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China’s Xi says nobody can stop ‘family reunion’ with Taiwan

China’s Xi says nobody can stop ‘family reunion’ with Taiwan
Chinese President Xi Jinping checks documents during the closing meeting of the second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 11 March 2024. EPA-EFE/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES

BEIJING, April 10 (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday that outside inference could not stop the "family reunion" between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and that there are no issues that cannot be discussed.

Since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists, no serving Taiwanese leader has visited China.

Ma, president from 2008 to 2016, last year became the first former Taiwanese leader to visit China, and is now on his second trip to the country, at a time of simmering military tension across the strait.

Ma had been widely expected to meet Xi this time around, having first met Xi in Singapore in late 2015 for a landmark summit shortly before the current Taiwan president, Tsai Ing-wen, won election.

Meeting Ma in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where foreign leaders normally hold talks with top Chinese officials, Xi said that people on both sides of the strait are Chinese.

“External interference cannot stop the historical trend of reunion of the country and family,” Xi said, in comments reported by Taiwanese media.

Xi did not elaborate but in Chinese terminology referring to external interference over Taiwan is generally aimed at the support Taipei gets from Western countries like the United States, especially arms sales which infuriate Beijing.

People on both sides of the strait are Chinese, Xi said.

“There is no rancour that cannot be resolved, no problem that cannot be discussed, and no force that can separate us.”.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring democratically-governed Taiwan under its control, and has ramped up military and political pressure to assert its sovereignty claims.

Ma told Xi that tensions have caused unease for many Taiwanese.

“If there is a war between the two sides, it will be unbearable for the Chinese people,” Ma said, using a term that refers to people who are ethnically Chinese rather than their nationality.

“Chinese on both sides of the strait absolutely have enough wisdom to handle all disputes peacefully and avoid heading into conflict.”

 

“MR. MA YING-JEOU”

Xi called Ma “Mr. Ma Ying-jeou” rather than former president, given neither the Chinese nor Taiwanese governments formally recognise the other. Ma called Xi by title as head of the Communist Party – general secretary.

Tsai and her government reject China’s territorial claims, saying only the island’s people can decide their future.

China says it will only talk to Tsai if she accepts that both sides of the strait are part of “one China”, which she has refused to do.

Xi has only rarely made public remarks about Taiwan in recent months.

Speaking to U.S. President Joe Biden in early April, Xi urged Washington to translate “Biden’s commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence'” into concrete actions.

Xi has also not commented publicly on Taiwan’s January presidential election, won by current Vice President Lai Ching-te, viewed by Beijing as a dangerous separatist and who takes office on May 20.

Ma remains a senior member of Taiwan’s main opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT), which in January lost the presidential election for the third time in a row, but has no official party position.

The KMT advocates close ties with China and dialogue, but strongly denies being pro-Beijing.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; writing by Ben Blanchard; editing by Jason Neely and Shri Navaratnam)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Yeah Xi! After what has happened in Hong Kong, do you think any sane person would willingly want to be under the jackboot of your hardline and brutal communist government? No freedom, human rights, democracy – Tiananmen Square echoes loud & clear! Tow the party line or else!! Your country is big enough and it also has many challenges – look after your own and stop worrying about the little island. Is it perhaps that Taiwan is prosperous, free and democratic that scares the living daylights out of you and your government, lest it infects your population and you lose control?

  • Scott Gordon says:

    Hmm interesting , yet nothing new 🙂
    As noted below by ‘beyond fed up ‘ , I thought that the lack of visitors to Taiwan from China was due to the fact that Xi does not want the folks to see how democracy works . Apparently , in the past , very few visitors had a change of heart or were open about it .
    Most in Taiwan consider themselves as Taiwanese .
    What Xi says is basically bluster for the masses , divert their attention away from the problems at home .
    He says ‘ re unification ‘ 🙂 my happen by force .
    Just how will that happen ?
    How to get invading soldiers across the strait ?
    While the Taiwanese forces are small , they are quite well equipped and getting better .
    An occupation force would need to be in the order of many many thousands to subdue 24 million Taiwanese .
    A maritime plan would soon be obvious , massive up tick in landing craft capabilities , easily seen .
    They actually need cruise liners alongside their fishing fleet .
    An army might move on its belly , over water you need a boat , bad waters in the strait .
    Plan B is , things get so bad in China in the next 5 – 10 years , Xi will need a war to control the masses .
    Do as I say or the PLA will flatten Taiwan , taking out all the major chip factories .
    Think that flu was an issue ?
    That is the major reason Taiwan has to survive .
    Then , Japan will be next , along with the Philippines .
    World domination is in their manifesto . The CCP will survive while many millions suffer and die

  • Scott Gordon says:

    When that flu hit , the CCP ramped up flights into Taiwan airspace .
    in response 4-6 planes from Taiwan would take to the air , line up and head out .
    4 years later , just 3 planes out in a phase .
    From the DPP it was status quo , all good in Taiwan .
    Not so in China , 25 % of GDP gone in the housing bubble .
    off the radar , cannot pay the interest on the debt . how to pay workers and suppliers ?
    The CCP projects 5 % growth this year , from a low base from the year before , etc
    Taiwan has history , lately democratic .
    Cross border ties are many .
    And then we have the Independence party , @101 , had another good chat with Richard .
    So many involved with local politics , might not get their way , have been heard and can be voted out !
    Generally speaking , most Taiwanese have a good life , seen the other side too .
    Sustainable ? What they have done in 30 years …………..
    Perfect ? What is that ?
    Out of the big cities , almost rural life . Rice fields flooded and planted , community .
    TSMC is the lifeblood of the world’s economy .
    Apart from the PLA having a deepwater base , how long will India be a part of BRICS ?

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