The Chinese government on Monday announced 26 new measures designed to “promote economic and cultural exchange” with Taiwan but authorities in Taipei were quick to turn the offer down.
The package of 26 policies drawn up by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office is divided into two categories, according to Chinese state news outlet Xinhua.
Half of the new measures are geared toward businesses in Taiwan and offer equal participation in investment, 5G technology, circular economy, civil aviation and the development of new financial institutions.
The other 13 were designed to provide “the same treatment for compatriots from Taiwan as those from the mainland” and include measures on consular protections, transportation, telecommunications, property purchases and professional title evaluation and academic admissions, among others.
The 26 new measures are added on to 31 similar policies announced last year.
But the policy reveals prompted a cold response from Taipei.
“It looks like a lot. However, we do not have the ‘one country, two systems’ system in Taiwan,” Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said shortly after on Twitter, referring to the special-status arrangement under which Hong Kong operates.
“It would not be bad to give your people more freedom!”
Joanne Ou, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, reiterated that Taiwan was a “sovereign state” and that its consular jurisdiction was distinct from China’s.
The announcement from China came just two months after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen decided to launch a bid for a new four-year mandate in the election scheduled for January next year.
Since taking office in 2016, her tenure has been marked by a strong pro-independence stance. She has refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus, a bilateral accord recognizing China’s One Nation strategy, although both sides had differing interpretations of the outcome.
Since the end of the civil war in 1949, Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan — which it considers a rebel province — while Taiwanese authorities insist they are the legitimate power over China.
In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a televised speech that “China should be and will be reunified.”