Chinese President Xi Jinping urges action on unification with Taiwan

Hugh Fox
January 3, 2019

"Taiwan will never accept the "one China, two systems" formula, and the vast majority of Taiwan's people are firmly opposed to the approach designed by Beijing", she said, noting that a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) earlier in the day proved that "Taiwan's misgivings are correct".

This week's speeches could deepen the China-Taiwan gap if Xi pushes ahead or Taiwanese opposition party figures engage him against Tsai's will, scholars say.

She added that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait needed a pragmatic understanding of the basic differences that exist between them in terms of values and political systems.

Beijing "reserves the option of taking all necessary measures" against outside forces that interfere with peaceful reunification and Taiwanese separatist activities.

"Taiwan is one of the issues that his internal critics could come at him with, and the last thing he probably wants is to be criticised for being soft on Taiwan".

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On Wednesday, Xi advocated for peaceful unification of the two sides and said the "private assets, religions, and beliefs and legitimate rights of the people in Taiwan will also be fully guaranteed". Since losing its civil war, Taiwan has occupied a dubious place internationally, with mainland China encouraging other countries not to recognize it. Xi insisted that any future talks must revolve around Taiwan, a democracy, coming under communist authority and refused to take violence off the table should Taiwan insist on its independence, according to NYT.

In his speech, Xi mentioned the so-called "1992 consensus" twice and included "national unification" as part of his definition of the "consensus". The rival Nationalists set up their own government on the island about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the Chinese mainland.

In 2018, the U.S. sent multiple ships through the Taiwan Strait - which China considers its territory but the USA and others see as global waters open to all - infuriating Beijing.

"We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and the best efforts because achieving reunification through peaceful means is most beneficial to the compatriots on both sides of the strait and the entire nation".

Cross-strait issues on the part of Taiwan should be handled by the elected government which is monitored by Taiwanese people, said President Tsai.

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It was a notion that Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen immediately rejected Wednesday amid concern that Mr. Xi is directing what Lai I-chung, who chairs the International Cooperation Council of Taiwan think tank, called a "major policy change".

But Xi's vision of unification with China has little support within Taiwan.

"Deviating from the one China principle will result in tension and turbulence in cross-strait relations, harming the interests of the Taiwanese compatriots", Xi said.

Hong Kong, which Xi offered as a model of semi-autonomy, has been wracked by political divisions and street protests precisely over the growing perception that Beijing has reneged on its promise of "one country, two systems", as its influence is increasingly felt in local politics, elections, courts and media.

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