Force still an option for unification: Xi

03 January, 2019, 05:18 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Xi'We have achieved great victory on defeating any pro-independence or separatist activities

Xi's Wednesday address was notable for what it did not say: Gone was the bluster of his March 2018 speech, in which he said "not a single inch of our land" would be ceded from China and attempts to "split" China would be "punished by history".

On the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of a thaw in Beijing's relationship with Taiwan, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized his position that the island is part of China and that foreigners should not interfere in the matter of Taiwanese independence.

However, he also warned that China reserved the right to use force.

China "must respect the insistence of 23 million people on freedom and democracy, and must use peaceful, on parity means to handle our differences", Tsaid said. "That is the 'consensus of Taiwan, '" she said, the Taipei Times reports.

President Xi Jinping used his new year's speech to call for the reunification of Taiwan with China, saying the country reserves the right to use force to do so, but would prefer for the process to be peaceful.

Taiwan's benchmark Taiex index extended declines, falling as much as 1.9 percent, amid a broader slide across the region driven by worsening manufacturing data in China and Taiwan as well as continued trade jitters.

"They (China) are gobbling up Hong Kong, not just politically but culturally and economically too", Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker, told AFP.

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But Taiwanese voters dealt Ms. Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party a serious blow in mayoral elections in November, forcing Ms. Tsai to abandon her position as party chair.

Should mainland Chinese indeed flock to Taiwan in 2019, tourism operators in KMT-led cities and counties could see significant increases in revenue - which will inevitably lead some to attribute the gains exclusively to the KMT's attempt to warm relations with Beijing, while overlooking ongoing efforts to attract tourists of other nationalities under the New Southbound Policy.

Xi spoke at Beijing's Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a landmark Taiwan policy statement. Unification with China has also become unpopular, the Post reports only one-third of Taiwanese citizens want to be part of China against - a drop from 60 percent who supported is in 2003.

Tsai responded to Xi by explicitly stating her framework of "Four Musts": Along with recognizing the ROC's existence and the commitment of its citizenry to democratic values, Tsai said cross-strait disputes must be handled "on a basis of equality" and government or government-authorized representatives must be present for any negotiations between the two sides.

In this December 1, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and China's President Xi Jinping, left, attend their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We are willing to use the greatest sincerity and expend the greatest hard work to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification.

While today the two sides have close business, cultural and personal links, proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being ruled by autocratic Beijing. He promised "lasting peace" and "good and prosperous lives" for the Taiwanese people after unification.

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