Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed on Tuesday that Taiwan would be reunited with the mainland, saying Beijing would “resolutely prevent anyone from dividing” the two sides in any way.
The comments were made during a symposium in Beijing to mark the 130th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, the founding father of Communist China. In 1949, Mao led his country to defeat the government of the Republic of China, which then left the mainland for Taiwan.
To this day, Beijing considers the democratically-ruled island nation as part of its own territory, despite strong objections from the government in Taipei. Over the past year and a half, China has staged many rounds of major war games around Taiwan and regularly sends warships and fighter jets to the Taiwan Strait.
According to a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency, Xi said that “the complete reunification of the motherland is an irresistible trend.”
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He added that China should deepen integration between the two sides, promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and “resolutely prevent anyone from separating Taiwan from China in any way.”
The report by Xinhua made no mention of the use of force against Taiwan, although China has never ruled out that possibility. He also did not mention Taiwan’s January 13 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Chinese government has repeatedly denounced the front-runner for Taiwan’s next president, Lai Ching-te of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as a dangerous separatist and rejected his calls for talks.
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Both the DPP and Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), which traditionally favors close ties with China but denies being pro-Beijing, say only the island’s people can decide the future their.
Reuters contributed to this report.