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China’s Xi says reunification with Taiwan ‘inevitable,’ ahead of crucial vote on island

In his New Year’s address, Chinese leader urged a ‘common sense of purpose’ by those ‘on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.’

By Victor Jack

January 1, 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country’s reunification with Taiwan was “inevitable” in his New Year’s address on Sunday, just weeks before the self-ruled island holds elections that could reshape relations between the two.

“The reunification of the motherland is a historical inevitability,” Xi said; “China will surely be reunified,” according to the official translation of his speech.

“All Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be bound by a common sense of purpose and share in the glory of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” the text adds.

Though Taiwan split from China amid civil war in 1949, Beijing considers the self-ruled island of 23 million its “sacred territory” and hasn’t ruled out the use of force in bringing the island under its control.

China has increasingly ramped up its rhetoric around Taiwan and increased military pressure on the island with regular drills in recent months, while lashing out at the U.S. for approving $300 million in military aid to Taiwan earlier this month. Washington is legally obliged to provide the island with the weapons it needs to defend itself.

Xi’s comments come ahead of Taiwan’s presidential and parliamentary elections on January 13.

The tight race pits Lai Ching-te from the ruling and more independence-leaning Democratic Party against Hou Yu-ih from the opposition Kuomintang, which has historically favored closer ties with China. Lai currently leads in the polls, but both candidates have so far attempted to emphasize peaceful relations with Beijing during the campaign.



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