In an extensive speech from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Wednesday, Xi hailed China’s progress at home, such as rooting out “absolute poverty,” and warned foreign powers against attempts to “bully” or lecture China.
Speaking on the issue of Taiwan, which has become a bone of contention between Beijing and Washington, with the latter routinely sending warships into the sensitive waters of the Taiwan Strait, Xi called “the complete reunification of the motherland” one of the most pressing challenges Beijing faces.
Solving the Taiwan question and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland are the unswerving historical tasks of the Chinese Communist Party and the common aspiration of all Chinese people.
Xi added that the endeavor will require people in mainland China and Taiwan to pool their efforts and “move forward in solidarity, resolutely smashing any ‘Taiwan independence’ plots.”
While the Chinese leader urged third parties not to “underestimate” the ability of the Chinese people to protect the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, he stressed that Beijing looks forward to a “peaceful” reunification with the self-governing island, which Beijing considers to be an integral part of the country.
In response, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council asked Beijing “to respect Taiwan’s persistence in the development of cross-strait relations and to abandon the imposed political framework and military intimidation.”
Although the US has not formally recognized Taiwan, it has not hidden its apparent support for Taipei’s independence, inflaming the already strained relations with Beijing by regular shows of force in the Strait. Under the Joe Biden administration, Washington has stepped up its diplomatic contacts with the island, drawing anger from Beijing. In April, an unofficial delegation of US diplomats visited Taiwan to send a “personal signal” from Biden.
Last month, Washington rallied the G7 members to issue a communiqué critical of China, which also sounded the alarm over the situation in the South China Sea, prompting Beijing to fire back at the “clique.” Shortly afterwards, Taipei accused Beijing of sending 28 military jets to the island in what was reported to be the largest flyover to date, while Beijing vowed to respond to any attempt at “collusion” with Taiwan aimed at undermining the “status quo.”
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