Tsai Ing-wen
President Tsai Ing-wen wrote a letter to Pope Francis conveying her hope to create a new era of peace with ChinaReuters

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in a letter to Pope Francis has said that Taipei hopes to create a new era of peace with Beijing as military force could not resolve problems.

The January 5 letter to the Pope, which was released by Tsai's office on Friday (20 January), said that maintaining the peace process across the Taiwan Strait needed good communication and goodwill.

"Based on many years of experience in cross-Strait negotiations during my political career, I am convinced that military action cannot resolve problems," the letter read.

"Taiwan and mainland China were once embroiled in a zero-sum conflict that caused tension in the region and anxiety among our peoples. In contrast, today people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait enjoy stable lives and normal exchanges under peaceful separate governance."

She further wrote "I urge the governing party across the strait, together with the governing party in Taiwan, to set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue."

The issue of Taiwan and the 'One China' policy made international headlines as US President-elect Donald Trump received a congratulatory call from Tsai in early December after his winning the presidential election. The call and the subsequent remarks about the policy infuriated Beijing as it considers Taiwan as a part of China.

More recently, Chinese military and aircraft and warships, along with its sole aircraft carrier, have operated close to Taiwan which Beijing described as routine drills.

According to Reuters, The Vatican is one of few of countries that still maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taipei. Catholics in China are divided between those loyal to The Pope and those who are members of a government-controlled official church and The Pope is trying to solve this decades-old conflict.

China warns Donald Trump to respect 'one China' principle Reuters