China’s 20th Party Congress
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Communist Party representatives hold a press conference via video link, in Beijing on October 15. Photo: Xinhua

Taiwan independence is ‘a dead end’, China’s Communist Party says ahead of key congress

  • Option of reunification by force targets separatists and external actors, not ‘compatriots in Taiwan’, party spokesman says in Beijing
  • Reunification holds bright prospects for long-term stability and development of entire Chinese nation, Sun Yeli assures Taiwanese
So long as there is the slimmest chance, Beijing will do its “level best” to peacefully resolve the Taiwan issue, with “non-peaceful means” to be used only as a last resort, according to a Communist Party spokesman.
Appealing to Taiwanese people at a press conference ahead of the official opening of the 20th party congress, spokesman Sun Yeli said the intention to take Taiwan by force was targeted at external forces and separatists rather than the island’s populace.

“Reunification brings bright prospects while [a pathway towards] Taiwan’s independence remains a dead end. Those external forces are unreliable,” Sun said, adding this would serve the “long-term stability and development” of the Chinese nation as a whole, which included compatriots in Taiwan.

Sun Yeli speaks to the press in Beijing on October 15. Photo: Xinhua

“It is our first choice in resolving the Taiwan question. We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts,” he said. “[But] we don’t renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.

“This is to guard against external interference and a small handful of Taiwan independence elements and their separatist movements. By no means does this target our fellow Chinese in Taiwan.”

At a press briefing on Saturday ahead of a key party congress, Sun’s comments were seen as highlighting Beijing’s position on Taiwan and journalists’ questions appeared to be carefully selected to affirm mainland China’s determination for reunification.


Mainland China white paper declares ‘greatest sincerity’ for peaceful reunification with Taiwan

Mainland China white paper declares ‘greatest sincerity’ for peaceful reunification with Taiwan
In August, the central government’s Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office published a new white paper to reiterate Beijing’s commitment to peaceful reunification, but also its readiness to use force if necessary.

However, the paper removed statements that “the central government will not deploy military and administrative personnel to Taiwan” and “any matter is up for negotiation under the one-China principle”, which were present in a version published in 2000.

The latest white paper was also missing a number of conciliatory measures present in the 2000 document, including the offer of “a higher degree of autonomy for Taiwan” and a “more relaxed ‘one country, two systems’ governance model compared with Hong Kong and Macau”.

The policy paper came shortly after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-ruled island in defiance of repeated warnings from Beijing. Her visit triggered a furious Chinese response, including huge live-fire drills by the People’s Liberation Army in the waters and airspace around Taiwan.

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Beijing also announced the cancellation of important dialogues between the PLA and the US military, as well as other exchanges including on climate change, tackling the drugs trade, fighting crime, and repatriation of illegal immigrants. It also imposed sanctions on Pelosi and her family.

At the press conference on Saturday, Sun also warned that any attempt to separate Taiwan from mainland China would severely harm the island’s stability, and Beijing’s determination to defend its territorial integrity should not be undermined.

“Taiwan independence forces keep making provocations. External forces are doubling down on using Taiwan to contain China. All this severely undermines the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and immediate interests of compatriots across the Taiwan Strait,” Sun said.

“If left unchecked, it will plunge Taiwan into the abyss and bring disaster to our compatriots.”