China talks of ‘peaceful unification’ with Taiwan, which promises to resist

4

In another movement of deterioration in the relationship between China and Taiwan, the leaders of the country and the island exchanged accusations and threats about the unification of the territory, considered by Beijing as a ‘rebel province’. On the weekend of the 110th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution, tension in the Taiwan Straits only increased after the largest incursion by Chinese military planes into the island’s air defense identification zone.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised an inevitable “reunification” with Taiwan by “peaceful means” and the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, responded by saying no one would force the population to bow to Chinese pressure. Taiwan reported last week a record number of incursions by military planes from Beijing.

Xi’s speech took place on Saturday, 9th, during commemorations of the 1911 Revolution, which toppled the last Chinese dynasty. The same event was remembered this Sunday, 10, in Taiwan, where Sun Yat-sen, the first and ephemeral Chinese president, is considered the father of the nation.

In the 1911 Revolution, the Qing dynasty was overthrown and the Republic of China was founded under Sun Yat-sen. In the ensuing civil war, the Communists led by Mao Zedong took power, while the Chinese national party, the Kuomintang, took refuge with the government in Taiwan.

Today, the island considers itself independent, and proclaims itself the Republic of China, celebrating the revolution as its national holiday. The Communist leadership in Beijing, meanwhile, sees Taiwan as an “indivisible part” of the People’s Republic of China, founded in 1949. The island of Taiwan lives under a democratic system, but China threatens to use force in the event of a formal proclamation of independence.

“Achieving the reunification of the motherland by peaceful means is in the general interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan’s compatriots,” Xi said at the People’s Palace in Beijing, with a portrait of Sun Yat-sen in the background. “The reunification of our country can and will be achieved,” said the Chinese president, warning against any foreign interference.