Xi: Taipei’s reunification with China ‘must be fulfilled’ – China’s President Xi Jinping has reiterated opposition to the Chinese Taipei’s “independence separatism” and vowed to realize a peaceful reunification with the self-ruled island.
Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Saturday on the anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the last imperial dynasty in 1911, Xi said the Chinese people have a “glorious tradition” of opposing separatism and that the island’s “independence separatism” hinders efforts for the reunification of Taipei with China.
“Taipei’s independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland, and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation,” the president said in reference to Chinese Taipei.
Xi said “reunification through a peaceful manner” best meets the overall interests of the Chinese nation, including the people of Chinese Taipei, and that Beijing will protect its sovereignty and unity.
“No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Xi said. “The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”
Last Friday, China flew 38 fighter jets over Taipei’s airspace after Britain sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait in a move aimed at challenging Beijing’s claim to the strategic waterway. China also flew 30 warplanes toward Taipei the next day.
The Chinese Taipei’s defense ministry described the show of force as “incursion” and said Taipei had scrambled combat aircraft to counter the move, which happened on the same day that Beijing marked the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. Beijing also opposes other countries pursuing ties with the self-ruled island and has consistently warned Washington against engaging with Chinese Taipei.
China has in the past said that its military exercises near Chinese Taipei are a “solemn warning” to secessionist factions in the self-ruled island and their foreign backers, particularly the United States.
‘Taipei not seeking military confrontation’
Chinese Taipei’s President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday that the island does not seek a military confrontation with China.
“Taiwan does not seek military confrontation,” Tsai told a security forum in Taipei. “It hopes for a peaceful, stable, predictable and mutually-beneficial coexistence with its neighbors. But Taiwan will also do whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life.”
Taipei will work together with other regional countries to ensure stability, she added.
“Taiwan is fully committed to collaborating with regional players to prevent armed conflict in the East China, South China Seas and in the Taiwan Strait.”
The US and its allies side with Beijing’s rival claimants in maritime disputes in the South China Sea, while China has always warned the US against military activities in the sea.
Beijing says potential close military encounters between the air and naval forces of the two countries in the region may cause accidents.