China will never allow the tragedy of Taiwan being separated from the rest of the country to happen again according to Xi, who made his first remarks on the subject since the island voted for an independence-leaning president and legislature in January.
Xi made the comments while addressing delegates of the annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, insisting that Taiwan recognize it is part of China, regardless of political changes on the island which is home to 23 million people.
According to Reuters, Xi is quoted as saying “We will resolutely contain ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist activities in any form, safeguard the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and never allow the historical tragedy of the nation being split to happen again.”
“This is the common wish and firm will of all Chinese people. It is also our solemn commitment and our responsibility to history and the people,” he added.
The landslide election of Tsai Ing-wen as president, along with a legislative majority for her Democratic Progressive Party, has thrown a spanner in the works as far as Beijing is concerned over how best to approach cross-strait relations.
Tsai, who won’t be inaugurated until May, takes over from China-friendly Nationalist Party President Ma Ying-jeou. During his eight years in office he has signed a number of deals which have brought the economies of mainland China and Taiwan closer together.
Yesterday a proposal being considered for the 13th Five-Year Plan emerged which would see Taiwan connected to the mainland by high-speed rail, much to the amusement of Taiwanese netizens.