President Xi Jinping, while honoring China’s founding father Mao Zedong, reaffirmed the nation’s enduring commitment to eventual unification with Taiwan, emphasizing China’s longstanding resolve regarding the unity of Taiwan with mainland China.
Speaking on the 130th anniversary of the late leader’s birth on Tuesday (Dec 26) in Beijing, the Chinese president expressed confidence, saying that the unification “will surely” happen.
“The complete reunification of our motherland is an overall trend, a righteous cause, and the common aspiration of the people. Our motherland must be reunified, and it will surely be reunified,” Xi said in his speech delivered at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, reports South China Morning Post news outlet.
Mao wanted to unify Taiwan with the mainland during his lifetime, but inadequate military power at that time prevented China from executing its plan.
Experts believe that by raking the Taiwan unification issue during Mao’s birth anniversary, Xi has sought to elevate himself above the late leader.
Xi’s Tuesday remarks come less than a month before Taiwanese voters elect the island’s next president.
China is apprehensive of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its presidential candidate, who is also the current Vice President Lai Ching-te. He is leading in the polls.
China has described them the supporters of independence.
Lai has said that he has no plans to change the island’s formal name, the Republic of China, adding that only Taiwan’s people can decide their future. He has also repeatedly offered talks with China but has been rebuffed.
Taiwan came into formation in 1949 after the Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the Chinese Nationalist Party (CNP), fled to the island after losing the civil war against Mao Zedong’s communists, who founded the People’s Republic of China,
Over the last few weeks, China has unleashed a series of coercive measures to try to interfere in Taiwan’s upcoming election, deploying military aircraft and balloons to areas near Taiwan and suspending tariff relief on imports of 12 Taiwanese petrochemical products.
On Wednesday, the Chinese government threatened to impose more sanctions on Taiwan if the ruling party “stubbornly” adheres to supporting independence.
“If the DPP authorities are determined to persevere, continue to stubbornly adhere to their Taiwan independence position, and refuse to repent, we support the relevant departments taking further measures in accordance with the regulations,” Chen Binhua, spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said.