Concerns that China may attempt to “grab” Taiwan were ratcheted up substantially after President Xi Jinping sent a thinly veiled warning to the U.S. about its alliance with the tiny island nation.
Last week, President Donald Trump signed into law the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages official visits to the island, which China still considers a “separatist province” that must be reunited with the mainland. Xi views that law as a violation of the 45-year-old Shanghai Communique that established the so-called “One China Policy.”
That policy stated U.S. foreign policy would recognize that both Taiwan and mainland China are Chinese, and that there is only one China. Taiwan in recent years has more forcefully pushed for its right to exist as an independent country—based largely on its economic prowess as the 17th largest in the world.
In a speech to China’s 3,000-member national parliament—which had just effectively made him emperor for life—Xi said mainland China had the ability to prevent the formality of Taiwan’s independence. He said:
“All acts and schemes to split China are doomed to failure and will be condemned by the people and punished by history. The Chinese people have the firm will, full confidence and sufficient ability to defeat all activities to split the country.”
Xi has made a goal of turning China into the dominant world power by 2050. His 40-minute speech also pushed the importance of “the people” supporting Communist Party rule on the mainland, which is essential to meeting his goal.
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