Reunification with China is in the greatest interests of the Taiwanese people and would be accomplished peacefully, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, warning other nations against intervening in the matter. “Taiwan independence separatism is the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation and the biggest obstacle to achieving motherland reunification,” Xi said in a speech at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Saturday. “Realizing national reunification through peaceful means best serves the interests of the nation as a whole, including our Taiwanese brothers and sisters,” the President stated.
Xi, who had previously warned that China would not hesitate to use force against Taiwan and had pledged in July to “smash” any attempts by the island of 25 million to achieve official independence, adopted a gentler tone in this address. He did, however, caution other countries against interfering in the Taiwanese matter, saying it was “purely China’s internal affair and does not allow any external interference.”
The speech was given on the 110th anniversary of the 1911 revolution that resulted in the downfall of imperial authority in China. Taiwan was the final province to be controlled by Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist Party following the country’s communist revolution in 1949. The US dispatched the Seventh Fleet to prevent communists from extending the revolution over the Taiwan Strait in 1950, and the island has been self-ruling ever since. However, it has never formally proclaimed independence from China, with Beijing considering it as a renegade region under its ‘One China’ policy.
As part of a new cold war with China, Washington has been accused of increasing tensions between Taipei and Beijing. Meanwhile, reports surfaced that US special operations soldiers had been secretly training Taiwanese troops for months in order to prepare them to confront China. Despite recognizing Beijing as China’s only legal authority since 1979, Washington has maintained an unofficial relationship with Taipei and supplied weaponry to the island.