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China's Xi Urges Action on Unification with Taiwan

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.
China's Xi Urges Action on Unification with Taiwan
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Chinese President Xi Jinping said Wednesday that independence for Taiwan is against history, and that no political party can stop the path toward reunification.

In a policy speech centered on Taiwan, Xi said, “We are willing to create a vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will never leave any room for any sort of Taiwan independence separatist activities.”

Taiwan’s leader rejected Xi’s call just hours later. President Tsai Ing-wen said her self-governing island of 23 million people would never accept the “one country, two systems” plan that China proposes.

She said, “China must face the fact of the existence of Taiwan, Republic of China, and not deny the system of a democratic country that has been commonly built up by the Taiwanese people.”

Taiwan split from China in a civil war that brought the Communist Party to power in China in 1949. The opposing Nationalists set up their own government on the island about 160 kilometers off the Chinese mainland.

Xi proposed talks between the two sides to work out “a systematic arrangement for the peaceful development of the cross-strait relationship.”

Tsai said Taiwan is willing to talk, but it must be with the approval of the Taiwanese people. Tsai has gone against the wishes of the Communist Party by refusing to support the “one-country, two systems” plan.

Xi said going against the “one China principle will result in tension and turbulence.”

Xi also said that China has the right to use force if necessary to answer interference by outside forces and what he called an extremely small number of Taiwanese separatists.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

strait - n. a narrow passage of water that connects two large bodies of water

turbulence - n. a state of confusion, violence, or disorder

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