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China’s Mr. Xi insists “unification” with Taiwan is “inevitable” as crucial election approaches

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Li Xueren/Xinhua/Getty Images

Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke at a meeting of Communist Party leaders earlier this month.

Hong Kong

Chinese leader Xi Jinping insisted in a speech on Tuesday that the “unification” of Taiwan and China is “inevitable,” and warned of Beijing’s long-standing commitment to democracy on the self-governing island ahead of a key election next month. I repeated my position.

“Achieving full reunification with the motherland is a necessity of development, justice, and what the people want. The motherland must be unified, and it will be,” Xi said at the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He made the remarks in a speech commemorating the 130th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birth.

The comments echo those previously made by Mr. Xi, one of China’s most powerful leaders since Mao Zedong, who said he wanted to control Taiwan and “rejuvenate” China into global power and status. This is the basis for the broader goal of “achieving the best possible results.”

But with Taiwan’s crucial presidential vote just weeks away, these policies take on special importance. There, elections often serve as a litmus test for public sentiment toward China due to the differing views of political parties regarding relations with China, and Taiwan claims that China’s ruling Communist Party has no influence over Taiwan. This will lead to a reinforcement of operations.

This year’s election comes as the Chinese government has gradually increased military, political and economic pressure on Taiwan under the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen, who is widely seen as promoting informal ties between Taiwan and the United States. takes place after years of heightened tensions.

Tsai’s potential successor, Vice President Lai Chingde of the Democratic Progressive Party, is leading in opinion polls but is openly disliked by Chinese officials.

Lai is ahead of two other candidates, Hou Yu-xi of the Kuomintang Party and Ko Wen-ji of the Taiwan People’s Party, who are seen as favoring closer ties with the Chinese government.

The Chinese Communist Party claims Taiwan as its own territory, even though it has never ruled it. Chinese officials have said they aim for peaceful “unification” but have not ruled out using force to seize control of the islands.

“(We) must promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and resolutely prevent any form of separation of Taiwan from China,” Xi said in a speech on Tuesday, adding that Taipei alone It clearly sent a warning to people in Washington. .

Taiwan has emerged as one of the most thorny issues in US-China relations. At a summit in San Francisco last month, President Xi told US President Joe Biden that the “unification” of China and Taiwan was “unstoppable”, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In August 2022, when then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi hosted Tsai on a visit to Taiwan, China surrounded the island with large-scale military exercises for several days and cut off high-level military communications with the U.S. military. did.

The channel was reopened only last week after more than a year of careful diplomacy, including a summit between Mr. Xi and Biden.

The United States maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan and adheres to the “one China” policy.

Under this policy, the United States recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but the U.S. government has never officially recognized China’s claims to Taiwan, which is home to 23 million people. It is also required by law to provide democratic islands with the means to protect themselves.

The rivalry between Taipei and Beijing dates back to 1949. At this time, after Mao Zedong’s Red Army gained the upper hand in the Communist civil war, General Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with the Kuomintang army.

In his speech on Tuesday, President Xi urged the Chinese people to “never forget the original aspirations and founding mission” of Mao Zedong and the Communist Party… and to steadily advance China’s great cause of modernization. He called on Japan to remain confident in its history and take the historical initiative. ”

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