China Warns Taiwan: Unification By Force Is On The Table

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A Taiwan independent from mainland China is not an option, and no person or party can stop the trend toward "unification", Chinese President Xi Jingping said in a policy speech Wednesday.

Xi was speaking on the anniversary of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" on January 1, 1979, when China declared an end to what had been routine artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled offshore islands and offered to open up communication between the two sides.

"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", Xi said.

Mr Xi also sent a warning to advocates of Taiwan's independence, who include supporters of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen.

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"This is the first time a Chinese leader has so directly pointed out the feasibility of a Taiwan mode of 'one country two systems, ' and so openly vowed China's will and determination for it", said Liu Guoshen, who leads the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University.

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.

However, he reiterated "we will not renounce the use of force or give up the option to use all necessary measures" to serve that end and crack down on Taiwan independence.

Over the years, Beijing has issued three open letters urging Taiwan to reunite with the motherland, the last one in 1979 after the death of Mao.

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"With the current situation between China and Taiwan, I don't think there is that foundation of trust for any kind of in-depth discussion of debate on these issues", said Raymond Wu, managing director of Taipei-based political risk consultancy e-telligence, referring to Tsai's ideas. 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. The rival Nationalists set up their own government on the island about 160 kilometres off the Chinese mainland.

Should mainland Chinese indeed flock to Taiwan in 2019, tourism operators in KMT-led cities and counties could see significant increases in revenue - which will inevitably lead some to attribute the gains exclusively to the KMT's attempt to warm relations with Beijing, while overlooking ongoing efforts to attract tourists of other nationalities under the New Southbound Policy.

Unification with Taiwan has been a stated goal of China's ruling Communist Party since 1949, but its approach to what it sees as a breakaway province has changed over the years.

President Xi also proposed talks between the two sides to work out "a systematic arrangement for the peaceful development of the cross-strait relationship". "The private property, religious beliefs and legitimate rights and interests of Taiwanese compatriots will be fully assured", Xi said in a statement.

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"It will only bring more opportunities for other countries".

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