China says military force an option to stop Taiwan’s fight for independence

Click to play video: 'Trudeau suggests Canada will not push for Taiwan state status at WHO'
Trudeau suggests Canada will not push for Taiwan state status at WHO
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested on Wednesday that he would not push for Taiwan to have state status at the World Health Organization, but said they would advocate for Taiwan's inclusion in international bodies. His comments come in response to a push by Conservatives for Taiwan to be included as a state observer – May 13, 2020

China will attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, one of the country’s most senior generals said on Friday, a rhetorical escalation between China and the democratically ruled island Beijing claims as its own.

Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Secession Law, Li Zuocheng, chief of the Joint Staff Department and member of the Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force.

The 2005 law gives the country the legal basis for military action against Taiwan if it secedes or seems about to.

“If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions,” Li said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We do not promise to abandon the use of force, and reserve the option to take all necessary measures, to stabilise and control the situation in the Taiwan Strait,” he added.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau thanks Taiwan directly for ‘generous’ mask donation'
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau thanks Taiwan directly for ‘generous’ mask donation

Li is one of China’s few senior officers with combat experience, having taken part in China’s ill-fated invasion of Vietnam in 1979.

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

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing says it is one of China’s provinces and an inalienable part of “one China”.

The island has shown no interest in being run by autocratic China, and has denounced China’s repeated military drills near the island and rejected China’s offer of a “one country, two systems” model of a high degree of autonomy.

Story continues below advertisement

China is deeply suspicious of Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, whom it accuses of being a separatist bent on declaring formal independence. Tsai says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.

Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party won presidential and parliamentary elections by a landslide in January, vowing to stand up to Beijing.

The mood in Taiwan towards China has further soured since China’s parliament passed new national security legislation for Chinese-ruled Hong Kong on Thursday.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Writing by Ben Blanchard Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Gerry Doyle)

Sponsored content