Xi Jinping declares Taiwan "must and will be" reunited with China

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

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"Message to Compatriots in Taiwan, a policy document by the Chinese Communist Party that ended decades

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Taiwan must be unified with the mainland to achieve his goal of completing the country's rejuvenation.

President Xi said China will not "give up the use of its military force" as an option to ensure the reunification while insisting the island would ultimately be reunified with the mainland.

Despite this disclaimer, Xi's speech, which came on the 40th anniversary of a key policy statement which opened the door to improving relations between Beijing and Taipei, was largely placatory in nature, reiterating China's vision that Taiwan would be reunited with the motherland under a "one country, two systems" basis, much like the one practiced in Hong Kong, which would usher in a new era of prosperity for all.

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

In this December 1, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and China's President Xi Jinping, left, attend their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"China must and will be united", said Xi in reference to unification with Taiwan, AFP reports.

But it was when U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski met then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1984 that the idea of "one unified country of China with two systems" was first floated to resolve the Taiwan dilemma.

"People's heart won't change in one day, but I think one country, two systems is a way to do it".

Xi said in a speech devoted to Taiwan on Wednesday that no one or no party can stop the trend toward unification, and that independence for the self-governing island is a dead end.

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

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

What did President Xi say?

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.

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. 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.

The Chinese government has heaped pressure on Tsai since she took office in 2016, cutting off dialogue, whittling down Taiwan's few remaining diplomatic allies and forcing foreign airlines to list Taiwan as part of China on their websites.

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.

Taiwan's leader rejected his call just hours later.

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