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Taiwan opposition protests visit by Chinese envoy

Taiwan opposition protests visit by Chinese envoy

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters marched through Taiwan's capital Saturday to protest an upcoming visit by a senior Chinese envoy, saying the trip was part of Chinese efforts to assert control over the self-ruled island.
The protesters, many wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan "Defend Taiwan," also accused Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou of making too many concessions and moving too fast in relaxing restrictions on trade and investment with China.
"The government has not done enough to protect our own interests when opening up to China," said protester Karin Hsieh.
The rally, organized by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, blasted Ma's efforts to seek better ties with the mainland since he took office in May. His predecessor, the DPP's Chen Shui-bian, had pursued a stridently anti-China and pro-independence policy.
Chen joined Saturday's march, which snaked for several miles (kilometers) through Taipei.
Under Ma's initiative, Taiwan and China resumed talks in June following a hiatus of almost 10 years.
A second round of high-level talks is to be held in Taipei in early November by Chen Yunlin, chairman of China's semiofficial Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, and his Taiwanese counterpart, Chiang Pin-kung.
A visit by Chen's deputy, Zhang Mingqing, this past week to prepare for the talks was marred by a clash with pro-independence supporters in southern Taiwan.
Zhang was pushed and toppled to the ground by a small number of protesters who shouted "Taiwan does not belong to China."
Taiwanese officials say the discussions with Chen will be limited to economic issues, including the introduction of direct cargo flights and an expansion of current weekend passenger flights to daily service.
On Friday, Ma said the talks would highlight the equality of Taiwan and China.
"We will safeguard Taiwan's interests and we will see to it that Taiwan's sovereignty or dignity will not be harmed," Ma said.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing continues to claim the island as part of its territory and has threatened to attack if Taiwan moves to formalize its independence.


Updated : 2021-04-11 04:02 GMT+08:00