China's leader urges action on unification with Taiwan

China's leader urges action on unification with Taiwan

In Xi's speech, which came on the 40th anniversary of a 1979 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) policy statement titled "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan", he called the integration of Taiwan and China a "historical conclusion drawn over the 70 years of the development of cross-strait relations" but offered few new specifics.

China seeks the "peaceful unification" of Taiwan but will not rule out the threat of military action, President Xi Jinping said Wednesday as he described the annexation of the self-ruling USA ally as an enduring ambition and an inevitable outcome of China's rise.

Beijing "reserves the option of taking all necessary measures" against outside forces that interfere with peaceful reunification and Taiwan independence separatist activities, he said.

"We are firmly against those who conspire behind the ideo of "Two China", or "One China-One Taiwan", or Taiwan Independence", Xi said in a part of his first major speech addressing the people of what Beijing considers a breakaway province.

Chiang Kai-shek fled with defeated Nationalist forces to Taiwan in December 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists.

Taiwan has yet to declare formal independence from China, though it has its own currency as well as political and judicial systems.

Despite much publicity over 152 missing Vietnamese tourists, Taipei's efforts to replace the decline in tourist arrivals from the mainland have apparently paid off. Arguably, an additional 1 or 2 million tourists might have arrived had it not been for Beijing's discouragement, although a major push to attract other visitors might not have been implemented.

Ms. Tsai offered a swift rebuke, saying "the vast majority in Taiwan resolutely oppose 'one country two systems'".

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He also stressed that relations with Taiwan were "part of China's domestic politics" and that "foreign interference is intolerable".

Rather than recognizing an implicit agreement that Taiwan will adhere to the "One China" idea, Tsai and some leaders in her Democratic Progressive Party have left open the option for an independent nation.

Referring to November's local elections in Taiwan, Tsai said that the result was not tantamount to the Taiwanese people surrendering their sovereignty, and that it also doesn't mean that Taipei is ready to make major concessions to Beijing.

Beijing has won over more and more of Taipei's few global allies to cut diplomatic ties with the island and establish relations with China instead.

"While Xi's speech was mostly an extension of his policies toward Taiwan, this time he put more emphasis on unification", Ding said.

"They (China) are gobbling up Hong Kong, not just politically but culturally and economically too", Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker, told AFP. "Since Hong Kong was returned to China, its freedom and democracy have faced a lot of limitations". How would any Taiwanese think that's going to work for them?'

She added that China must deal with the countries' differences in a peaceful way as equals, and it must be the government or public agencies that have been authorised by the government that sit down with us and talk.

Beijing has adopted a multi-pronged approach to diminish Taiwan's presence on the worldwide stage in recent years, including blocking it from global forums and poaching its dwindling number of official diplomatic allies.

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