Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the growing tensions surrounding the Taiwan issue during a speech Friday given in Beijing to mark the 110th anniversary of the “Xinhai Revolution” that brought down the last imperial dynasty, paving the way to establishment of the Republic of China.
Not quite as bellicose as the last Taiwan-focused remarks he gave in a fiery address in July, Xi emphasized China is fully committed to full reunification of the island to the “motherland by peaceful means”. He vowed that a “one country, two systems” policy will “definitely” be implemented at some point in the near future. It “must be and can be realized,” he said.
“To achieve the reunification of the motherland by peaceful means is most in line with the overall interests of the Chinese nation, including our compatriots in Taiwan,” Xi said in the address.
In a veiled warning against the West, and in particular the United States, Xi called the issue “entirely China’s internal affair”:
“No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s determination and strong ability to defend [our] national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and it will definitely be fulfilled,” Xi said.
He additionally urged Taiwan to “stand on the right side of history jointly to create the glorious cause of the full reunification and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.
However, it’s being widely noted that he emphasized “peaceful” means of reunification, without spelling out exactly how that scenario would happen:
Chinese President Xi Jinping promised on Saturday to realize peaceful “reunification” with Taiwan, though did not directly mention the use of force after a week of tensions with the Chinese-claimed island that sparked international concern.
This was a much softer tone compared to the early July speech which he gave on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.
For that prior event the president had donned a gray Mao suit and said the nation is committed to Taiwan reunification ensuring continued “stability” in Hong Kong, vowing that any outside “bullying” powers will inevitably “get their heads bashed”.