Beijing will not rule out the use of force to ensure the “unshakable historic task” of its complete reunification with Taiwan, Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, said on Wednesday, warning that independence for the island would bring “profound disaster.”
“China must and will be united, which is an inevitable requirement for the historical rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era,” President Xi told a gathering at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, to mark the 40th anniversary of a key Beijing overture to Taipei after the US and China established ties.
“We are willing to create broad space for peaceful reunification, but will leave no room for any form of separatist activities,” he said.
“We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means,” he said, adding that the issue is China’s internal affair and that it would permit “no external interference”.
In a strong caution to advocates of Taiwanese independence, he said China was “firmly against” critics of Beijing’s policy, claiming that “no one and no party can change the fact that Taiwan is part of China.”
The Chinese leader also urged young Taiwanese to look into the mainland for economic opportunities, in an appeal bound to trouble Taipei, which has long accused Beijing of fueling a brain drain of its best talent.
Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwanese president, had already preempted President Xi’s address with her own speech on Tuesday, in which she emphasised Taiwan’s commitment to democracy and called on Beijing to seek peaceful means to solve their differences.
Taiwan rejects China’s territorial claims. As a result, Beijing has tried in recent years to undermine Taiwanese sovereignty and has stepped up pressure on the international community to exclude Taipei from global forums.
Meanwhile, Taiwan operates like any other democratic nation with its own government, currency, military and foreign policy and the majority of citizens identify as Taiwanese.
“What the two sides of the strait really need is a pragmatic understanding of the fundamental differences in the values we espouse, our lifestyles, and our political systems,” she said.
“I am calling on China that it must face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan); it must respect the commitment of the 23 million people of Taiwan to freedom and democracy; it must handle cross-strait differences peacefully, on a basis of equality,” she said.
Chinese Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in December of 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists.
Full article: China’s Xi Jinping threatens resort to ‘force’ to unify with Taiwan (The Telegraph)