Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Taipei, Taiwan (4E) – Chinese president Xi Jinping had a simple New Year’s message for the leaders and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) — re-unite with the mainland voluntarily or face a military invasion.
Xi’s threat of invasion reinforces lingering fears among Taiwanese that China might indeed invade their democratic island by 2020, as China has often threatened. To pressure Taiwan’s leaders into peaceful reunification, Xi said China reserves the right to use force to conquer Taiwan.
“We do not promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option to use all necessary measures” to achieve this goal and prevent Taiwan independence, said Xi.
The Chinese leader also blasted “foreign forces” (namely the United States, Taiwan’s staunch ally) that seek to interfere with “peaceful reunification.” He also assailed Taiwan’s pro-democracy and anti-reunification president Tsai Ing-wen and what he called the tiny minority of Taiwan independence forces for standing in the way of reunification.
“Chinese people don’t attack other Chinese people. We are willing to use the greatest sincerity and expend the greatest hard work to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification,” said Xi.
Xi, however, also sought to calm fears of a mainland invasion by emphasizing China will strive to achieve peaceful reunification with Taiwan, which he said has a bright future under future Chinese rule.
Reunification, however, must follow the One-China Principle that will force Taiwan to become part of China. Xi also said the “one country, two systems” model of autonomy by which China governs Hong Kong is the best way for Taiwan.
Tsai vigorously rejected Xi’s call and instead urged China to embrace democracy.
Tsai said Taiwan will never accept “one country, two systems” model and was proud of its democratic way of life.
“The vast majority in Taiwan resolutely oppose ‘one country, two systems’, This is the ‘Taiwan consensus’,” she said.
“We call on China to bravely step forward for democracy, for only by doing so can it truly understand the people of Taiwan’s thinking and insistence.”
Tsai reiterated China must use peaceful means to resolve its differences with Taiwan and respect its democratic values.
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