Xi: Taiwan reunification with China ‘inevitable'

Xi: Taiwan reunification with China ‘inevitable'

Xi: Taiwan reunification with China ‘inevitable'

Xi made the remarks in a closely watched speech in Beijing marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan", which called for the unification of "China", an end to military confrontation across the Taiwan Strait and expanded cross-strait interactions.

"China must and will be united, which is an inevitable requirement for the historical rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era", President Xi told a gathering at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, to mark the 40th anniversary of a key Beijing overture to Taipei after the U.S. and China established ties.

China still sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war that brought the communists to power on the mainland in 1949.

Significantly, the record-breaking number of tourist arrivals to Taiwan seems to contradict critics who argue that Tsai's refusal to acknowledge the so-called "1992 Consensus" over the "one China" principle (whereby both Beijing and Taipei claim sovereignty over China) has "seriously harmed Taiwan's travel industry".

"Chinese people don't attack other Chinese people".

His speech marked the 40th anniversary of the statement from the standing committee of China's National People's Congress calling for unification with Taiwan.

"The political disputes that have existed for a long time. affect the healthy and continuous development of the cross-strait relationship and can not be passed from generation to generation", Xi said.

Liu Jieyi, head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said in his new year's message they had not wavered last year in the face of "deliberate provocations" from Taiwan's government. In 2015, he held an unprecedented leader-to-leader meeting with then-Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.

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"The history of the development of cross-strait relations has proven that no individual or force can change the historical and de jure sense of facts that Taiwan is a part of China and that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the same 'China, '" Xi said.

No one or no party can stop the trend toward unification, the Chinese leader said Wednesday in a policy speech devoted to Taiwan. Ms. Tsai offered a swift rebuke, saying "the vast majority in Taiwan resolutely oppose 'one country two systems'".

China "must respect the insistence of 23 million people on freedom and democracy, and must use peaceful, on parity means to handle our differences", she added.

"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.

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.

Apart from keeping up the pressure on the Tsai administration, President Xi's speech was also a warning to the USA, which China worries will leverage the Taiwan issue to force more concessions from the Chinese.

This October also marks the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party's takeover of China, an occasion that Xi has been using to solidify his stewardship after repealing presidential term limits a year ago.

Wednesday's statement comes amid escalating tensions between the US and China.

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