China will do whatever it takes to regain control of Taiwan, said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.
“We make no promise to abandon the use of force, and retain the option of taking all necessary measures,” said Xi, adding that unification is “inevitable” and that independence would only bring “hardship” to Taiwan.
Taiwan and China have been ruled separately since 1949, when Nationalists loyal to Chiang Kai-shek lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists.
The Nationalists established a democracy on the island of Taiwan and China has sought to regain control of it ever since.
The United States does not recognize Taiwan as an independent nation, but has chafed at China’s efforts to control the territory.
As stated on the US State Department’s official website, “maintaining strong, unofficial relations with Taiwan is a major US goal in line with the US desire to further peace and stability in Asia.”
On the day before Xi’s comments, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen made it clear Taiwan would never submit to Chinese rule:
“I want to reiterate that Taiwan will never accept ‘one country, two systems,’” she said, referring to the Chinese policy which grants a level of autonomy under Chinese supervision.
“Here I want to appeal to China that it must see correctly the existence of the Republic of China, Taiwan, must respect the 23 million Taiwanese people’s resolve for freedom and democracy, and must handle existing agreements equitably and peacefully. It must also be that only organizations authorized by the two governments can sit down for talks.”
According to an opinion poll, roughly 75% believe the two nations are seperate, only 14% believe they are the same nation.