China will not give up use of military force over Taiwan - Xi

China's President Xi Jinping attends a welcome ceremony for German President Frank Walter Steinmeier in Beijing

China's President Xi Jinping attends a welcome ceremony for German President Frank Walter Steinmeier in Beijing

Taiwan's reunification with China is inevitable and will bring greater stability to the Asia-Pacific region and the world, President Xi Jinping said yesterday as he promised more opportunities for the estranged territory in China's growth and a one-country-two-systems model that guarantees its rights.

Xi's words that Taiwan "must and will be reunited" follow along with Beijing's long-standing view on its most sensitive issue, though there is some worry in Taiwan that with his increased power Xi is in a stronger position than his predecessors when it comes to achieving this goal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested that mainland China and Taiwan enter into "in-depth democratic consultations" and work toward unification, in the clearest sign yet that he wants to settle the 70-year dispute during his tenure.

But it was when United States 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.

But when the Korean war broke out that year, the People's Liberation Army had other priorities - and no time to pursue the Nationalists who had retreated to and taken control of Taiwan.

Xi did tout Taiwan's "great victory in frustrating the Taiwan independence movement and other separatist activities" - one day after Tsai said Taiwan's "greatest challenge" was combating Beijing's attempts to "interfere in Taiwan's internal politics and social development".

"It's a legal fact that both sides of the straits belong to one China, and can not be changed by anyone or any force", Mr Xi said.

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It was a notion that Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen immediately rejected Wednesday amid concern that Mr. Xi is directing what Lai I-chung, who chairs the International Cooperation Council of Taiwan think tank, called a "major policy change".

His speech marked the 40th anniversary of the statement from the standing committee of China's National People's Congress calling for unification with Taiwan.

After the election of Tsai in 2016, Beijing actively sought to discourage mainland Chinese from visiting the island, resulting in just 2.3 million mainlanders visiting Taiwan in 2018, down from 2.7 million in 2017, and 3.5 million in 2016. China has cut direct talks with Taipei, stripped Taiwan of its diplomatic allies and flown bombers and dispatched navy vessels around the island in displays of force.

Xi was speaking one day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen unveiled a new framework for cross-strait relations. He also noted that Beijing is ready for talks, albeit on the condition that Taiwanese authorities accept the "one China" principle. Last year, China also forced global airlines to change their websites and no longer list Taiwan as an independent country.

Xi instead touted the "one country, two systems" model seen in Hong Kong and Macau as the lone path to "accommodate Taiwan's reality and safeguard the interests and benefits of Taiwan compatriots".

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.

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