Taiwan: China pledges zero tolerance for ‘separatists’

Taiwan: China pledges zero tolerance for ‘separatists’

China vowed on Wednesday to leave “no leeway” for Taiwan independence supporters, stressing that “the use of force” to retake the island “as a last resort” remains on the table.

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This new warning comes after extensive Chinese military drills have been held around the island in recent days in response to US national Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

The visit of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was seen as a provocation by Beijing, since the United States had pledged not to maintain official ties with the island territory claimed by China.

The Taiwan Affairs Bureau, a Chinese government agency, on Wednesday released a “white paper” detailing how Beijing plans to take over the island, including through economic stimulus.

“We stand ready to create a broad space (of cooperation) to achieve peaceful reunification,” the document said.

“But we will leave no room for separatist actions aimed at pseudo-independence for Taiwan.”

China considers Taiwan, with a population of around 23 million, to be one of its provinces that it has not successfully reunited with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War (1949).

In seven decades, the communist army has never been able to conquer the island, which has remained under the control of the ROC — the regime that once ruled mainland China and now rules only Taiwan.

“Red Lines”

“We do not promise to renounce the use of force,” stresses the Beijing White Paper, the first on the subject since 2000, before qualifying its comments.

“Force would be used in compelling circumstances as a last resort. We would be forced to take drastic action in the face of provocations by separatists or external forces if they crossed our red lines.”

The White Paper promises economic prosperity even after “reunification”.

China therefore proposes promoting cultural ties in terms of social security, health or even better economic “integration”.

“With a strong homeland to rely on, Taiwanese compatriots will be stronger, more confident, more secure and more respected on the international stage,” the text promises.

Some young Taiwanese are beginning to develop a different identity from mainland China, especially in recent years.

A phenomenon promoted by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Progressive Democratic Party (PDP, pro-independence), which came to power in 2016.

Unlike the previous government, Ms. Tsai refuses to see Taiwan and mainland China as part of a “one China.” A position that has severely worsened relations with Beijing.

Despite the current tensions, a Taiwanese opposition politician, Andrew Hsia Li-yan, traveled to mainland China on Wednesday to meet entrepreneurs and students from the island following a quarantine.

Mr. Hsia, a senior diplomat, former head of the Taiwan body in charge of matters related to mainland China, is the vice president of the Kuomintang (KMT), the other major Taiwanese party that opposes independence and advocates pragmatic ties with Beijing.

Controversial visit

“The moment is not only badly chosen,” but “moreover, it is an attack on our army, which spares no effort to protect our country,” criticized the Taiwanese Presidential Party on Wednesday.

This visit “sends bad news to the international community,” Tsai Ing-wen told members of his party.

China considers the Taiwanese president’s party to be “separatists,” but so does anyone who publicly advocates independence or the dilution of the Chinese identity of the Taiwanese.

The Chinese military has been conducting its largest-ever military drills around Taiwan in recent days. They were supposed to end on Sunday but continued this week.

Finally, on Wednesday, the Army announced that “all tasks were complete,” signaling its completion.

Taiwan held its own drills on Tuesday to practice responding to a Chinese attack.

“Tsai Ing-wen and the PDP (…) are pushing Taiwan into the abyss of disaster. In the end, they will be nailed to the pillory of history!” chastised Tan Kefei, a spokesman for China’s Defense Ministry, in a press release on Wednesday.

“Relations (Beijing-Taiwan) are again faced with two options for the future. It is up to the Taiwanese authorities to choose the right direction.”