Taiwan’s President Lai says ready to work with China despite military drills

Taiwan's new president said Sunday he was still ready to work with China, despite this week's military drills around the self-ruled island.

The drills began around Taiwan Thursday, just three days after Lai Ching-te was sworn in, part of an escalating campaign of intimidation by China which views the island as part of its territory.

During the two-day drills, China vowed that what it described as "independence forces" would be left "with their heads broken and blood flowing".

Lai told reporters on Sunday that he wanted Taiwan and China to "jointly shoulder the important responsibility of regional stability".

"I also look forward to enhancing mutual understanding and reconciliation through exchanges and cooperation with China... and moving towards a position of peace and common prosperity," he said at an event in Taipei.

Communications between China and Taiwan were severed in 2016 after former president Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office, pledging to defend Taiwan's sovereignty.

Lai, also a DPP member, had vowed to maintain Tsai's policies of building up Taiwan's defence capabilities, while remaining open to dialogue with China and strengthening relations with the island's partners -- particularly the United States.

The dispute has long made the Taiwan Strait one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints.


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