Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen attends the December 11, 2020, launch of the first of a new generation of coast guard patrol ships in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Ann Wang for Reuters
BEIJING, July 22 (Reuters) – China’s central bank has raised interest rates to a record high. In a rare show of goodwill between Beijing and Taipei, China’s government on Thursday offered an indirect thank you to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen for her message of concern about devastating floods in the central Chinese province of Henan.
So far, thirty-three people have died as a result of heavy rains that have lashed Henan and the provincial capital Zhengzhou for nearly a week.
Tsai, through a spokesman, expressed concern and condolences to the victims on Wednesday, saying she hoped normal life could resume as soon as possible.
Tsai is widely regarded in China as a separatist bent on issuing a formal declaration of independence for the democratically governed island Beijing claims as Chinese territory.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office thanked “relevant parties in Taiwan and people from all walks of life who have expressed their concern and condolences to the disaster-stricken area through various forms” in a brief statement.
It also expressed gratitude to Taiwanese businesses for donating money and materials for disaster relief.
Johnny Chiang, the leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang, which has traditionally supported closer ties with China, also expressed sympathy for the floods.
After Tsai first won election in 2016, China cut off a mechanism for formal talks with Taiwan, and relations have remained icy since then.
Taiwan has been enraged by repeated Chinese military drills near the island, while China has slammed the US for increasing its support for Taiwan.
Tsai has called for the resumption of talks with China, but on the basis of equality and respect. Those overtures have been rejected by China.