Beijing will “never tolerate” Taiwan’s separation from China, a spokesman at the mainland’s top Taiwan body said Wednesday, after President Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated for a second term.
Thank you to all of the ambassadors & representatives from around the world who attended our inauguration ceremony today. Although we had to maintain social distance, I could still feel the warmth of your congratulations & best wishes. pic.twitter.com/AGcStGLG6s
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) May 20, 2020
China considers the democratic, self-governing island as part of its territory, and has repeatedly advocated for its eventual reunification with the mainland — using military force if necessary.
Taiwan linked to Chinese territorial integrity
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office, said China had “sufficient ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity”, according to official state news agency Xinhua.
Beijing would “never tolerate any separatist activities or external forces interfering in China’s internal politics”, he said.
Ma said China said was willing to “create a vast space for peaceful reunification”, but will “not leave any room for all forms of Taiwanese independence separatist activities”.
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China would adhere to the principles of “peaceful reunification” and “One Country, Two Systems”, he added, referring to the political framework used to govern the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
Tsai is loathed by Beijing because she views Taiwan as a de facto sovereign state and not part of “one China”.
In recent years cross-strait ties have come under more pressure as China has isolated Taiwan from its few remaining diplomatic allies and flexed its military might in the strait separating the two.
Pompeo tweet “very dangerous”: China
China also lambasted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for sending a congratulatory message to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on her inauguration, saying it was “extremely wrong, and it’s also very dangerous”.
Beijing views the island as part of its territory and has vowed to seize it by force if necessary.
“The US move… seriously interferes in China’s internal affairs and seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
Pompeo sent a message hailing Tsai for her “courage and vision in leading Taiwan’s vibrant democracy” — a rare direct message from a US official.
“It is extremely wrong, and it’s also very dangerous,” China’s defence ministry said.
It warned that the People’s Liberation Army had the “will, the confidence and the capability to defeat any form of external interference and the plot of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces”.
The U.S. congratulates Dr. Tsai Ing-wen on her re-election in #Taiwan's presidential election. Taiwan once again demonstrates the strength of its robust democratic system. Thank you President Tsai for your leadership in developing a strong U.S. partnership.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 11, 2020
The statement said China would take “all necessary measures to firmly defend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
China- Taiwan divide: a historical perspective
Taiwan, which is also officially known as the Republic of China, was created when the Communist Troops of Mao Zedong beat back the troops of hitherto Chinese leader Chaing Kai-shek from the Chinese mainland. Kai-shek and his troops later fled to the island of Taiwan and established rule over there.
Later, Kai-shek’s son, Ching-kuo, democratised the country upon pressure from the citizenry. Till date, Taiwan is a democracy.
Read more: What’s behind the China-Taiwan divide?
Cross-Strait relations now
Also known as cross-strait relations, these had their watershed moment during 2008 – 2016 when both parties resumed high level contacts. However, the election of Tsa Ing-Wen to the Presidency in 2016 greatly soured relations.
She is an unfettered critic of China and advocates independence from the mainland. She has driven public opinion against China in the 4 years she has been in power.
China claims Taiwan as part of the One China vision, and has repeatedly asked Taiwanese governments to join China under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement such as that in Macau and Hong Kong.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk