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27 Dec, 2023 00:03

Xi issues new Taiwan warning

The Chinese leader vowed “complete reunification” ahead of elections on the island
Xi issues new Taiwan warning

Beijing will use “any means” to prevent the secession of Taiwan, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday, adding that the island’s reunification with the mainland is inevitable.

Xi’s comments were part of a speech to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, at a symposium marking the 130th birthday of Mao Zedong, according to Xinhua news agency.

“We will resolutely prevent anyone from making Taiwan secede from China by any means,” Xi was quoted as saying. 

Xi also described the “complete reunification” of China as “an inevitable trend”; both in the national interest and the desire of the people. He called for efforts to “promote the peaceful development” of relations with the island and further integrated development “in all fields.” 

Beijing considers Taiwan sovereign Chinese territory and has warned that any attempts to declare it an independent state would mean war. Xi made that point clear to US President Joe Biden when they met in California last month, according to NBC News.

China would provide “plenty of space” for peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but will not tolerate any separatist moves by Taipei, the Chinese leader reportedly told Biden.

Taiwan is scheduled to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on January 13. Lai Ching-te from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) appears to be a clear favorite to win. He has described himself as a “worker for Taiwanese independence,” and accused Beijing of threatening the island with armed force.

In his speech on Tuesday, Xi made no reference to the Taiwanese elections or the use of force against the island.

Located about 180km away from the Chinese mainland, the island was once known as Formosa. China ceded it to Japan following the latter’s invasion in 1895 and reclaimed it after Tokyo’s surrender to allied forces in 1945. When the Chinese nationalists lost the civil war to Mao’s Communists in 1949, they evacuated to the island with US help and proclaimed Taipei the capital of the Republic of China.

In 1971, the UN recognized the government in Beijing as the legitimate government of China, leading to many countries de-recognizing Taiwan. In 1972, the US accepted Beijing’s position that “there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.”

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