China has once again expressed its aim of reunifying Taiwan with the mainland, though this time with one important word missing.
On Friday, while reading out the Chinese government’s annual work report, Premier Li Keqiang left out the word “peaceful” from Beijing’s usual spiel about reunification.
“We will encourage them to join us in opposing Taiwan independence and promoting China’s reunification,” he said. “With these efforts, we can surely create a beautiful future for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
While China has never renounced the use of force against Taiwan, the omission still seems a bit ominous considering that Chinese leaders have been putting “peaceful” in front of “reunification” for the past four decades, dating all the way back to Deng Xiaoping.
However, a senior Taiwan official told Reuters that the “peaceful” omission was really nothing to worry about considering that in context Li had still been speaking about a peaceful unification.
Cross-Strait relations remain at a low as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated this week for her second term. In a speech after being sworn in, Tsai again rejected the idea of Chinese rule under a “one country, two systems” framework.
Certainly, it appears that this week’s events won’t do much to win Taiwanese over to such a framework as China has put forward a sweeping new national security law for Hong Kong in order to control anti-government protests in that special administrative region.