Xi Jinping Says Taiwan's Unification With China Is 'Inevitable'

President Xi Jinping made the remarks at a gathering at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Jan 2 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of

Taiwan independence would lead to "disaster", Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, pledging efforts for peaceful "reunification" with the self-ruled island but warning China would not renounce the use of force.

While Beijing would seek a peaceful "reunification" with the self-governing island of over 23.5 million people, The Associated Press reports Xi said China wouldn't rule out using force if necessary.

"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.

Taiwan and China split in a civil war that brought the Communists to power in China in 1949.

While Taiwan is self-governed and de-facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.

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Instead, unification was "an inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people", he argued.

The event was to mark 40 years since China proposed ending military confrontation with Taiwan and seeking reunification through dialogue, after establishing diplomatic relations with the United States in 1979.

"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.

That trend was broadly seen as an undercurrent in the 2016 election of Ms. Tsai, who calls Taiwan a "nation" and, in a January 1 address, said Beijing "must face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China", the formal name for Taiwan.

"People's heart won't change in one day, but I think one country, two systems is a way to do it". But what does it mean for China-Taiwan relations?

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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.

Mr Xi said both sides were part of the same Chinese family and that Taiwanese independence was "an adverse current from history and a dead end".

Tsai said that Taiwan is willing to talk, but it must be with the approval of the Taiwanese people. Hong Kong has also banned an independence party, calling it a threat to national security, in a move widely seen as bending to Chinese dictates.

Taiwanese politicians and analysts have long alleged the existence of a Chinese campaign of interference in Taiwan's politics - fears which were amplified during and after Taiwan's November 24, 2018 regional elections - but the exact source, scope, and impact of any organized Chinese meddling remains unknown.

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.

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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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