China says military force an option as its pushes for Taiwan reunification
Jan 03, 2019, 01:10
Tsai instead stressed the need for China to accept Taiwan's democratic values and the "fundamental differences" between the two societies, saying on Tuesday that cross-strait ties "cannot depend on vague political preconditions or forced submission to "passwords" or acceptable phrases".
The Chinese President's Wednesday address was a far cry from one he gave in March past year, in which he said "not a single inch of our land" could be ceded from China, adding the country was prepared to "fight the bloody battle against our enemies".
"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.
"Deviating from the one China principle will result in tension and turbulence in cross-strait relations, harming the interests of the Taiwanese compatriots", Xi said.
"After peaceful reunification, Taiwan will have lasting peace and the people will enjoy good and prosperous lives", Xi said. Today, more than 30 per cent of Taiwan's trade is with China, while some Taiwanese young people have moved to the mainland to seize professional opportunity in the world's second-largest economy.
"I want to appeal to China that it must admit to the reality of Taiwan's existence and must respect our 23 million people's insistence on freedom and democracy". Tsai accused China of interfering in order to oust her from power because of her outspoken opposition to Taiwanese unification with China.
That trend was broadly seen as an undercurrent in the 2016 election of Ms. Tsai, who calls Taiwan a "nation" and, in a January 1 address, said Beijing "must face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China", the formal name for Taiwan.
"We make no promise to give up the use of military force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means" against Taiwanese separatist activities and "outside forces" that interfere with reunification, he said.
Despite this disclaimer, Xi's speech, which came on the 40th anniversary of a key policy statement which opened the door to improving relations between Beijing and Taipei, was largely placatory in nature, reiterating China's vision that Taiwan would be reunited with the motherland under a "one country, two systems" basis, much like the one practiced in Hong Kong, which would usher in a new era of prosperity for all.
China has responded to her rejection by flying military aircraft near the island, squelching Taiwanese foreign diplomacy and scaling back Taiwan-bound group tourism.
The specifics of Mr. Xi's address differed little from what his predecessors have said about Taiwan. At the same time, the global relations expert says, Chinese authorities are wary of the US' role in the region, which they believe could embolden Taiwan's pro-independence groups.
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