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

President Xi Jinping made the remarks at a gathering at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Jan 2 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of

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

President Xi made the comments in a speech on the 40th anniversary of a key policy statement that eventually lead to a thaw in relations with the self-ruled island.

"The issue of Taiwan is part of China's domestic politics".

In a speech marking 40 years since the start of improving ties, he reiterated Beijing's call for peaceful unification on a one-country-two-systems basis.

Up until 1979, China had conducted routine artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled offshore islands like Kinmen close to the mainland. "We are willing to use the greatest sincerity and expend the greatest hard work to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification", Xi said. 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. As NPR's Beijing Correspondent Rob Schmitz has reported previously, Taiwan split from China in 1949 when the US -supported Chinese nationalist leadership fled after losing a civil war to communist forces. The rival Nationalists set up their own government on Taiwan, an island 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the Chinese mainland.

Taiwan has yet to declare formal independence from China, though it has its own currency as well as political and judicial systems.

On Wednesday, he suggested that "political parties and people from all walks of life on both sides of the strait elect representatives" to engage in talks on the future of their relationship, saying an agreement that both sides belong to "one China" must be upheld in negotiations.

Since coming to power six years ago, Xi has employed both incentives and pressure to steer Taiwan toward unification. She insisted that as a superpower, China needed to fulfill its responsibility as one of the major players in the worldwide community.

Use of force against Taiwan would hurt China by inciting a response from Japan and the United States, Michael Tsai added.

Others believed Taiwanese could slowly come on board.

Mrs Tsai warned China on Tuesday that Taiwan's people would never give up the kind of freedoms unseen on the authoritarian mainland.

"Taiwan will never accept a "one country, two systems" framework", said President Tsai.

"While Xi's speech was mostly an extension of his policies toward Taiwan, this time he put more emphasis on unification", Ding said.

What did President Xi say?

The specifics of Mr. Xi's address differed little from what his predecessors have said about Taiwan.

"We are willing to create broad space for peaceful reunification, but will leave no room for any form of separatist activities", he said.

While the Chinese president did not renounce the possibility of using military force to achieve unification, he strayed away from overt threats and inflammatory language while implicitly rebutting the principles of Tsai's "Four Musts". 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 U.S. had infuriated the mainland government. According to an August study by National Chengchi University, just 3 percent of respondents wish to unify with China "as soon as possible", while an additional 12.5 percent want to maintain the status quo while moving toward unification.

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