Chinese President Xi Jinping said Taiwan's unification with mainland China is "inevitable", issuing a stern warning against any separatist or independence attempts on the self-governing island in a firmly-worded speech Wednesday.
"We are willing to create a vast space for peaceful unification, but we will never leave any room for any sort of Taiwan independence separatist activities", he said speaking at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
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. The Chinese leader's statement earlier today has clearly shown that such rhetoric indicates nothing more than the "one-China" and "one country, two systems" ideology, according to President Tsai. 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.
In his speech, Xi Jinping said Taiwan's unification with the mainland is "inevitable" and warned against any efforts to promote the island's independence.
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"The differences in [both sides' political] systems is not an impediment to unification, nor should it be an excuse for separation", Xi said, adding that the implementation of the "one country, two systems" framework to Taiwan would consider the nation's situation and suggestions from various sectors of society on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen holding a news conference in reaction to Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech in Taipei. Just one month after Tsai was sworn in, Beijing said it had cut off official dialogue with Taipei because she had refused to accept the one-China principle. "The majority of Taiwanese are staunchly opposed to the concept [of one country, two systems]".
Rather than recognizing an implicit agreement that Taiwan will adhere to the "One China" idea, Tsai and some leaders in her Democratic Progressive Party have left open the option for an independent nation. He did mention the historical completion of the "Three Links" between Taiwan and China and expressed a wish that the outlying ROC islands of Kinmen and Matsu be connected by bridge to China - an idea touted in the past by Kinmen politicians.
"It's so obvious that they're trying to assimilate Hong Kong into wider mainland China in every way".
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Beijing has also rolled out more extensive policies to court the island's business community and ordinary Taiwanese, vowing in February to give Taiwanese "equal status" on the mainland in areas ranging from business access to social benefits.
Beijing denies any interference in Taiwan's internal affairs.
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".
Beijing has adopted a multi-pronged approach to diminish Taiwan's presence on the worldwide stage in recent years, including blocking it from global forums and poaching its dwindling number of official diplomatic allies.
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