, the principle of which is that special administrative regions such as Hong Kong and Macao can retain their own economic and administrative systems under one country — China.
The framework has been proposed to Taiwan by Beijing and mentioned multiple times in key speeches by Chinese leadership, most recently in the national address of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Oct. 1, the National Day of the People’s Republic of China.
In that speech, Xi reaffirmed the “one country, two systems” policy for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and vowed that China will continue its struggle for the full “reunification” of the country, a statement directed at Taiwan.
Taiwanese people, however, refuse to accept the proposal. In a survey conducted in July by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the cabinet-level agency that handles Taiwan’s relations with China, 88.7 percent of the 1,095 respondents rejected it.
Tsai, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said the term “Republic of China (Taiwan)” is an overwhelming consensus of Taiwanese society and not the exclusive property of any particular political party.
She urged Taiwanese society to unite and find the greatest common denominator through dialogue, to ensure that the peaceful and stable cross-strait status quo will not be unilaterally altered by China.
She also outlined her future goals for Taiwan, which are to ensure unity and to defend sovereignty, to bolster the economy and to engage with the world and overcome challenges.