Taiwan politics

Tsai Ing-wen

War with China ‘likely’ if Taiwan continues to seek independence, says ex-PLA general

Comments by Luo Yuan, hawkish retired PLA major general, come after independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party’s election success

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 January, 2016, 2:17pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 January, 2016, 2:55pm

A retired Chinese People’s Liberation Army major general has warned that war is likely if self-ruled Taiwan continues to seek independence.

“We have promised that Chinese people never fight against Chinese people, but if the pro-independence forces continue to press us, we will have no other chance but [to seek] reunification through use of force,” says Luo Yuan, a hawkish retired People’s Liberation Army major general.

READ MORE: China’s PLA forces carry out landing drills near Taiwan outpost days after elections

Luo’s strong words appeared in a commentary published by Global Times, a nationalist tabloid,on Monday, more than a week after a landslide victory by the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections.

“We have long been proposing peaceful development across the strait, but it doesn’t mean that we have weakened our will for reunification,” Luo said. “The final goal is reunification rather than a ‘peaceful divide’.

The final goal is reunification rather than a ‘peaceful divide’. Unification means peace and independence means war
Luo Yuan, retired People’s Liberation Army major general

“Unification means peace and independence means war,” Luo warned. “Independence would never be equal with peace.”

The election result is widely regarded as a defeat for the incumbent Kuomintang (KMT) party’s Beijing-friendly policies, although Luo did not refer directly to the “independence forces”.

State-run CCTV reported last week that the People’s Liberation Army, based in the coastal city of Xiamen, in Fujian province, carried out live-fire exercises and landing drills.

Taiwan expressed concern about the report, but the mainland’s defence ministry later said that the drill was conducted last year, adding that people should not read too much into the CCTV report.

READ MORE: ‘There is only one China’: prickly outburst tells Taiwan to abandon independence ‘hallucination’ after Tsai Ing-wen win

Many analysts believe the report was aimed at sending a “political warning” to Taiwan’s president-elect Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the DPP, that Beijing would never give up using “non-peaceful means” to solve cross-strait issues.

Beijing has long viewed Taiwan as an integral part of its territory after the island was separated from mainland in 1949 following the Communist victory on the mainland in the civil war.

The sides have agreed since 1992 on a “one China” policy, in which both governments claim sovereignty over mainland and Taiwan– but crucially neither recognises the other’s legitimacy.

Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing said in a statement one day after the election that it resolutely opposed “any form of secessionist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence’”.