posted at 20:50
Author: The Associated Press
China urges Taiwan to keep ties after pro-Beijing party losses
TAIPEI, Taiwan - China urged Taiwan to protect the gains of landmark cooperation between the mainland and the self-ruled island after Taiwan's pro-Beijing ruling party was routed in local elections. The defeat in Saturday's elections of the Nationalist Party, which lost nine cities and counties, including its longtime strongholds Taipei, the capital, and the major central city of Taichung, led to the resignation of Premier Jiang Yi-huah, who heads the Cabinet. Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, but since taking office in 2008, Ma has set aside the old disputes to ease tensions through talks. "I must express apologies to the Nationalist Party and its supporters for making everyone disappointed," Ma told a news conference. "We can rejoice; but starting from tonight, we must also view the Chinese Nationalist Party's defeat as a lesson," Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen said in a statement. "Taiwan is an independent country. We don't want the Nationalists to take measures that would have it eaten up." A weakened Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang, or KMT, may erode Ma's mandate before 2016 to sign a pact with China to cut import tariffs, set up official representative offices on both sides and push for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. If the opposition party wins the presidency, Beijing is likely to suspend deals with Taiwan.

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