China’s Xi Jinping Says Taiwan Must Be Unified With Mainland

China will not 'give up use of military force' over Taiwan

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".

But Mr. Xi's offer of "one country two systems" for Taiwan is an important indicator that this will form the thrust of China's efforts in coming years, said Li Zhenguang, professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.

Xi's words that Taiwan "must and will be reunited" follow along with Beijing's long-standing view on its most sensitive issue, though there is some worry in Taiwan that with his increased power Xi is in a stronger position than his predecessors when it comes to achieving this goal.

Xi said in a speech devoted to Taiwan on Wednesday that no one or no party can stop the trend toward unification, and that independence for the self-governing island is a dead end.

Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested that mainland China and Taiwan enter into "in-depth democratic consultations" and work toward unification, in the clearest sign yet that he wants to settle the 70-year dispute during his tenure.

"I would like to call on China to face squarely the reality of the existence of the Republic of China on Taiwan", Ms Tsai said, referring to the island's formal name.

It's unclear how his message will be received by the 23 million people on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. He did mention the historical completion of the "Three Links" between Taiwan and China and expressed a wish that the outlying ROC islands of Kinmen and Matsu be connected by bridge to China - an idea touted in the past by Kinmen politicians.

"It's rather empty and doesn't have any new points except that cross-strait unification would not affect the interests of other countries", said Fan Shih-ping, political analyst at National Taiwan Normal University, adding that Xi's words may also be intended for the United States, which views Taiwan as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy.

President Xi has taken steps to unify the two lands since becoming China's leader in 2012.

Taiwan is a self-governed democracy and for all practical purposes has acted as an independent nation since 1950, when China's nationalist government was defeated by communist forces and fled there from the mainland.

Yesterday, Tsai warned Beijing that Taiwan's people would never give up the kind of freedoms unseen on the authoritarian mainland.

In a new year's speech earlier this week, Tsai said China must use peaceful means to resolve its differences with Taiwan and respect its democratic values. China has cut direct talks with Taipei, stripped Taiwan of its diplomatic allies and flown bombers and dispatched navy vessels around the island in displays of force.

Xi has set great personal store in resolving what the Communist Party calls the "Taiwan issue", holding a landmark meeting with then Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore in late 2015, just before Tsai was elected.

Last year, it also forced foreign airlines and hotels to list Taiwan as part of China on their websites.

Tsai said Taiwan is willing to talk, but it must be with the approval of the Taiwanese people.

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