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UPDATE: Taiwan Rejects China's Threat That Reunification Must Occur

BEIJING (Alliance News) - President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for Taiwan's "reunification" ...

Alliance News 2 January, 2019 | 10:24AM
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BEIJING (Alliance News) - President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for Taiwan's "reunification" with China, by force if necessary, but his call was rejected by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen hours later. 

China must be reunited, the Chinese president said in a speech in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, according to the official state news agency Xinhua.

China wants to achieve a peaceful reunification, Xi said, but leaves "no room for separatist activity".

While noting that "Chinese don't fight Chinese", Xi said peaceful reunification is in the best interests of the compatriots across the Taiwan Strait as well as the Chinese nation. 

"We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means," he said.

Taiwan has had its own government since 1949, when the Chinese Nationalists fled there after losing a civil war to the Communists. Beijing considers the self-ruled democracy part of its territory.

In Taipei, President Tsai said late Wednesday that Taiwan will never accept China's plan to apply to it the "One Country, Two Systems" principle under which the territories of Hong Kong and Macau were brought back under the umbrella of the People's Republic after colonial rule ended there.

Tsai stressed that Taiwan had never accepted the so-called 1992 Consensus, which recognizes the principle that there is only one China, but left the interpretation of what that means open. 

According to Tsai, Xi's speech clarifies the fact that that Beijing defines the consensus as the application to Taiwan of "One Country, Two Systems."

"Taiwan will never accept 'One Country, Two Systems.' Most Taiwanese people are firmly against it. And this is the Taiwan consensus," Tsai told a news conference.

"We would like to sit down and talk. As a democratic country, cross-strait political negotiation must be conducted by governments with the people's authorization and supervision," Tsai said.

Tsai reiterated that Taiwan was unwilling to "give up [its] sovereignty or make concessions on autonomy." Tsai said that China must face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China, the official name for Taiwan.

Beijing's "One Country, Two Systems" approach only guarantees a limited degree of autonomy under Chinese supervision. China applied it to Hong Kong on July 1, 1997. Pro-democracy activists there complain that Beijing is increasingly meddling in Hong Kong's affairs and curtailing press freedoms and the freedom of expression.

In Xi's New Year speech marking the 40th anniversary of the so-called "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan," he said that China welcomes a comprehensive, democratic negotiation conducted by representatives of different circles. 

The negotiation, which must be based on the one-China principle and opposing the independence of Taiwan, would aim towards peaceful cross-strait development, Xi said.

By Joern Petring and Yu-Tzu Chiu, dpa

Copyright dpa

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