The words chosen by Taiwan's new president Tsai Ing-wen at her Friday inaugural address were likely examined carefully by Chinese officials, as she tries to maintain a stable relationship with the world's number 2 economy.
In the speech, 59-year old Tsai promised to safeguard the island-nation's sovereignty, adding that "Taiwan will play a responsible role in maintaining Cross-Strait peace and stability," Reuters reported.
That may cause rumbles in the mainland, where Beijing has been demanding Tsai to acknowledge the 'One-China' policy under a framework known as the "1992 Consensus" - a tacit understanding that the geographic territory of Taiwan belongs to mainland China, while leaving room for both countries to pursue their own interpretation of what 'One China' means.
But the '1992 Consensus' remains unpopular in Taiwan, with Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) long rejecting the existence of the consensus, according to independent think-thank Council of Foreign Relations.
So far, Tsai has emphasized she will maintain the status quo of the island nation's amorphous relationship with China, alluding to 'One China' but not accepting it explicitly.
The language Tsai uses on Friday will be key in gauging the future of Cross-Straits relations, noted Richard Bush, senior fellow at Brookings Institution.
"China takes the position that part of the status-quo is Taiwan accepting certain political conditions about the nature of its relationship to China. For domestic political reasons, Tsai isn't willing to make those commitments in the language Beijing prefers."
While it's unlikely the DPP will push for formal, legal independence, Beijing still wants a clear statement of the DPP's intentions, he continued.
Failure to comply with Beijing's demands for political clarity could result in Chinese sanctions, according to Bush. Possible measures include a suspension of official economic interactions and a reduction in the number of Chinese tourists and students going to Taiwan, he said.