China’s Xi Jinping says ‘no force’ can stop ‘reunion’ with Taiwan

Click to play video: 'China’s Xi Jinping says ‘no force’ can stop Taiwan ‘reunion’'
China’s Xi Jinping says ‘no force’ can stop Taiwan ‘reunion’
WATCH: As the U.S. and Japan vow to forge a global security partnership, China's president is sending a message to the West after holding a high-profile meeting with a former Taiwanese leader on Wednesday. Nathaniel Dove has more – Apr 10, 2024

Amid heightened tensions between China and Taiwan, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a former Taiwanese president who supports unification that the countries “belong” together.

“Differences in systems cannot change the fact that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to the same country and nation,” Xi said.

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

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

Ma Ying-jeou, who led Taiwan from 2008 until 2016, replied by saying a new war between the two countries would be “an unbearable burden for the Chinese nation.”

Beijing claims the independent island of Taiwan is a Chinese province and has threatened to use force to achieve unification. China frequently sends warplanes and naval vessels to circle the small island democracy and has been mounting an increasing number of military drills over recent years.

Story continues below advertisement

The meeting took place on Wednesday in Beijing’s Great Hall, which is normally reserved for foreign leaders.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Ma’s visit, ostensibly as the head of a student delegation, comes months after Taiwan decisively elected a government dedicated to maintaining independence.

Ma was largely excluded from his own pro-unification party’s campaign.

Click to play video: 'How China’s intimidation looms over Taiwan’s crucial election'
How China’s intimidation looms over Taiwan’s crucial election

The incoming leaders of the new government are visiting European countries friendly to Taiwan. China, one of the world’s dominant economic powers, does not enter diplomatic relations with countries that formally recognize Taiwan and has used its economic muscle to demand countries adhere to what’s known as the “One China” policy.

Taipei has been boosting relations with the United States and Japan while also maintaining close economic ties with the Chinese mainland.

Story continues below advertisement

The United States has pledged to support Taiwan’s independence and criticized Beijing for its aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea.

Ma and Xi held the first meeting between leaders of their countries in 50 years in 2015. His Nationalist Party lost in the next election.

Taiwan’s formal name is the Republic of China, and the long-standing claim from China over the island stems from the 1949 flight of the defeated Republic of China government to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists in what is now the People’s Republic of China.

— with files from Reuters and The Associated Press

Sponsored content