Saturday, July 13

Xi vows to prevent anyone ‘splitting Taiwan from China’

President Xi Jinping vowed today to resolutely prevent anyone from “splitting Taiwan from China in any way”, the official Xinhua news agency reported, a little more than two weeks before Taiwan elects a new leader.

China views democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory, despite the strong objections of the government in Taipei, and has ramped up military and political pressure to assert its sovereignty claims.

Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary elections on January 13 and how the island handles relations with China is a major point of contention on the campaign trail.

At a symposium commemorating the 130th anniversary of the birth of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, who in 1949 defeated the Republic of China government in a civil war which then fled to Taiwan, Xi said “the complete reunification of the motherland is an irresistible trend”.

“The motherland must be reunified, and inevitably will be reunified,” Xinhua cited Xi as telling senior officials from the Communist Party.

China must deepen integration between the two sides, promote the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, and “resolutely prevent anyone from splitting Taiwan from China in any way”, he said.

The report made no mention of using force against Taiwan, though China has never renounced that possibility. It also did not mention the upcoming election.

China says the Taiwan election is an internal Chinese affair but that the island’s people face a choice between war and peace and any attempt at Taiwan independence means war.

Over the past year and a half China has staged two rounds of major war games around Taiwan and regularly sends warships and fighter jets into the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese government has repeatedly denounced the frontrunner to be Taiwan’s next president, Lai Ching-te from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as a dangerous separatist and has rebuffed his calls for talks.

Both the DPP and Taiwan’s main opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT), which traditionally favours close ties with China but denies being pro-Beijing, say only the island’s people can decide their future. — Reuters

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