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HomeAfricaCHINESE premier Xi Jinping yesterday vowed to achieve "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan...

CHINESE premier Xi Jinping yesterday vowed to achieve “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan after a week of heightened tensions sparked fears of military conflict between the US-backed island and Beijing.

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Mr Xi, warned “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”, adding that the Chinese people had a “glorious tradition” of opposing separatism.

Taiwan won’t be forced to bow to China, president says …

China-Taiwan tensions: Xi Jinping vows to achieve ‘peaceful reunification’ with Taiwan

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Image: PA Images)

Mr Xi, warned “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”, adding that the Chinese people had a “glorious tradition” of opposing separatism.

It follows weeks of ratcheting tension over what is widely expected to prove the flashpoint of military conflict between Beijing and the West, with a record 150 incursions by Chinese

People’s Liberation Army Air Force in  Taiwanese airspace since October.

People’s Liberation Army Air Force in  Taiwanese airspace since October.

Analysts say these flights can be seen as a warning to Taiwan’s democratically elected president Tsai Ing-wen, ahead of the island’s national day today.

Taiwan’s defence minister said that tensions with China are at their worst in 40 years.

XI has often repeated China’s aim to “reunify” Taiwan with China by the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049

While in 2019, he claimed Taipei would continue to enjoy a “One Country, Two System” approach, maintaining its own army and keeping some autonomy, his actions in Hong Kong and the election of pro-democracy president Tsai Ing-wen in 2020 led him to overly drop the pledge in a speech in July.

But his remarks, in a speech at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, were more conciliatory than his last intervention on Taiwan in July, where he vowed to “smash” any attempts at formal Taiwanese independence

Xi’s latest statement is an acknowledgment that Beijing would have much to lose by invading the island in 2025, when it is thought his forces would be ready.

While unification with Taiwan, which China wrongly considers to be a breakaway province, is a deeply political issue, the island is also the world’s largest producer of quality semiconductors, vital for next generation technological advances.

But he also warned that “no one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity”, adding that “the historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”

And last week its official mouthpiece, The Global Times, warned that “war could be triggered at any time”

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Image: PA Images)

Mr Xi, warned “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”, adding that the Chinese people had a “glorious tradition” of opposing separatism.

Taiwan, which considers itself a sovereign state, responded by saying its future lay in the hands of its people and has vowed to defend itself against Chinese aggression.

It follows weeks of ratcheting tension over what is widely expected to prove the flashpoint of military conflict between Beijing and the West, with a record 150 incursions by Chinese

People’s Liberation Army Air Force in  Taiwanese airspace since October.

Analysts say these flights can be seen as a warning to Taiwan’s democratically elected president Tsai Ing-wen, ahead of the island’s national day today.

XI has often repeated China’s aim to “reunify” Taiwan with China by the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.

While in 2019, he claimed Taipei would continue to enjoy a “One Country, Two System” approach, maintaining its own army and keeping some autonomy, his actions in Hong Kong and the election of pro-democracy president Tsai Ing-wen in 2020 led him to overly drop the pledge in a speech in July.

But his remarks, in a speech at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, were more conciliatory than his last intervention on Taiwan in July, where he vowed to “smash” any attempts at formal Taiwanese independence

Xi’s latest statement is an acknowledgment that Beijing would have much to lose by invading the island in 2025, when it is thought his forces would be ready.

While unification with Taiwan, which China wrongly considers to be a breakaway province, is a deeply political issue, the island is also the world’s largest producer of quality semiconductors, vital for next generation technological advances.

But he also warned that “no one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity”, adding that “the historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”

And last week its official mouthpiece, The Global Times, warned that “war could be triggered at any time”.

It also warned Taiwan and its supporters not to “continue to play with fire”, stating that “the Chinese mainland’s preparation to use force against Taiwan secessionist forces is much stronger than ever before”.

Concerns over China‘s rhetoric led to a rare face-to-face meeting between US national security advisor Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiech at Zurich airport last week.

And US President Joe Biden, who is struggling to balance his need to keep China onside with climate-change targets and his defence of a sovereign nation, has agreed to speak to Xi in a bilateral Zoom call by the end of the year.

With the threat of military conflict still real, allies have increased their focus.

US troops have been secretly training Taiwanese troops on the island, while the CIA  announced a new China mission centre which, CIA director William Burns said, “will further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government.”

Last month Britain jointly announced a new defence pact with Australia and the US, which will see Canberra eventually secure eight nuclear-powered submarines to allow it to better safeguard its waters.

And a nuclear-powered Astute Submarine attached to the already deployed Carrier Strike Group carried out first-of-a-kind submarine drills with a submarine from the Japanese Navy.

The UK has also permanently deployed two warships, HMS Severn and HMS Tamar, to the Far East, using Singapore as their regional base.

Last night it emerged that the UK will dedicate one of its Astute-class submarines to the region on an ”enduring basis”as part of a joint operation with the US.

Based in Guam, the submarine will bolster the presence of three US Navy Virginia class submarines  and RC-135 surveillance planes.

It will also carry out joint exercises with South Korean forces, the Japanese Navy and the Australians as a Pacific force of allied nations monitor China’s future intentions.

Speaking last night China expert and former diplomat Matthew Henderson, of the Council on Geostrategy said: “Recent events have demonstrated that the potential road crash between the US and China will be over the pivotal issue of Taiwan.

“The impending bilateral between Biden and Xi shows how serious the problem is. Both sides  have realised there is a step change in the way in which both are interacting. It’s as if two vehicles are hurtling towards one another and terraces aren’t working

“You can’t rule out the possibility that such complex interplay of interests and strong possibility of conflict could develop into a catastrophic momentum of its own.”

 

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