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Xi Jinping Says Taiwan's Unification With China Is 'Inevitable'

03 January, 2019, 05:18 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • China's Xi Jinping Says Taiwan Must Be Unified With Mainland

Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will not stop using military force as an option for the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland.

In a historic overture, it issued a public letter to the Taiwanese known as the "message to compatriots in Taiwan", calling for an end to military confrontation across the Taiwan Strait and saying it would open communication between the two sides.

Xi said China is willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push forward the political process as long as it accepts the "one China principle".

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.

Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not accept the 1992 Consensus - a diplomatic agreement made between Taiwan and China acknowledging the existence of "one China".

But it was when U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski met then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1984 that the idea of "one unified country of China with two systems" was first floated to resolve the Taiwan dilemma.

"Foreign interference is intolerable", Xi said, adding that Beijing "will not promise to renounce the use of force".

Xi urged both sides to reach an early consensus on the unification of China and Taiwan and not leave the issue for future generations.

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Taiwan and China must join hands to facilitate the reinvigoration of the Zhonghua minzu (中華民族, "Chinese ethnic group") and realize the goal of peaceful unification, Xi said, adding that the continued separation of the two sides is a historical trauma suffered by the Zhonghua minzu as a whole, whose revival would help solve the "Taiwan problem".

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen holding a news conference in reaction to Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech in Taipei.

On Tuesday, Tsai declared that Beijing "must respect the insistence of 23 million people for freedom and democracy" and "must use peaceful and equal terms to handle our differences", AFP reports.

When Jiang Zemin took power in Beijing, he largely continued Deng's policies - wooing the island by opening the doors to Taiwan entrepreneurs wanting to set up factories and businesses on the mainland and take advantage of its cheap labour and vast market. It was caused by Beijing conducting missile tests over Taiwan's outlying islands in a failed attempt to sway voters not to re-elect Lee Teng-hui, whose high-profile visit to the USA had infuriated the mainland government.

At the same time, Taiwan has developed a vibrant democratic system and a deepening sense of local identity that is distinct from China - and, for some, hostile to the authoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party.

Xi was speaking one day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen unveiled a new framework for cross-strait relations.

All people in Taiwan must "clearly recognise that Taiwan independence would only bring profound disaster to Taiwan", Xi said.

A mother carries her child past a television in New Taipei City on January 2, 2019 showing Xi making a speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of a message sent to Taiwan in 1979.

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