19:12 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou before their meeting at Shangrila hotel in Singapore on November 7, 201

    China’s Taiwan Affairs Chief Warns of ‘Complicated Changes’ in Ties in 2016

    © AFP 2019 / Roslan RAHMAN
    Asia & Pacific
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    China’s relations with Taiwan are headed toward "complicated changes" in 2016, the director of the Chinese State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in New Year’s Eve greetings published on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The warning came a day after mainland and Taiwanese officials officially contacted each other via a newly established hotline, and a month after the first meeting between the two countries’ leaders since 1949.

    "Looking to 2016, the Taiwan Strait situation appears [headed toward] complicated changes, cross-strait relations are facing new challenges," Zhang Zhijun said.

    Zhang expressed hope that their relations would continue along the "road of peaceful development" and progress achieved in 2015.

    "Compatriots on both sides [must] be highly vigilant and work together to oppose ‘Taiwanese independence’ and undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," he underscored.

    Taiwanese voters head to the polls to elect the republic’s next president on January 16.

    Opinion polls project liberal Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen will unseat the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (Kuomintang) Ma Ying-jeou, after seven years in power. The DPP is associated with promoting Taiwanese independence.

    China does not recognize Taiwan as an independent entity, citing the one-China principle agreed to in a provisional 1992 consensus.

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