Xi Jinping vows to never rule out military action over Taiwan

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China will not surrender the option of using force to bring Taiwan back under Beijing’s control, Xi Jinping has said, as he prepares to renew his hold on power. The Chinese President said the ruling Chinese Communist Party was hoping for a “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan with the mainland, but “will never promise to give up the use of force”.

He reiterated that the “complete unification of the motherland must be achieved” by any “necessary measures”.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway island, and one destined to be reunited with the mainland.

A democratically-elected government, separate from Beijing, has ruled in Taipei for decades since the Chinese Civil War.

Xi has maintained throughout his time in power that Taiwan should be under Beijing’s control, doubling down on the highly controversial topic during his opening address to the 20th National Party Congress.

He told thousands of gathered delegates: “Resolving the Taiwan issue is the Chinese people’s own business, and it’s up to the Chinese people to decide.”

He added: “We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and best efforts, but we will never promise to give up the use of force, and reserve the option to take all necessary measures.”

He then said the “historical wheels of national reunification and national rejuvenation are rolling forward”, adding that the “complete reunification of the motherland must be achieved”.

The speech is part of what is widely considered to be the consolidation of Xi’s rule as he seeks a third consecutive term in power.

Tensions around Taiwan skyrocketed back in August, when US Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the most high-profile visit to the island in 25 years.

Although Washington officially follows the ‘One China’ principle and maintains diplomatic relations with Beijing, the US cultivates a “robust” line of communication with Taipei.

Ms Pelosi clarified during her visit she wished to be “unequivocally clear that we will not abandon Taiwan”, with the “solidarity” between the White House and Taipei “crucial”.

But the Chinese foreign ministry struck back over the visit, saying: “The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereign security interests.”

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China then launched its largest-ever set of military drills, including live-fire exercises, around Taiwan.

Back in August, when Beijing began the drills, Professor Steve Tsang of the SOAS China Institute told Express.co.uk that the military exercises were “a show of strength within China, with a view to make sure Xi Jinping is not seen as weak in the run up to the Congress in the autumn”.

Professor Tsang called the October Congress “critical” to Xi, and when the Chinese leader “will effectively secure affirmations from the party that the party would like him to stay as leader beyond the customary two terms”.

After this, he predicted, Xi “will be able to stay on as leader for as long as he likes”, including to a fourth or even fifth term.

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