Taiwan president defiant after China calls for reunification

Taiwan president defiant after China calls for reunification

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the people of Taiwan on Wednesday that they were welcome to join a unified China, but warned that he was not ruling out military action if they refused.

Will Xi Play the Long Game With Taiwan?

In a policy speech centered on Taiwan, Xi said, "We are willing to create a vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will never leave any room for any sort of Taiwan independence separatist activities".

Cross-straits ties, particularly economic links, have flourished in the decades that followed.

Since coming to power six years ago, Xi has employed both incentives and pressure to steer Taiwan toward unification.

But Taiwanese voters dealt Ms. Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party a serious blow in mayoral elections in November, forcing Ms. Tsai to abandon her position as party chair.

The U.S. cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, in order to strengthen its relationship with China.

More than 70 percent of Taiwanese believe Taiwan is already an independent country, according to an analysis done by The Washington Post.

Taiwan is gearing up for presidential elections in a year.

Despite much publicity over 152 missing Vietnamese tourists, Taipei's efforts to replace the decline in tourist arrivals from the mainland have apparently paid off. Arguably, an additional 1 or 2 million tourists might have arrived had it not been for Beijing's discouragement, although a major push to attract other visitors might not have been implemented.

In Hong Kong, that has meant a more muscular effort to impose Chinese will, including by seizing people wanted by authorities in Beijing.

"It's so obvious that they're trying to assimilate Hong Kong into wider mainland China in every way".

Speaking at a news conference, Tsai stated categorically that since assuming office in May 2016, she has rejected the "1992 consensus", the goal of which is Taiwan's unification with China. Xi said little new in terms of content. Han recently proposed the construction of an additional airport in Kaohsiung to handle an expected onslaught of tourists from China.

The president suggested more exchanges and did not rule out use of force if needed to fight Taiwan independence.

Taichung and Yilan county are also set to benefit, with Beijing likely to charter flights and divert Taipei-bound tour groups to those destinations, which voted for KMT candidates. "Don't nurture any dream of independence".

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.

President Xi described on Wednesday a "one country, two systems" approach that would "safeguard the interests and well-being of Taiwanese compatriots".

In Taiwan, however, that expression of determination raised concern. The KMT generally interprets the consensus as maintaining the status quo rather than adopting a "one country, two systems" framework.

Chiang only relaxed that in 1987, allowing people in Taiwan to visit China for family reunions.

China, however, is now pushing for new changes in Taiwan. "It must also be that only organizations authorized by the two governments can sit down for talks".

"Xi Jinping is demanding Taiwan amend its own laws and regulations in order to fit with Chinese laws and regulatory processes", said Mr. Lai.

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