Taiwan “will be and must be reunified” with mainland China, stated Chinese President Xi Jinping, while warning that independence will spell “profound disaster” for the self-ruled island.
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Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a key Taiwan policy statement, the Chinese president said, “Taiwan’s independence would only bring profound disaster to Taiwan.”
The Chinese president also said the use of force would remain an option to bring Taiwan back under Chinese control.
“We are willing to create broad space for peaceful reunification, but will leave no room for any form of separatist activities,” Xi said. “We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means.”
The Chinese president also said Beijing would permit “no external interference” over the issue, which he said was an internal affair.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, and almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty under a policy known as “One China.”
The United States, while formally recognizing Chinese sovereignty over the island, remains a close ally of Taipei, provides weapons to it, and maintains a de facto embassy in Taiwan.
The Chinese government has constantly warned Washington against any kind of relations with Taipei, whose own ties with Beijing have been deteriorating since two years ago, when Tsai Ing-wen was elected “president” and began challenging the “One China” principle.
Tsai has said she will boost “security” in the face of what she has described as Chinese pressure to assert sovereignty over Taiwan. Ahead of Xi’s speech, she used her New Year’s Day address to bring up what she called threats from China and urged Beijing “to face squarely the reality of the existence of the Republic of China on Taiwan,” referring to the island’s formal name.
Tsai said that China “must respect the insistence of 23 million people on freedom and democracy, and must use peaceful, on parity means to handle our differences.” She also accused China of interfering in the island’s political and social development, which she described as her government’s “biggest challenge at the moment.”
Taiwan and the mainland separated amid a civil war in 1949. Beijing has vowed to bring the island under its control — by force if necessary.