China's Xi calls for peaceful reunification with Taiwan

TAIPEI (AP), The Chinese leader Xi Jinping stated that reunification with Taiwan must take place and will occur peacefully despite China's increasing threats to attack Taiwan.
Xi spoke at an official celebration held in Beijing's Great Hall of the People. The event focused largely upon the need for the ruling Communist Party (RCP) to continue leading China in its rise in power and influence.

Xi said that the nation's unification must be achieved and would be realized. He spoke to a crowd of politicians, military personnel, and others gathered in the hulking chamber, which serves as China's ceremonial legislature. Peaceful unification is in the best interest of the Chinese nation and its Taiwan compatriots.

This celebration was held in honor of the 110th anniversary of China's 1911 revolution, which led to the overthrow of Qing dynasty. Sun Yat-sen established the Republic of China in 1911. Oct. 10, Taiwanese National Day, is celebrated. Xi spoke about common aspirations for a unified society despite stark differences between China and Taiwan's multi-party democracy.

Xi's comments came days after the Chinese military flew a record number military aircraft towards Taiwan in exercises the island considers a threat. The People's Liberation Army flew fighter, bomber, and airborne early warning planes 149 times towards Taiwan over the course of four days. The largest maneuver involved 52 jets at once.

In 1949, Taiwan and China were divided by civil war. The then-ruling Nationalist Party fled to Taiwan as Mao Zedong's Communists took power on the mainland.

This year, Taiwan will have a rare display, including missiles, of its military equipment. The Air Force will also perform with fighter jets during the National Day celebrations to be held in Taipei's Presidential Office Building.

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This marks the first time military hardware has been included in the event for many years. It also marks the first appearance of military hardware since TsaiIng-wen assumed office in 2016. Tensions with China have escalated to unimaginable levels.

Local media coverage showed large missile launch vehicles driving through Taipei streets during rehearsals for the celebration, but the missiles were not visible directly.

Kuo Yu-jen (defense studies expert at Institute for National Policy Research in Taiwan) said that Taiwanese authorities have kept their missile capabilities secretive in the past to avoid being perceived as provocative.

Kuo stated that China's recent attitude toward Taiwan has been overly assertive. .... They must show Taiwan can deter China's threats.

The national day celebrations have featured, in years past, choreographed performances from motorcycle-riding military police, antiterrorism demonstrations by special troops, and overflights of the islands air force. But missiles weren't part of this display.

Fan Shih-ping, a professor in political science at National Taiwan Normal University, stated that she believes this is to increase Taiwanese people's morale.

Tsai, who was a more China-friendly Nationalist Party predecessor, has put a greater emphasis on national defense than her predecessor. She launched a revival of the islands shipbuilding sector and commissioned a program to build domestic submarines. Tsai has implemented reforms to the military, including improving the benefits of military personnel and increasing the quality of food served in the messes.

Chiu Kuocheng, Taiwan's Defense Minister, told lawmakers Wednesday that China is in a very difficult situation. He said that China will have all the capabilities necessary to invade Taiwan by 2025.

Taiwan is now self-governing, but Beijing denies Taiwan sovereignty. Beijing has also refused to give up the right to use force to take the island under its own control. Beijing also tried to isolate Taiwan internationally, barring it from the United Nations, other international organizations, and opposing official contact between its government, and nations that recognize China. This includes the United States, which legally has to consider threats to Taipei grave concern.

Officials from Japan and the United States have warned that China's increasing capabilities pose a growing threat to Taiwan's security as well as that of other countries in the region.

Xi stated that Taiwanese separatism is a major obstacle to the motherland’s reunification. He also said that history would condemn those who support the island's formal independence.

Xi stated that Taiwan is purely China's internal matter and will not tolerate any external interference. It is not fair to underestimate the determination, will and ability of the Chinese people to protect their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.