Taiwan's Tsai calls for dialogue with China, offers help with COVID surge

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has called for dialogue with China and offered support to help it deal with the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Tsai delivered her New Year speech at the presidential office on Sunday, accompanied by Vice President Lai Ching-te.

In the speech, Tsai noted that the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is the responsibility of all parties involved in the region.

She said war has never been an option for resolving problems. She added that more people can enjoy safety and well-being only through dialogue and cooperation under the same goal of promoting regional stability and development.

Tsai referred to the rapid surge in coronavirus cases across China in recent weeks. She said that based on humanitarian concerns, Taiwan would like to offer all necessary assistance if needed so that more people can have a healthy and safe new year.

Tsai was asked by local media reporters what she thinks about Chinese President Xi Jinping making no reference to what he calls the complete reunification of the motherland in his New Year address. The expression was used in his speech a year ago.

Tsai said she noted Xi was using a gentle tone.

But she also said that she must remind people that the Chinese military's activities near Taiwan are not conducive to the peace and stability of the region.