China's Xi urges Taiwan business community to shun independence

Photo: EPA Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.

China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control but will strive to achieve peaceful “reunification” with the self-ruled island that has a bright future under any future Chinese rule, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

Xi spoke at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a landmark Taiwan policy statement. Taiwan is China’s most sensitive issue and is claimed by Beijing as its sacred territory. Xi has stepped up pressure on the democratic island since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016. Xi has set great personal store in resolving what the Communist Party calls the “Taiwan issue”, holding a landmark meeting with then Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore in late 2015, just before Tsai was elected. He said “reunification” must come under a one-China principle that accepts Taiwan as part of China, anathema to supporters of Taiwan independence, adding that the “one country, two systems” model of autonomy, with which China governs Hong Kong, was the best way for Taiwan.

Speaking to reporters, Tsai said Taiwan would never accept “one country, two systems” and was proud of its democratic way of life.

“The vast majority in Taiwan resolutely oppose ‘one country, two systems’, This is the ‘Taiwan consensus’,” she said.

The vast majority of Taiwan’s people are clearly aware that Taiwan independence would lead to a “grave disaster”, Xi told an audience that included Taiwan business people and senior party officials. "We are willing to use the greatest sincerity and expend the greatest hard work to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification,” Xi said.

Xi reiterated that China was willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push the political process - stalled by China since Tsai took office - as long as they accept the “one China” principle. He sought to reassure people in Taiwan that there was nothing to fear from Chinese rule, even though most people there have shown no interest in being run by autocratic Beijing. Kim says ready to meet Trump but warns of 'new path'

“After peaceful reunification, Taiwan will have lasting peace and the people will enjoy good and prosperous lives. With the great motherland’s support, Taiwan compatriots’ welfare will be even better, their development space will be even greater,” Xi said.

 

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