In a speech commemorating four decades since the thaw in cross-strait relations, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the people of Taiwan to accept that Taiwan “must and will be” reunited with China. Xi Jinping called for a peaceful unification on a one-country-two-systems basis but said that his country had reserved the right to use force if needed. He further said that both sides were part of the same Chinese family, adding that Taiwan’s independence was “an adverse current from history and a dead end”.
Taiwanese people “must understand that independence will only bring hardship,” Mr Xi Jinping said, adding Beijing would never tolerate any form of activity promoting Taiwanese independence. He added that unification was “an inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people” and stressed that any foreign intervention was intolerable since the relations with Taiwan were a domestic issue.
The European Union has yet to comment on Xi Jinping’s speech but Brussels in general pursues a “One China” policy, recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China. However, it does recognize Taiwan as an economic entity and has solid trade relations in various areas including economy, science, education and culture. The EU is in favour of a peaceful resolution of the tensions, rejecting use of force and insisting that any arrangement must be achieved on a mutually acceptable basis.
The cross-strait relations refer to the relationship between Taiwan and China, which are separated by the Taiwan Strait in the West Pacific Ocean. The relationship is complex and controversial and deals with the political status of Taiwan, which is self-governed and de-facto independent, but Beijing considers it a breakaway province.